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    (Original post by TheWolf)
    what if a richer person sends their son to a state school and a poor person works their ass off to send their son to a public school?
    Then a higher standard of achivement is still expected from the public schooler.
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    (Original post by BossLady)
    the problem comes about when you have 2 kids, both with 4 As, one from state and one form private school. You could contend that the private school kid should be doing better than the state cool kid for he/she has had the supposed better teaching, but the fact is that you can't get higher than an A, and many schools don't even allow you to take more than a certain number of A levels so that is also out of the question. The state school kid has been forced into state school due to lack of money, but the privat school kid may have been forced there by his parents ie it was not his choice. So why should he be disadvantaged when he has an advantage which he didn't choose, and one in which will disadvantage him in the long-term but cannot even be overcome (e.g by achieveing higher grades, as the max you can get is an A)
    I see your point there, and that's where it gets complicated. But I guess Oxbridge had an advantage there in interviewing all the candidates, they should be able to get an idea of who's truly intelligent, and who's just had good teaching.
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    (Original post by BossLady)
    the problem comes about when you have 2 kids, both with 4 As, one from state and one form private school. You could contend that the private school kid should be doing better than the state cool kid for he/she has had the supposed better teaching, but the fact is that you can't get higher than an A, and many schools don't even allow you to take more than a certain number of A levels so that is also out of the question. The state school kid has been forced into state school due to lack of money, but the privat school kid may have been forced there by his parents ie it was not his choice. So why should he be disadvantaged when he has an advantage which he didn't choose, and one in which will disadvantage him in the long-term but cannot even be overcome (e.g by achieveing higher grades, as the max you can get is an A)
    There are libraries, he can read. Or perhaps he might go and do some voluntary work etc.
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    They can study more subjects, they can go for 100%, they can go beyond Alevel with something like AEA or STEP, and if the state school applicant matches them with that, they can pickup a book and read about something entirely off syllabus.
    Studying more and more A levels just gets pointless - you end up learning how to pass A levels at an A grade, rather than anything particular about a subject.

    I take your point - I even support it to an extent. I think a lot needs to be done to widen access and to compensate for inequality in education. But in the same way that students shouldn't be penalised for being from a state school, you cannot advocate discrimination on the grounds that the parents decided to send their child to a private school (please don't read this as thinking I am in favour of private schools - I'm just trying to look at it objectively). I think there is a lot to be said for some way of 'scoring' students in a 'valued-added' way (although I can't claim to know much about this atm).

    In principle I am for the idea of lowering grade boundaries for students from a poor educational background; I just don't think it is quite so black and white as automatically favouring state school students.
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    (Original post by grey faerie)

    In principle I am for the idea of lowering grade boundaries for students from a poor educational background; I just don't think it is quite so black and white as automatically favouring state school students.
    I agree with you on that one
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    (Original post by grey faerie)
    Studying more and more A levels just gets pointless - you end up learning how to pass A levels at an A grade, rather than anything particular about a subject.

    I take your point - I even support it to an extent. I think a lot needs to be done to widen access and to compensate for inequality in education. But in the same way that students shouldn't be penalised for being from a state school, you cannot advocate discrimination on the grounds that the parents decided to send their child to a private school (please don't read this as thinking I am in favour of private schools - I'm just trying to look at it objectively). I think there is a lot to be said for some way of 'scoring' students in a 'valued-added' way (although I can't claim to know much about this atm).

    In principle I am for the idea of lowering grade boundaries for students from a poor educational background; I just don't think it is quite so black and white as automatically favouring state school students.
    I certainly agree with everything you say here. I think there is a world of difference between saying "You're black/went to a state school/spotty (circle one), therefore you must be disadvantaged." and saying "let's allow for a certain degree of disadvantage when assessing the academic achievements of *each* applicant." I'm totally for the latter, against the former, because as you say it's not that black and white.

    I'm sure there is some kind of value added way of scoring students, I was reading about the MIT system where they allocate marks for various criteria over the year of application, scaling them on various distributions so the results are relative to their background etc. Though I think the Oxbridge system is good, ie. the access schemes, where a separate form is filled in, explaining what disadvantage the particular candidate has supposedly had, whether that's a failing school or illness. That way being 'black/poor/spotty' is not just a box that gets ticked which means you automatically get extra credit.
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    Of course independent schools do not have all the best teachers, they have a mixture of good ones and bad ones like most state schools, BUT they do offer their pupils a number of other advantages and many of these help them to achieve better exam results. The most important of these is small and better behaved classes. Even the crappiest teacher who may be boring, poor at explaining things and has trouble keeping control is going to do a better job with a class of about fifteen reasonably well behaved pupils than with a mixed ability class of thirty. Its common sense, and that is the MAIN reason parents who can afford to will pay thousands of pounds a year - because they know this will help their child to get better exam grades.
    So, yes of course universities should take peoples educational background into account. Someone from a disadvantged background and a bad state school will have had to have a combination of more intelligence and/or greater motivation to achieve the same (or even slightly lower) grades than someone who has had a privileged education, and that person therefore shows greater potential, which is, after all, what oxbridge is looking for.
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    I think value-added admissions are used a lot in American universities; I'm not sure about here.

    The Oxbridge (well, I can only really speak for Oxford, but I'd imagine Cambridge is simillar) admissions process is brilliant for the attention paid to each individual application - there is a fantastic amount of support for applicants from both the Access Scheme organisers, and the regular Univesity Admissions Office. The real problem lies with the imagine of the universities, and the perceived discrimination on both sides - it really does work both ways; I am still concious of how different my experience at school was to 90% of the people here. Equally, when I do admissions events, I see people with a chip on their shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon - that can be hard to deal with, because they will react as if they constantly have to prove how rough/bad/underfunded/etc their school is in comparison with the university. The worst thing is, I recognise that I was exactly the same 18 months ago in their position. It's not that being here has suddenly changed my views on education - I just see more perspective now.

    My other bugbear about positive discrimination etc... that has really come out since I have been here: sure, maybe just under 50% of people did go to state school. State does not equate automatically with bad. Some people wear 'state-school' badge like it gives them extra credibility - the truth is that they are playing to the idea that somehow all state schools automatically put you at a disadvantage. There are some fantastic state schools around, and I learnt pretty quickly that people who happily declared that they were 'state school' hadn't necessarily been at a mixed, low ranked, under-achieving inner city comprehensive (like mine). But that's slightly irelevent to the original question. It just annoys me anyway.
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    OK, giving offers on lower grades is to be avoided if there are better/more accurate alternatives available - awarding places on the basis that ABB at a state school is equivilent to AAA at a private school is necessarily inaccurate - it doesn't take into account peoples individual circumstances.

    There may be a (strong) argument for this system to be applied in the B/C grade range at a uni with lots of applicants and no time to sort them by any other means, as it can be used to roughly even the playing field on the basis that mid range pupils achieve more at private schools.

    However, it should be strongly discouraged at the top end of the grade scale - as has been pointed out these people can't do any better than getting A's, it seems very unfair to expect the impossible from them. For the record, universities do not receive your % scores, and the people who are suggesting reading books miss the point: under a system based on differential offers, this wouldn't help; there would come a point at which a private school pupil had achieved a certain level, and only state school pupils would be capable of going above this as their grades are taken to be worth more. The only excuse for such as system is that the level of applicants (eg. 20 per place at bristol) makes any alternative impractical.

    At Oxbridge such a system would be an unjustified and unmitigated disaster - there is NO NEED for such heavy handed arbitrary measures when each candidate receives the attention they do here, by interview and general care taken in the application. Oxbridge tutors are not stupid, they are able to take into account school differences into assessing the value of grades, but crucially on an *individual* basis. As this is undoubtedly done now, a university policy of awarding lower offers would be both unneccesary and unjust.

    My little rant....

    p.s. this applies to making offers on the basis of lower grades achieved at application, rather than making lower offers (which I see no problem with at a uni that interviews everybody). Sorry if thats all people are arguing for (but it doesn't seem thats the case...)
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    (Original post by Frances)
    I see your point there, and that's where it gets complicated. But I guess Oxbridge had an advantage there in interviewing all the candidates, they should be able to get an idea of who's truly intelligent, and who's just had good teaching.
    Im fed up with this word 'intelligent' or 'clever'. Most people here seem to be concerned with these words. Oxbridge don't want to know how clever you are, whether you can do a complicated sum in your head quicker than anyone. They want to see enthusiasm and an aptitude for your subject. No one is any less intelligent than anyone else, we're all just good at different things, doesn't have to be an academic ability!
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    (Original post by mast3486)
    Im fed up with this word 'intelligent' or 'clever'. Most people here seem to be concerned with these words. Oxbridge don't want to know how clever you are, whether you can do a complicated sum in your head quicker than anyone. They want to see enthusiasm and an aptitude for your subject. No one is any less intelligent than anyone else, we're all just good at different things, doesn't have to be an academic ability!
    Generally I would assume that yes, Oxbridge would want somebody who was "intelligent". I'm not saying that they have to be exceptionally so, but if you want to go to University then yes, you do need academic ability! Having "an aptitude for your subject" would come under that. Yes we are all good at different things, and that's why Oxbridge is not for everybody. Honestly. :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    They can study more subjects, they can go for 100%, they can go beyond Alevel with something like AEA or STEP, and if the state school applicant matches them with that, they can pickup a book and read about something entirely off syllabus.

    Everybody can pick up a book and read about something entirely off syllabus. And should, in fact, be doing so - it costs nothing to go down to a library and have a browse through books related to your subject and after all, aren't you supposed to be filled with enthusiasm for it?

    This post actually made me quite cross. In principle I agree entirely with making allowances for individuals (but please note the use of the word individuals) who have obviously had to work much harder than people at private schools to get top grades. However it is *not* fair to say that independent school pupils should move the earth to be accepted as on a par! My school only allowed us to take 9 GCSEs and 3 proper A levels - I managed to wangle the fourth by dint of hard persuading and had three half-hour lessons a week for it even so. It did allow us to take AEAs, but what about the private schools that don't? They exist. All people are limited by their schools, even if they happen to be good ones.

    But I do 100% agree that people who have fought their way through to academic achievement against the odds should have allowances made for them, I really do. Not only does it show ability, it shows determination which is a quality that's much-needed at Oxford and Cambridge. I just disagree with the post above!
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    How anybody voted no in this thread is beyond me, it seems 100% clear cut to me and don't know how people can contend this one at all.
    I think you need to look at the poll and read it and apply that cute mathamatical brain of yours before you make such statements.

    'Should Oxbridge reject indepedant school kids with higher grades in favour of kids from state schools'

    Notice that the poll implies - Indepedant gets AAA , state gets ABB (or something), and that Oxbridge should take the ABB candidate and not the AAA candidate. By doing this it first of all is unfair and secondly undermines the whole exam system.
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    (Original post by MadNatSci)
    Everybody can pick up a book and read about something entirely off syllabus. And should, in fact, be doing so - it costs nothing to go down to a library and have a browse through books related to your subject and after all, aren't you supposed to be filled with enthusiasm for it?

    This post actually made me quite cross. In principle I agree entirely with making allowances for individuals (but please note the use of the word individuals) who have obviously had to work much harder than people at private schools to get top grades. However it is *not* fair to say that independent school pupils should move the earth to be accepted as on a par! My school only allowed us to take 9 GCSEs and 3 proper A levels - I managed to wangle the fourth by dint of hard persuading and had three half-hour lessons a week for it even so. It did allow us to take AEAs, but what about the private schools that don't? They exist. All people are limited by their schools, even if they happen to be good ones.

    But I do 100% agree that people who have fought their way through to academic achievement against the odds should have allowances made for them, I really do. Not only does it show ability, it shows determination which is a quality that's much-needed at Oxford and Cambridge. I just disagree with the post above!
    Sorry I didn't mean to upset you, and I realise now that I didn't quite get across what I meant either to you or Corey. What I mean is that the tutors should (and do) look at individual circumstances, and recognise that sometimes AAA is an exceptionally high achievement, not just high.

    I think we disagree on the following though: Furthermore, if the background of the applicant has meant that AAA would not be such a struggle, then a higher level of achivement would be expected somewhere, if it really reached the situation where they were getting 100% in every exam, the school can't stop them studying something in depth by themselves like you did.

    I think it comes down to the fact that I don't agree there is a limit to what a candidate can offer, there's always something extra they could do to gain themselves an edge.
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    (Original post by corey)
    I think you need to look at the poll and read it and apply that cute mathamatical brain of yours before you make such statements.

    'Should Oxbridge reject indepedant school kids with higher grades in favour of kids from state schools'

    Notice that the poll implies - Indepedant gets AAA , state gets ABB (or something), and that Oxbridge should take the ABB candidate and not the AAA candidate. By doing this it first of all is unfair and secondly undermines the whole exam system.
    Okay I didn't take the poll word for word, but everybody knows that blanket positive discrimination is stupid, and that really the debate is "Should AAA in a crap school be seen as more of an achivement than AAA in a top school?"
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    I think it comes down to the fact that I don't agree there is a limit to what a candidate can offer, there's always something extra they could do to gain themselves an edge.
    It's dangerous to be always doing things because there is a need to out-do others, though. Am I naive in thinking that it is actually more important to grow up and mature into realising that you can out time and effort into things that interest you, but should do this because you have an interest in doing so and not because you want to become a walking paradigm of a UCAS application/CV?
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    (Original post by grey faerie)
    It's dangerous to be always doing things because there is a need to out-do others, though. Am I naive in thinking that it is actually more important to grow up and mature into realising that you can out time and effort into things that interest you, but should do this because you have an interest in doing so and not because you want to become a walking paradigm of a UCAS application/CV?
    Yes, but since Oxbridge already make decisions based on these criteria, and will give applicants kudos for doing something like a STEP paper in lower 6th, or reading up on their favourite part of history etc, then for the sake of fairness you have to recognise the achievements as relative, surely?
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    (Original post by Frances)
    There are no grammar schools in my local area. There aren't even that many private schools. And we certainly couldn't afford to pay for them if there were.
    Private schools offer scholarships and bursaries. I certainly wouldn't have been able to afford to go to one, if i hadn't have got one.
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    (Original post by MadNatSci)
    Everybody can pick up a book and read about something entirely off syllabus. And should, in fact, be doing so - it costs nothing to go down to a library and have a browse through books related to your subject and after all, aren't you supposed to be filled with enthusiasm for it?

    This post actually made me quite cross. In principle I agree entirely with making allowances for individuals (but please note the use of the word individuals) who have obviously had to work much harder than people at private schools to get top grades. However it is *not* fair to say that independent school pupils should move the earth to be accepted as on a par! My school only allowed us to take 9 GCSEs and 3 proper A levels - I managed to wangle the fourth by dint of hard persuading and had three half-hour lessons a week for it even so. It did allow us to take AEAs, but what about the private schools that don't? They exist. All people are limited by their schools, even if they happen to be good ones.

    But I do 100% agree that people who have fought their way through to academic achievement against the odds should have allowances made for them, I really do. Not only does it show ability, it shows determination which is a quality that's much-needed at Oxford and Cambridge. I just disagree with the post above!
    I agree 100% with your post. I go to a private school and we were also only allowed to take 9 GCSEs and the majority of people are only allowed to take 3 A-Levels.
    My family is nowhere near rich enough to pay for me to go to a private school - the only reason I'm at one is because I got a full scholarship.
    The classes are nowhere near as small as 15 as someone said in their post, and the teaching quality varies dramatically. It's also a myth that private school kids sit in silence and are well behaved all the time. I've been in lots of lesson where the teacher struggles throughout to keep the class under control.

    On the other hand, my two brothers went to the local state school where they took 11 GCSEs and 5 A-levels. Their class sizes were often the same size as mine and the teaching was good enough for them to get top grades. One of them got 5 As at A-level.

    I understand that many state schools aren't this good, and that many pupils do have to work extremely hard to get the same grades as private school pupils. However, wide, sweeping statements that categorically say that state school pupils are always at a huge disadvantage to private school pupils are ridiculous. Yes, many private schools are better than many state schools, but in many cases state schools are just as good as private schools, and some are even better.
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    surely this is why oxbridge have interviews? to acknowledge the fact that grades do not reflect ability / potential...
 
 
 
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