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Are there any truly 'bad' universities in the UK? Watch

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    (Original post by Wozzie)
    And in another thread they're crying about how the country has "gone to the dogs" since roughly that time.

    Make of that what you will.
    In which case, you would probably despair if you looked at the 100 years prior to 1945.

    Anyway, all I was saying was that the idea that there are no bad universities in this country is silly and no amount of employment statistics will hide that. It is difficult to say which ones are bad because no one has been to every university; that being said though, it's much easier to say which are generally better than the rest, by using things like research output and considering the 'quality' of the academics available at the respective universities.

    There certainly are bad universities in the UK, but as I said, determining which ones qualify for that status would prove to a problematic venture.
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    Dartmouth, but as they say, no quim likes to party, like the quim down in Darty.
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    (Original post by Diminutive)
    Sounds like an exceptional case - and presumably would need an interview etc to get a place on? Since a decent teaching course is far removed from let's say a business degree in terms of what you need, they obviously judge in different ways to just A levels. I'm sure if the course is as good as you say it is, a lot of the applicants are better than the 180 point requirement anyway. With South Bank, they literally take anyone who applies who has like E's and D's.
    It's due to the low demand for the course. If they didn't take these people, the unis wouldn't survive because anyone with A*A*A*-BBB would probably go for the high to mid-table unis for the less competitive courses. And if they can't get in, many of them try to improve their grades so they can get into the higher uni next year. How do you fix the problem? The only way is to shut the unis down or destroy them, or get a larger batch of applicants to push requirement grades up.
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    You can't look at exam papers and determine whether they are more or less difficult to attain the same level on without knowing marking schemes and grade boundaries. It was quite obvious to me that my exams were moderated during my time at university and that the exams I sat that were comparatively easy were moderated so that a much higher mark was required to get an equivalent grade compared to comparatively hard ones.

    Examinations are merely an imperfect means to an end, they certainly don't constitute an education on their own and they certainly should just be looked at in isolation in order to judge the quality of the education provided by an institution.
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    (Original post by D.R.E)
    You're sort of contradicting yourself in this section but OK, I'll show you why just quoting random statistics without some consideration of other factors.

    Here is a random statistic for you: every British Prime Minister since 1945, apart from three, has been an Oxbridge graduate.

    Make of that what you will.
    How it is a contradiction ?

    I say if you take into consideration higher salary in Paris it's accurate. It's not rocket science, a simple research will tell you salary is on average 10% higher in Paris. If you got a university degree or want to get one, I think you will be able to take it in consideration while looking at the statistic, aren't you ?

    Saying that every university or school give the same quality of teaching is silly. At least I can give you figures which correlate with this simple observation while you can give no figures...

    Edit : and it was just to illustrate that there is way to compare university. You compare salary for the same degree.
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    coventry
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
    In the question: are there?

    EDIT: If you're going to arbitrarily name a university, you have to justify why it's a truly bad uni. Them's the rules.
    your best bet if you want a decent answer to this question is to check university league tables.

    the times one used to be good although now its only available if you have a subscription, but try something like the guardian or the complete university guide. x
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    (Original post by Hhan)
    your best bet if you want a decent answer to this question is to check university league tables.

    the times one used to be good although now its only available if you have a subscription, but try something like the guardian or the complete university guide. x
    That says nothing though - they are completely different. I was figuring out the correlation a few hours ago and my (possibly rusty from two years away from it) calculations showed that there is no correlation, at least within the top thirty, between the Guardian and Complete tables.
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    (Original post by Hhan)
    your best bet if you want a decent answer to this question is to check university league tables.

    the times one used to be good although now its only available if you have a subscription, but try something like the guardian or the complete university guide. x
    The Times, the only table worth paying attention to and the only table where the totals don't match the values given in each column. :rolleyes:
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    Durham
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    (Original post by LysFromParis)
    How it is a contradiction ?

    I say if you take into consideration higher salary in Paris it's accurate. It's not rocket science, a simple research will tell you salary is on average 10% higher in Paris. If you got a university degree or want to get one, I think you will be able to take it in consideration while looking at the statistic, aren't you ?

    Saying that every university or school give the same quality of teaching is silly. At least I can give you figures which correlate with this simple observation while you can give no figures...

    Edit : and it was just to illustrate that there is way to compare university. You compare salary for the same degree.
    I actually have no idea what you are arguing here. I never said universities have the same quality of teaching, I'm arguing the contrary. However, your employment figures do not support the argument that some universities have better teaching.

    For example, the legal profession - particularly the bar - in Britain still has a historical bias in favour of the Oxbridge universities, despite other universities being as good, or at least close to being as good at teaching Law.

    What I was saying was employment statistics alone do not accurately represent the quality of teaching at universities, and are often misleading.
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    (Original post by D.R.E)
    In which case, you would probably despair if you looked at the 100 years prior to 1945.

    Anyway, all I was saying was that the idea that there are no bad universities in this country is silly and no amount of employment statistics will hide that. It is difficult to say which ones are bad because no one has been to every university; that being said though, it's much easier to say which are generally better than the rest, by using things like research output and considering the 'quality' of the academics available at the respective universities.

    There certainly are bad universities in the UK, but as I said, determining which ones qualify for that status would prove to a problematic venture.
    I don't think anyone is prepared to talk about how great things were in 1850.

    As for the other stuff we've already discussed this here.
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    (Original post by Complex Simplicity)
    Did you know that "London University" isn't one institution? It is a conglomerate made of over 20 institutes. These include:

    Birkbeck, University of London (BBK) [entered in 1920]
    The Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD) [entered in 2005]
    Courtauld Institute of Art [created and admitted in 1932]
    Goldsmiths, University of London (GUL) [entered in 1904]
    Heythrop College (HEY) [entered in 1971]
    Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) [entered in 2003]
    Institute of Education (IoE) [entered in 1909]
    King's College London (KCL) [founding college]
    London Business School (LBS) [created and admitted in 1964]
    The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) [entered in 1900]
    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) [entered in 1924]
    Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) [entered in 1915]
    Royal Academy of Music (RAM) [entered in 2003]
    Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) [entered in 1900]
    Royal Veterinary College (RVC) [entered in 1915]
    School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) [created and entered in 1916]
    The School of Pharmacy, University of London [entered in 1949]
    University College London (UCL) [founding college]
    University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) [entered in 1969]
    St George's, University of London, formerly St George's Hospital Medical School (SGUL)

    Amongst others.
    Hence why I said London universities. You know, plural. If you aren't going to properly read my posts don't embarrass yourself, but hey, at least you can use wikipedia.:rolleyes:

    In bold for you to see. Focus on the question: Does a 2.1 from one university equate to a 2.1 from another university?

    Some 100 firms having more recruitment fairs in one university doesn't answer the question does it? It neither confirms nor denies the question. It doesn't because a recruitment fair isn't a job offer. An attendance at a recruitment fair doesn't mean a student's 2.1 is now magically higher than another student's 2.1 in the same subject. You see, though a good read, your post is meaningless, for it doesn't answer the question.
    So you are telling us that some of the top firms in the country are fools who just throw money and time at fairs, presentations and talks at Oxbridge because it is (in your universe) nearer for them than City University, Manchester Met and Plymouth. What conclusions do you draw from it?
    Highlighted in bold are the baseless assertions you have again resorted to without any evidence to back this up. As has been stated above a recruitment fair is not a job offer, hence more recruitment fairs at a university doesn't mean that a 2.1 is devalued from a university with fewer recruitment fair. It's a complete red herring. Try to focus on the point, that is to disprove that a 2.1 is equivalent in the same university for the same discipline. Try again
    You bring up the interesting point of devaluation. All major IBs and law firms have a list of targeting universities, and not being on them does damage your application. IT firms like Google have an unofficial policy(and this is coming from an HR rep) of preferring grads from Imperial because of the course quality over other universities. This alone proves that yes, a degree from certain universities is devalued over others.
    When a broad range of companies are specifically going to one university over another, what conclusion do you draw from it? You previously told us it was because of location, I have disproved that myth.
    You seem to like the scientific method, so lets take CS, and 2 universities in Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian. Now the degree exams for the 2 universities have a huge gulf in standard, with the latter just covering what is 2nd year material for the former, while the former requires far more detail, knowledge and analysis to get the same grade. It tells me that for all this talk about standardization from you, a CS degree from Caledonian is not the same as one from Glasgow. What does it tell you?


    Now how in any way does that suggest that a 2.1 degree from one institution isn't comparable with that from another in the same subject? How does it say that degrees are not consistent across the university system? It says that there are several measures put in place to ensure that the standards are 'consistent and comparable for those following similar courses in other UK universities.'
    Yes, when I tell you a stick has to be at least 1cm and send around 5 guys to check this you cannot have a stick 5cms long. Sure :rolleyes:
    Its not me who has failed to read the standards, its you. It clearly says the standards are a threshold, i.e a minimum bar. Read the word again, look it up in a dictionary, research it, then come back here, its a simple concept that is really passing over your head atm. Your entire tool is a minimum standard, not an absolute standard.
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    (Original post by Wozzie)
    1) Those factors were just an example, the point was once you have a human looking at your CV without guidelines anything can happen.
    The point is no, anything cannot just magically happen, there are certain perceptions that do exist amongst employers.
    Not everyone likes and respects Oxbridge, most people resent it.
    Do they? Stats for this?
    Also can you please stop talking about "top" employers, that list includes some of the most reprehensible companies in the world.
    I doubt they, or this discussion cares what you think of their moral values. Hardly relevant.
    I have yet to see a study featured by the times that wasn't at best dubious.
    Again, stats?
    Why were these companies named as top employers? Lets find out.

    They went to 30 out of 115 universities in the UK and asked 15,000 of 335,000 people expected to graduate that year who they would like to work for.

    The results from that were 600 different companies which means 25 votes would of have put you on that list but I wouldn't be surprised if you could of got on there with even less than that given how popular firms like BAE, MOD, IBM and Microsoft would have been to STEM graduates alone.
    Which is a problem because?
    From there they apply their own criteria to thin the numbers down to 100 this criteria they pull directly out of their arse, you have to be a certain size, you have to of been around for a certain length of time etc.
    I doubt many would call a 15 person startup a top employer over a firm that employs 15000 people. Size of firms, like it or not, is a factor, it indicates the variety of opportunities to work with different people. As is length, no use calling something a top employer if its only been around for 2 months because there's a bubble in the sector now is there? Combined with size, it is an indication of the firm's stability and growth.
    The students being questioned most likely know nothing of working life let alone working for these employers.
    And students not in the 2500 do? You could argue the same for quality of teaching, student satisfaction, marking quality or any of the zillion criteria that are used to measure university perception in league tables. The point is about perception being reality, if people feel an employer is better it will be more popular and hence likelier to get better candidates applying, and ultimately working there. That is what makes it a top employer.

    Certain universities will have a preference to employers, some people pick their universities because they know it will increase their chances of working for someone like BAE. Some people see an employer visit their university in the second year and are sold on the idea of working for them by the time they reach the third year which would also skew the study.

    Studies like this are damaging.

    Employers pay attention to them because they want to be named a top employer but the universities that these people visit will gain preferential treatment by employers because they're the only universities that count in this study.

    It as usual says nothing of quality it's just another false measure to justify unjustifiable elitism. I'd be very interested to see who writes cheques to high fliers research, where their researchers were educated and who they "consult" for.
    Sure, its all a giant conspiracy. You seem to think everything when it comes to recruitment is about factual data, its not. A good chunk of where people do end up is based on perception, as are league tables and NSS surveys, but this perception is important because when someone says "top employers"(in any context, not just relating to hiring grads) they are talking about the employer's perception, not its reality.
    2) All graduates are unproven in the eyes of employers.

    I don't know or care about these universities or courses so I can't really make the arguments that probably should be made. That said as much as I can see the advantage of rushing ahead and covering subjects other universities don't even touch I can't help but think about the potential disadvantages.

    In any subject you have rules/laws/principals which govern everything you do in that subject, maybe they cover these in far more depth where other universities rush ahead and maybe paying greater attention to the fundamental core of a subject is a good thing?

    I was hoping to make that point with some examples but when I tried to compare courses I noticed Caledonian doesn't actually have a computer science course, they have courses that could fall under the umbrella of computer science but I can't see any pure computer science course that you could make a direct comparison.

    Care to enlighten me? :confused:
    They don't call it CS, but Computing. (FYI, neither does Glasgow, they call it Computing Science)
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    I just bought a book. It's called "How to Miss the Point by Miles, by ish90an."
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    (Original post by Planto)
    I just bought a book. It's called "How to Miss the Point by Miles, by ish90an."
    Is that the sequel to "How to Contribute To a Debate" by Planto?:rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Wozzie)
    I don't think anyone is prepared to talk about how great things were in 1850.

    As for the other stuff we've already discussed this here.
    Ah, yes; I thought I recognised your name from somewhere.

    That was a good discussion though!
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    (Original post by ish90an)
    Debate
    Oh, is that what you're calling it? You use terms as abitrary as "top employers", then when faced with information that demonstrates how absurd such a term is - given the ridiculously invalid methods used to determine what constitutes a "top employer" - you respond with:

    1. Saying stats are irrelevant.
    2. Requesting MORE stats.
    3. Hyperbolic strawman rubbish, such as responding to a perfectly reasonable explanation as to how such a term is utterly empty by saying "sure, it's all a big conspiracy."

    Then going on to completely miss the point, which is that a bunch of students (let alone an unrepresentative bunch of students) have absolutely no authority on who the "top employers" are, having likely never been employed by ANY company, let alone that one.

    You then completely ignore the real meat of the argument, which is that students seem to grossly overestimate how much your degree and where you got it matters to employers, particularly given that the vast majority of degrees endow a graduate with little to no competence at the job they will be performing. The degree alone is a mere formality. Recruiters generally hold academia in lower esteem than most students would like; what matters is the person, what they have actually done (as opposed to what they have read and in what building), what they can do and how they present themselves.

    Those who attribute such importance to these frankly rather trivial details - unless pursuing a career as an academic - are going to find themselves rather bitterly disappointed when they discover that, in the real world, nobody gives a ****.
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    (Original post by Complex Simplicity)
    External examiners are sent from each UK university to ensure that the degrees are comparable and consistent. Ie. To ensure that the degrees are worth the same.



    These external examiners report to the VC of each university to ensure that the standards are comparable and consistent. Ie to ensure that the degrees are worth the same.


    So to clarify, each university first regulates themselves using a common tool called the QAA. Then they send examiners to other universities to regulate them and ensure that the standards are comparable and consistent. These examiners all report to the VC of each university to ensure that the standards are comparable and consistent.

    Now how in any way does that suggest that a 2.1 degree from one institution isn't comparable with that from another in the same subject? How does it say that degrees are not consistent across the university system? It says that there are several measures put in place to ensure that the standards are 'consistent and comparable for those following similar courses in other UK universities.'

    My simple wish is this: prove it!
    Nichrome's post was pretty good.

    These external examiners can't enforce changes, they just recommend them.

    I've seen quotes from a external examiner's report for Cambridge maths, saying that it seemed very difficult to get a First compared to other universities, or something like that. I've also read on TSR (although the actual report wasn't posted in this case) that the same thing is said every year on the English Tripos external examiner's report for Cambridge.

    So whilst this regulatory body might like to try to make all degrees comparable, their existence and attempts don't prove that all degree are indeed comparable.
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    (Original post by ish90an)

    So you are telling us that some of the top firms in the country are fools who just throw money and time at fairs, presentations and talks at Oxbridge because it is (in your universe) nearer for them than City University, Manchester Met and Plymouth. What conclusions do you draw from it?
    That more recruitment fairs at a university doesn't prove that the standard of a 2.1 in the same discipline is not comparable between universities. Remember this:

    (Original post by complex simplicity)
    You see a recruitment fair isn't a job offer, and just because a graduate didn't go to one, doesn't mean he will therefore be "blacklisted" from applying for a job at the firm. Attendance of a recruitment fair doesn't go on a CV or a job application form. Attendance at a recruitment fair doesn't mean that a student at Oxbridge with a 2.1 is deemed better than a student from Derby with the same qualification in the same discipline by sole virtue of the fact that his university is ranked higher in a newspaper league table.

    You bring up the interesting point of devaluation. All major IBs and law firms have a list of targeting universities, and not being on them does damage your application.
    And yet the second post I made in here was this:

    (Original post by complex simplicity)

    2. Most graduate jobs (with the exception of law, Investment banking) require a 2.1 and do not discriminate between universities. If a student has a 2.2 from oxford, most graduate firms autofilter them out. Again this would suggest that employers see a 2.1 as higher than a 2.2 irrespective of the uni they're from.
    Funny that and yet it is you who keeps claiming that I don't read your posts.


    When a broad range of companies are specifically going to one university over another, what conclusion do you draw from it? You previously told us it was because of location, I have disproved that myth.
    I didn't I said had you considered any other factors such as location. Something that clearly is an influence. However again this point is irrelevant for a recruitment fair isn't a job offer. It doesn't disprove that a 2.1 is comparable across universities for individual disciplines.

    You seem to like the scientific method, so lets take CS, and 2 universities in Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian. Now the degree exams for the 2 universities have a huge gulf in standard, with the latter just covering what is 2nd year material for the former, while the former requires far more detail, knowledge and analysis to get the same grade. It tells me that for all this talk about standardization from you, a CS degree from Caledonian is not the same as one from Glasgow. What does it tell you?
    Assuming I take your word for it, it proves that a second year exam in one university is of a higher standard than the other. It doesn't prove that a 2.1 (the outcome of the summation of all the results, particularly those in the final year) is not comparable across universities for individual disciplines.


    Yes, when I tell you a stick has to be at least 1cm and send around 5 guys to check this you cannot have a stick 5cms long. Sure :rolleyes:
    Its not me who has failed to read the standards, its you. It clearly says the standards are a threshold, i.e a minimum bar. Read the word again, look it up in a dictionary, research it, then come back here, its a simple concept that is really passing over your head atm. Your entire tool is a minimum standard, not an absolute standard.
    You have a point, I concede that the statement may not prove that the classifications are equivalent but also doesn't prove that they are. It is perhaps too vague to actually reach a conclusion. So as you haven't found any evidence to prove your claim, and the chief report which in tandem with the other points (employers views, and university requirements for post grad courses) are insufficient to make the claim in affirmative (something I didn't claim they did merely suggested that they did), I've deemed it necessary to do some further research to elucidate this issue. This which may be of interest, please read in it's entirety before commenting:

    (Original post by Roger Brown Report)
    26. At a time when only a very small proportion of the population went to university, and the student population was broadly equivalent in terms of background and ability – and when degree courses were considerably more uniform in terms of their nature and intended outcomes than they are now – it may have been a reasonable expectation that the outcomes of degree courses should be broadly comparable, and that there should be mechanisms available to police this (hence, external examiners). Today, the environment is radically different. Nearly half of the young population now participate in higher education, the range of ability of those students is much wider, and the purpose, nature and intended outcomes of programmes all vary considerably.[B] It makes little sense to seek comparability of outcomes, and indeed it would actually be wrong to do so. Given the extraordinarily high previous educational attainment of students attending, say, Oxford or Cambridge, the substantially greater resources devoted to them, the greater intensity of study that they undergo, and other factors, it would in fact be a surprise if the outcomes of students from those universities were no higher than those of students from other universities who have far lower prior attainment, resources devoted to them, and so on. But, self-evident as this might seem, there are actually no instruments available to demonstrate it.
    The last sentence I find especially important as it shows that not only is this a grey area for us, it is also seems unclear even to those carrying out such processes. It would seem therefore that the conclusion, is that there isn't conclusive evidence for or against, as though there are arguments none are conclusive as the people in best position to this have fact have failed to do so.

    He noted that:

    (Original post by Roger Brown)
    Employers currently want to see a 2:1 meaning something that is comparable across the sector and across disciplines
    But it doesn't even occur within the same subject in the same institution:

    (Original post by Roger Brown Report)
    Comparability within a single degree programme in a single institution should in principle be achievable. However, the extensive evidence about internal variability of assessments makes it seem unlikely that it is often achieved in practice
    Therefore one must conclude that degrees can't be compared. And it is therefore a false statement which states that a 2.1 from one university is superior than that of the other in the same discipline, and for there is no conclusive evidence to validate this claim for degrees even within the same institution in the same discipline aren't comparable as shown by the Roger Brown report.

    http://www.hepi.ac.uk/files/47%20Com...0standards.pdf
 
 
 
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