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Cambridge University to introduce written admissions tests Watch

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    (Original post by Pars12)
    But interviews are a make-or-break part of the selection process.
    No. They. Aren't.

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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    Tbh I personally would doubt that a lack of evidence for interviews is due to nepotism/privilege. More likely to be that Oxbridge dons overweight their own ability at assessing someone's academic ability, in my opinion.
    Yes, I agree to the first part but justice must be seen to be done.

    Second part is, I believe, even more subtle. People (even the dons!) tend to see what they want to see. It's very easy for groups of people to be fooled or simply to make a mistake.

    Hence Clever Hans, the counting horse.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    No. They. Aren't.

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    They are at Oxford.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    I agree in principle, but just to add: can you name me a university, college, school, employer or indeed institution of any kind which actually does this? Not that that should ever inhibit innovation but just saying: it would be pretty revolutionary.
    I see all these stats justifying UMS approach, GCSE, etc. Why has nobody taken this on? I hope it's not because all the revolutionary statisticians were rejected at interview
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    They are at Oxford.
    This is cambridge boy.


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    (Original post by physicsmaths)
    This is cambridge boy.


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    It's ok, we can't all be perfect.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    It's ok, we can't all be perfect.
    Oh Hi, why can't I do PPE at Cambridge. 'you can't', but I can at Oxford, 'well this is Cambridge boy'.



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    (Original post by physicsmaths)
    Oh Hi, why can't I do PPE at Cambridge. 'you can't', but I can at Oxford, 'well this is Cambridge boy'.



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    Lucky you pointed that out. Could have caused some nasty embarrassment. Is that a Suffolk accent?
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    I'm surprised they didn't have these already...
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    Admission tests without model past paper answers significantly favour students from colleges who have a lot of applicants, usually private ones.
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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    I have no idea, but I'd have thought it would be common sense for institutions to research whether the selection methods they employ (often at great expense) actually work. :p:
    Universities yes, but none publish to my knowledge.

    I'm not sure many other institutions do you know. Relying on your 'gut' very much still is a thing in our society!

    Plus I think for a lot of employers (and possibly some Oxbridge tutors as well) the point of interviews is to identify someone they like and can work with, rather than picking out any specific performance measures.
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    (Original post by nexttime)

    Plus I think for a lot of employers (and possibly some Oxbridge tutors as well) the point of interviews is to identify someone they like and can work with, rather than picking out any specific performance measures.
    Yeah, see I don't think Oxbridge should be using that as a selection criteria.
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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    Yeah, see I don't think Oxbridge should be using that as a selection criteria.
    Maybe "teachable" rather than "like".

    Cambridge says in "Why do we interview":
    All Admissions Tutors are looking for the students who they believe have the most academic ability and potential, are best suited to the course applied for, and who will benefit from what we have to offer.

    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...o-we-interview

    No mention of "like"...
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Maybe "teachable" rather than "like".

    Cambridge says in "Why do we interview":
    All Admissions Tutors are looking for the students who they believe have the most academic ability and potential, are best suited to the course applied for, and who will benefit from what we have to offer.

    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...o-we-interview

    No mention of "like"...
    Yeah I agree; I was speaking hypothetically.

    I even think "teachable" is a bit suspect though, I can't imagine you can accurately assess that in a couple of brief interviews. I mean, if someone has a string of A*s and near-perfect UMS, and the tutors say "Oh he doesn't seem teachable or to suit the supervision system", I personally would question their rationale.
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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    Yeah I agree; I was speaking hypothetically.

    I even think "teachable" is a bit suspect though, I can't imagine you can accurately assess that in a couple of brief interviews. I mean, if someone has a string of A*s and near-perfect UMS, and the tutors say "Oh he doesn't seem teachable or to suit the supervision system", I personally would question their rationale.
    Would rarely happen, but might be that the candidate knows the mark schemes well, but not how to apply the knowledge more creatively to unfamilar situations...
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Would rarely happen, but might be that the candidate knows the mark schemes well, but not how to apply the knowledge more creatively to unfamilar situations...
    Very few people are Nobel prize winners - most successful Oxbridge applicants will be normal smart people, not geniuses. On that basis it doesn't seem justifiable that the best candidates in our examination system should be refused places under any circumstances. This 'teachable' idea seems highly suspect to me, firstly because I think it's very easy for intelligent students to adapt to that system in time, and secondly because it's fertile ground for unconscious bias on the basis of race, gender or background to creep in.

    That being said, I don't think such a scenario ever really happens. I gathered that Oxbridge are looking for the applicants who will do best on their courses. If these admissions tests are fairly written (ie. not catering the content to the tuition schedules of top private schools, as I recall pretty clearly from reading some colleges' admissions tests) they should be a good instrument for deciding whether that is the case.
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    (Original post by Unkempt_One)
    Very few people are Nobel prize winners - most successful Oxbridge applicants will be normal smart people, not geniuses. On that basis it doesn't seem justifiable that the best candidates in our examination system should be refused places under any circumstances.
    The problem is, though, that our public examination system doesn't have the dynamic range at the top end to identify the "best" candidates...

    That being said, I don't think such a scenario ever really happens. I gathered that Oxbridge are looking for the applicants who will do best on their courses. If these admissions tests are fairly written (ie. not catering the content to the tuition schedules of top private schools, as I recall pretty clearly from reading some colleges' admissions tests) they should be a good instrument for deciding whether that is the case.
    Here's hoping!
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    (Original post by Gregorius)
    The problem is, though, that our public examination system doesn't have the dynamic range at the top end to identify the "best" candidates...

    What else does though?

    Cambridge say AS results are the best predictor of Tripos performance (except in Maths).
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    (Original post by Unkempt_One)
    Very few people are Nobel prize winners - most successful Oxbridge applicants will be normal smart people, not geniuses. On that basis it doesn't seem justifiable that the best candidates in our examination system should be refused places under any circumstances. This 'teachable' idea seems highly suspect to me, firstly because I think it's very easy for intelligent students to adapt to that system in time, and secondly because it's fertile ground for unconscious bias on the basis of race, gender or background to creep in.

    That being said, I don't think such a scenario ever really happens. I gathered that Oxbridge are looking for the applicants who will do best on their courses. If these admissions tests are fairly written (ie. not catering the content to the tuition schedules of top private schools, as I recall pretty clearly from reading some colleges' admissions tests) they should be a good instrument for deciding whether that is the case.
    The fact is that it does happen (occasionally) that applicants with very high UMS fail to get a place. But you don't need to be a potential Nobel prize winner to get an offer at Cambridge. They accept over 3,000 undergraduates per year... mostly very normal smart people (although a few might go on to greater things!).

    And to your last para, Cambridge already have a lot of experience producing tests and exams (they own the Admissions Testing Service that runs STEP & BMAT etc and also administers the Oxford tests), so they should be able to develop a few more that meet their requirements AND without favouring "top private schools".
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    (Original post by Gregorius)
    The problem is, though, that our public examination system doesn't have the dynamic range at the top end to identify the "best" candidates...
    No, I completely agree and that's why I support the principle of these tests. However, before this was an issue AS UMS scores were used and found to correlate reasonably with degree success in all subjects except Maths. Under that climate I don't think it would've been justifiable to, say, reject a candidate with 100% UMS across the board.
 
 
 
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