Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
x Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Beware ....
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25826701
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    True, but Oxford & Imperial have asked for 2A* for sometime and most NatSci entrants have 3A*. I assume this is partly in preparation for the abolition of AS exams.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Colmans)
    True, but Oxford & Imperial have asked for 2A* for sometime and most NatSci entrants have 3A*. I assume this is partly in preparation for the abolition of AS exams.
    It is a risky game for Cambridge.

    A level grades are currently slightly falling. They are likely to fall further with the abolition of AS levels. Obviously colleges will still test internally at the end of the lower VIth and the exam boards may reposition the AS level (in order to keep selling them) to be a waypoint exam along the road to a full A level but not forming part of a full A level (Cambridge would certainly prefer this). However the mere fact that candidates won't have part of their grades "in the bag" will increase the risk involved in A levels.

    The Cambridge entrance system is geared to be an assessment of the suitability for Cambridge study not a system for predicting A level grades. By making very challenging offers, Cambridge will increase the proportion of candidates who miss their offers.

    Either Cambridge will have to do what other universities do (and what Cambridge does for maths due to STEP) and significantly over-offer or they will have to accept more people who miss their grades. The problem with the former is that Cambridge are not then selecting students. They are simply seeing who turns up. The problem with the latter is reputational. The public will struggle to understand why Cambridge turned down one candidate with A*A*A* after interview but still took another candidate who was given an offer of A*A*A, missed it and got A*AA.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    It is a risky game for Cambridge.

    A level grades are currently slightly falling. They are likely to fall further with the abolition of AS levels. Obviously colleges will still test internally at the end of the lower VIth and the exam boards may reposition the AS level (in order to keep selling them) to be a waypoint exam along the road to a full A level but not forming part of a full A level (Cambridge would certainly prefer this). However the mere fact that candidates won't have part of their grades "in the bag" will increase the risk involved in A levels.

    The Cambridge entrance system is geared to be an assessment of the suitability for Cambridge study not a system for predicting A level grades. By making very challenging offers, Cambridge will increase the proportion of candidates who miss their offers.

    Either Cambridge will have to do what other universities do (and what Cambridge does for maths due to STEP) and significantly over-offer or they will have to accept more people who miss their grades. The problem with the former is that Cambridge are not then selecting students. They are simply seeing who turns up. The problem with the latter is reputational. The public will struggle to understand why Cambridge turned down one candidate with A*A*A* after interview but still took another candidate who was given an offer of A*A*A, missed it and got A*AA.
    I agree, this is why Cambridge are arguing against the abolition of AS grades. However their own research shows that the A* at A2 is a better predictor of degree success than interviews or other criteria such as GCSE. Currently they use AS, without it they need A2. I think they will over offer as the majority of NatSci holders already get 3A*. Few* get only one A* or less (85/1137) . They will use the summer pool in the way they do for STEP.
    http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/a...erformance.pdf

    The person who applies post qualification with 3A* is presumably going to have an advantage over the person who applies with only GCSEs. The sad thing is that this will disadvantage those people who currently make huge progress between GCSE & AS.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Colmans)
    I agree, this is why Cambridge are arguing against the abolition of AS grades. However their own research shows that the A* at A2 is a better predictor of degree success than interviews or other criteria such as GCSE. Currently they use AS, without it they need A2. I think they will over offer as the majority of NatSci holders already get 3A*. Few* get only one A* or less (85/1137) . They will use the summer pool in the way they do for STEP.
    http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/a...erformance.pdf

    The person who applies post qualification with 3A* is presumably going to have an advantage over the person who applies with only GCSEs. The sad thing is that this will disadvantage those people who currently make huge progress between GCSE & AS.
    The problem with their research is that it was done in a rising A level market and where people had their AS levels in the bag and so were self-selecting in making their Cambridge applications in the first place. It reality it is a new qualification with the same name.

    The other issue is Access. Due to the very high A* percentage for further maths, it increases Cambridge's reliance on a a qualification not offered by all VIth forms.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The problem with their research is that it was done in a rising A level market and where people had their AS levels in the bag and so were self-selecting in making their Cambridge applications in the first place. It reality it is a new qualification with the same name.

    The other issue is Access. Due to the very high A* percentage for further maths, it increases Cambridge's reliance on a a qualification not offered by all VIth forms.
    The problem you have is what is better?

    Assuming that you want to improve access all the alternatives are worse. Independent & Grammar school pupils are much more likely to have good GCSEs. Middle class pupils fear interviews less and are widely assumed to be effectively coached. Given that Cambridge wants to select approximately the top 3% the average non selective school will only have one or two pupils a year of the required standard and so their references are not going to distinguish between different candidates.
    Cambrideg already use the summer pool to preferentially award places to state school pupils. Presumably if many people miss their A*A*A offer the same opportunity will arise. However the average score will have to drop significantly from the current average of 2.7A* for that to happen.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Colmans)
    I agree, this is why Cambridge are arguing against the abolition of AS grades. However their own research shows that the A* at A2 is a better predictor of degree success than interviews or other criteria such as GCSE. Currently they use AS, without it they need A2. I think they will over offer as the majority of NatSci holders already get 3A*. Few* get only one A* or less (85/1137) . They will use the summer pool in the way they do for STEP.
    http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/a...erformance.pdf

    The person who applies post qualification with 3A* is presumably going to have an advantage over the person who applies with only GCSEs. The sad thing is that this will disadvantage those people who currently make huge progress between GCSE & AS.
    How can their research show that the A* is a better predictor of degree success than interviews? They'd have to use interview scores (no mention of which is made in the link you provided, nor, if I recall correctly, in any other research published on this matter by Cambridge).
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    How can their research show that the A* is a better predictor of degree success than interviews? They'd have to use interview scores (no mention of which is made in the link you provided, nor, if I recall correctly, in any other research published on this matter by Cambridge).
    True. The research only shows A* is better than GSCE.
    So either they haven't done interview score research in which case none of us have evidence that our opinion on their value is correct. Or they have done research and choose to keep it private.
    Perhaps their research shows interview scores are unreliable. Given the sheer number of interviewers and the variability of performance between good days and lucky questions v nervous individuals and misunderstanding I find this plausible if embarrassing for them. The admissions handbook advice "don't place too much reliance on the interview" accords with this.
    The second is that interview success does predict degree success but is embarrassing in a different way. Why? Because almost everybody assumes being middle class or privately educated means you perform better at interview.

    So it's back to the question: in the absence of AS what would you rely on if you want to choose those who will do best at the degree and improve access.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    How can their research show that the A* is a better predictor of degree success than interviews? They'd have to use interview scores (no mention of which is made in the link you provided, nor, if I recall correctly, in any other research published on this matter by Cambridge).
    There's a somewhat relevant statement by the Trinity College Admissions Tutor:

    "But neither interview scores nor aptitude tests have the same predictive consistency as GCSE results or marks for A-level modules."

    Source: http://alumni.trin.cam.ac.uk/document.doc?id=77

    This suggests that even GCSE results are better predictors than interviews.

    However, there is no explanation of the evidence behind that statement.

    There's also an old report (which has now been removed from the internet) that looked at Interview Scores and correlation with Tripos results in medicine. There was a correlation of 0.078 between interview scores and the totals of all first and second year medicine exams. There was a negative correlation (albeit a very minimal one) between male interview scores and Tripos results!
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    There's a somewhat relevant statement by the Trinity College Admissions Tutor:

    "But neither interview scores nor aptitude tests have the same predictive consistency as GCSE results or marks for A-level modules."

    Source: http://alumni.trin.cam.ac.uk/document.doc?id=77

    This suggests that even GCSE results are better predictors than interviews.

    However, there is no explanation of the evidence behind that statement.

    There's also an old report (which has now been removed from the internet) that looked at Interview Scores and correlation with Tripos results in medicine. There was a correlation of 0.078 between interview scores and the totals of all first and second year medicine exams. There was a negative correlation (albeit a very minimal one) between male interview scores and Tripos results!
    Cool post. I wouldn't have guessed that the interview bears such little correlation to exam performance.

    With reference to the discussion of upping the required grades. I think the better way for them to go, based on their own data, is introducing admissions tests - similar to STEP, which has the best predictive power of all factors - and de-emphasising interviews/grades. The difficulty with this is creating a suitable test - the BMAT/TSA exist already but have poor predictive power. Probably, they should just ask tripos-style questions (but at A Level standard) instead of the current BMAT/TSA format. That is pretty much what STEP is anyway.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ClickItBack)
    Cool post. I wouldn't have guessed that the interview bears such little correlation to exam performance.
    I guess my post was sort of "one-sided", because I'm pretty sceptical about the interviews anyway. Although given that there's no evidence in favour of interviews being good Tripos predictors, I suppose I'd argue that my scepticism is valid.

    I put this to the Corpus Christi Admissions Tutor when she had a thread on TSR, and she responded (top of page three): http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...2399908&page=3
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    I guess my post was sort of "one-sided", because I'm pretty sceptical about the interviews anyway. Although given that there's no evidence in favour of interviews being good Tripos predictors, I suppose I'd argue that my scepticism is valid.

    I put this to the Corpus Christi Admissions Tutor when she had a thread on TSR, and she responded (top of page three): http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...2399908&page=3
    I think it's not surprising really that the interview does not really predict how well a student will do in Finals, given that Finals are the result of sustained, focused study after 3 or 4 years and almost always exam based (rather than assessed by viva voce). As such, the A level resembles this system more closely than an interview because the former requires sustained study and is (for the most part) exam based, whereas the interview can sometimes reward flashes of brilliance that burn out in the long run (e.g. a girl in the year below me at Oxford who was the best candidate the history tutors had seen in a long while ended up trailing on a 2.ii in her mock exams because of laziness).

    The admissions tutor's point about the difficulty of getting good research on the influence of interview performance is a fair one though, given that they can only really study a group of successful applicants whose interview scores will presumably all be pretty high. Also, I know that my tutor's vary widely in how they mark my tutorial work (one will only rarely go above 72 while others will routinely do so with the same students etc) so it's not hard to see how this phenomenon might also be true of interview scores.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The other issue is Access. Due to the very high A* percentage for further maths, it increases Cambridge's reliance on a a qualification not offered by all VIth forms.
    I think you might be misinterpreting statistics here a bit. The very high A* percentage in Further Maths is more a reflection of the significantly higher average ability of candidates than is seen in other courses. If a student would be capable of an A* in Further Maths, but couldn't as it wasn't offered to them at their sixth form, it is pretty likely that they'd be more than capable of getting one in other science based A level subjects that they were able to take.

    Basically I don't think not being able to take FM would disadvantage applicants from the perspective of it being easier to get an A* in (because it's not).
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    You may have heard that Cambridge are changing their standard offer for maths and science courses from A*AA to A*A*A.
    See here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25826701

    http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/news/003153...nce-offer.html

    I understand the reasoning behind this, but articles like these aren't clear on when exactly these changes are coming into effect: "from 2015" and "the 2015 application cycle" could technically mean either for 2015 entry or applying in 2015 for 2016 entry.
    I have a feeling it means applying this year for 2015 entry - can anyone confirm?
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TotalerReinfall)
    You may have heard that Cambridge are changing their standard offer for maths and science courses from A*AA to A*A*A.
    See here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25826701

    http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/news/003153...nce-offer.html

    I understand the reasoning behind this, but articles like these aren't clear on when exactly these changes are coming into effect: "from 2015" and "the 2015 application cycle" could technically mean either for 2015 entry or applying in 2015 for 2016 entry.
    I have a feeling it means applying this year for 2015 entry - can anyone confirm?
    It almost certainly means those applying for 2015 entry.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Does this mean trinity will niw be A*A*A*?

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Quantumchem)
    I think you might be misinterpreting statistics here a bit. The very high A* percentage in Further Maths is more a reflection of the significantly higher average ability of candidates than is seen in other courses. If a student would be capable of an A* in Further Maths, but couldn't as it wasn't offered to them at their sixth form, it is pretty likely that they'd be more than capable of getting one in other science based A level subjects that they were able to take.

    Basically I don't think not being able to take FM would disadvantage applicants from the perspective of it being easier to get an A* in (because it's not).
    I think we will have to wait and see on this.

    There has been an increased take up of double maths over its historic levels in recent years and the perception has been that schools have been directing candidates towards it because it is a relatively easier way to achieve the grades for challenging university offers.
 
 
 
Poll
Are you going to a festival?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.