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    (Original post by kizer)
    Magdalene
    ouch
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    ^^ my point equally applies to cambridge, smart arse!
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    (Original post by kizer)
    ^^ my point equally applies to cambridge, smart arse!
    not what you meant though.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    I disagree. Those people who apply to Oxford do not all have equal ability, they have a range of abilities. All could do well there, but the point is that very strong candidates are likely both to be picked by their first college, and do well in public exams. It won't be a strong effect, but it will be there.

    Your last statement seems to suggest that getting in to Oxford is based on luck alone - surely you don't actually think that?
    The range is small in my view, I'm not arrogant enough to think that I am significantly better than those that were rejected. There is a range of course, but it's never as cut and dry as "This candidate is more able in every department" there is always a compromise, and then it comes down to who the tutors think will do well, and really, who they think they can get on with for 3 or 4 years.

    Luck is not everything, but there is without doubt an aspect of luck. I was merely pointing out that most of those selected for interview could do well at Oxford, if they had the chance to study here. It's no different to a job interview, it's not all on ability - it comes down to your ability relative to the competition at the time and on the factors which an employer/tutor is looking for. Although there are many attempts to standardize this, there is still a subjective element involved in defining who is the better candidate. Certainly, those that are pooled are said to be good enough, else they wouldn't have been made the offer. Oxford doesn't do making up the numbers.
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    (Original post by F1 fanatic)
    The range is small in my view, I'm not arrogant enough to think that I am significantly better than those that were rejected.
    The range isn't that small. Oxford gets geniuses applying to it, a lot of merely good applicants and a fair amount of no hopers. I'm also not arrogant enough to think I am significantly better than those that were rejected - but I am realistic enough to note that on average, that candidates accepted are stronger than those rejected. I cannot possibly see how that proposition can reasonably rejected.


    There is a range of course, but it's never as cut and dry as "This candidate is more able in every department" there is always a compromise, and then it comes down to who the tutors think will do well, and really, who they think they can get on with for 3 or 4 years.
    Yes there is nearly always a compromise (it would be churlish to deny that sometimes candidates really are just outstanding). But ON AVERAGE....



    Luck is not everything, but there is without doubt an aspect of luck. I was merely pointing out that most of those selected for interview could do well at Oxford, if they had the chance to study here.
    Yes, but some would do more well than others... some would be top first candidates, and some would never be able to get past a 2:1.


    It's no different to a job interview, it's not all on ability - it comes down to your ability relative to the competition at the time and on the factors which an employer/tutor is looking for.
    Well of course it comes down to your ability relative to the competition, that is the reason I can make my deductions. And I thought than on the whole we know that tutors are looking for 'academic aptitude' - as in they are trying to predict who will do well! Which rather helps my point.

    Although there are many attempts to standardize this, there is still a subjective element involved in defining who is the better candidate. Certainly, those that are pooled are said to be good enough, else they wouldn't have been made the offer. Oxford doesn't do making up the numbers.
    True, they don't do making up the numbers. But they know that even within those they accept there are a range of abilities. And my point is that those towards the top of that range are more likely to have been accepted by their first choice college, and those at the bottom less likely. How can you deny that?
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    I think we're arguing on different wavelengths here.

    I agree that, on average, pooled candidates may be slightly less able than those not pooled (if only because those geniuses accepted straight away pull the average of the latter up) and therefore some colleges e.g. St Hilda's may be disadvantaged. BUT I dispute that the difference in average standard is so great as to be recognised at finals, because people change so much over the three years.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    The range isn't that small. Oxford gets geniuses applying to it, a lot of merely good applicants and a fair amount of no hopers. I'm also not arrogant enough to think I am significantly better than those that were rejected - but I am realistic enough to note that on average, that candidates accepted are stronger than those rejected. I cannot possibly see how that proposition can reasonably rejected.

    True, they don't do making up the numbers. But they know that even within those they accept there are a range of abilities. And my point is that those towards the top of that range are more likely to have been accepted by their first choice college, and those at the bottom less likely. How can you deny that?
    I said invited to interview - anyone invited to interview is considered to be in with a shout. saying this, tutors have normally already got it down to say 10-20 who they are actually looking at to give the places to. I don't disagree that a tutor will choose the best they see at the time of interview, but where we seem to disagree is in the ability for that order to change. A lot changes in 3 years, you come in knowing near as damn it to nothing, and leave knowing a huge amount about your subject. The change is so large, as to in my opinion completely swamp any difference in ability at interview. Consider also the additional factors of differing schooling which may flatter one candidate in comparison to another, and the growing up and personal development which undoubtedly occurs between the ages of 18-21. I for one am a very different person to back then.

    As an example of the ability for change, I do physics. Some come in with further maths and others don't. By the end of the first year you won't be able to tell which were which. In conclusion, I don't deny that a college will choose what it deems to be the best students at the time, but I do argue that this same differential will apply 3 years later. Certainly in my experience of observing people's progression over the years it's not true.
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    (Original post by F1 fanatic)
    I said invited to interview - anyone invited to interview is considered to be in with a shout. saying this, tutors have normally already got it down to say 10-20 who they are actually looking at to give the places to. I don't disagree that a tutor will choose the best they see at the time of interview, but where we seem to disagree is in the ability for that order to change. A lot changes in 3 years, you come in knowing near as damn it to nothing, and leave knowing a huge amount about your subject. The change is so large, as to in my opinion completely swamp any difference in ability at interview. Consider also the additional factors of differing schooling which may flatter one candidate in comparison to another, and the growing up and personal development which undoubtedly occurs between the ages of 18-21. I for one am a very different person to back then.

    As an example of the ability for change, I do physics. Some come in with further maths and others don't. By the end of the first year you won't be able to tell which were which. In conclusion, I don't deny that a college will choose what it deems to be the best students at the time, but I do argue that this same differential will apply 3 years later. Certainly in my experience of observing people's progression over the years it's not true.

    Ok, this is an argument I definitely think is reasonable. Certainly it is possible that differences at the interview stage are entirely swamped by the time of finals. It would be interesting to know statistically what the difference is. Without any data, I think we just have to say we don't really know the effect.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    I think we're arguing on different wavelengths here.

    I agree that, on average, pooled candidates may be slightly less able than those not pooled (if only because those geniuses accepted straight away pull the average of the latter up) and therefore some colleges e.g. St Hilda's may be disadvantaged. BUT I dispute that the difference in average standard is so great as to be recognised at finals, because people change so much over the three years.

    Further to my post above (I think this view is entirely reasonable), while I am fully aware the correlation does not imply causation, it does strike me that those colleges towards the top of the Norrington table tend to be very oversubscribed, and those at the bottom very undersubscribed. I can think of two explanations:

    1) My theory is right.

    2) Colleges that are undersubscribed are to a very significant extent undersubsribed because their teaching and academic resources are significantly worse than others, or their general atmosphere is not conducive to learning.



    The thing is, I find 2) unconvincing. As I understand it, for most subjects, people are taught finals papers from tutors at various colleges, and of course the lectures are the same for everyone. I also find the 'general atmosphere' thing slightly odd as well. I find it more plausible that very oversubscribed colleges do better generally because they get better people to start with - and not that colleges that make people do better are thus oversubscribed.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Ok, this is an argument I definitely think is reasonable. Certainly it is possible that differences at the interview stage are entirely swamped by the time of finals. It would be interesting to know statistically what the difference is. Without any data, I think we just have to say we don't really know the effect.
    Not hard data no, but I've definitely observed people around me progress or regress over time (if you can take much from these moderately small scale statistics), often depending on how much work they put into their studies. As I said, people grow up and they will set a different work:social balance in their life which suits them. Different people also react differently to the independence that university brings, especially if they were pushed at school.

    On the above comment, I think it's likely to be a mixture of the two. The popular colleges are the rich colleges - they can afford better provision for their students. Merton, at the top of the list, is notorious for pushing its students. Whether a college is reputable or not will affect it's popularity. It's also possible that popular colleges will just attract better applicants anyway, pooled or not, as a result of perceived self-selection sees themselves as standing less chance at a "popular" college.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)


    I wasn't suggesting they would take a weaker candidate over a stronger, in fact I quite categorically said that wasn't the case. What I said was that with two candidates of equal quality the latter is likely to lose out and be pooled, but because admissions are oftened centralised the first college will still endeavour to make sure that this candidate gets a place, and therefore pooled candidates need not be the bottom of the pile.
    Okay, but how many people are of the same quality? I doubt that you'll find many. And even if - how likely is it that tutors like both candidates equally well? Even admissions tutors say that this plays a part also. You may have your evidence, and your opinion, but I just don't believe it. They can pool candidates only after everybody has been interviewed, and then they pool the ones they think are good enough but don't want to take. Btw, if you look at the numbers of which colleges pool the most, it's Merton, Balliol, Magdalen (I think there have been years where each successfully pooled a third of their own successful applicants). There might be more than just the obvious explanation for it; but to suggest that pooled candidates are of the same quality simply does not face realities. Neither, of course, would it be realistic to say that pooled candidates cannot be equal or better than straight acceptances: for example, I know of two E&Mists pooled by Merton who both got distrinctions, whilst neither of the people who got accepted straight did. Looking at the league table, however, Merton clearly does better than the colleges that both people were pooled to. So there are exceptions, but on average the colleges get it right.
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    (Original post by Sternau)
    Okay, but how many people are of the same quality? I doubt that you'll find many. And even if - how likely is it that tutors like both candidates equally well?
    Bang. There's your point right there. It's perfectly possible for two candidates to be near equal because there are so many things to consider - and tutors will place preference on different things. Candidate A may be no better than Candidate B, who is harder working and will ultimately achieve better because they will live in the library for 3 years, but Tutor @ College X likes raw talent bright sparks, rather than slow plodding hard workers so takes Candidate A instead.

    As I said in my previous post, I agree with you that colleges pick those candidates they believe to be best, but I don't believe that the discrepancies are sufficiently big to influence the league tables to that degree.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)


    Bang. There's your point right there. It's perfectly possible for two candidates to be near equal because there are so many things to consider - and tutors will place preference on different things. Candidate A may be no better than Candidate B, who is harder working and will ultimately achieve better because they will live in the library for 3 years, but Tutor @ College X likes raw talent bright sparks, rather than slow plodding hard workers so takes Candidate A instead.

    As I said in my previous post, I agree with you that colleges pick those candidates they believe to be best, but I don't believe that the discrepancies are sufficiently big to influence the league tables to that degree.
    Really don't mean to bother everyone with this - just to clarify:

    1) those colleges that pool most candidates manage to convice other colleges of the quality of their applicants; or probably better, they send their applicants on to other colleges, and there these applicants convince the tutors that they are more worthy a place than those originally applied to that college.

    2) You have admitted that colleges will choose candidates they think are best; so if, say, Magdalen choose three and pools one to St. Edmunds Hall, than Magdalen think that there three are better than the one they pooled, and St. Edmunds Hall thinks the one Magdalen did not want is better than anybody who applied directly to St. Edmunds. I don't think that you would suggest that tutors are on average wrong (ie, the candidates a college takes tend to be the better ones); and whilst you say that tutors may be interested in talent and spark (rather than exam scores), these are the factors they are looking for in the interview, and this is why interview are done; how hard somebody is working is indeed subject to change as time passes. Therefore, the candidates taken by colleges pooling many candidates are rather the ones that have talent and spark, and colleges ensure hard work by pushing their students.

    3) You're saying that all that does not matter inasmuch as to to affect league tables; yet curiously, the colleges pooling most candidates are at the top (and if other candidates take from their pool, the candidates they not pool are even stronger). Now, it is true that those colleges are also well-equipped with resources and are known for being tough/pushing/whatever. But quite a number of people say that there are differences in entry standards, which very much fits with both their league table standing and their successful pooling. Imagining a hypothetical situation in which teaching standards were identical amongst colleges, it may reasonably be questioned that differences between colleges would all vanish. Of course you can say "yes they would" - there's no ooportunity to prove it statistically. I suggest that teaching standards reinforce entry standards. The differences are small, but some colleges do appear always at the top, and others always at the bottom. And the differences are enough to ensure that these results occur again, and again.
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    (Original post by Sternau)
    Okay, but how many people are of the same quality? I doubt that you'll find many. And even if - how likely is it that tutors like both candidates equally well? Even admissions tutors say that this plays a part also. You may have your evidence, and your opinion, but I just don't believe it. They can pool candidates only after everybody has been interviewed, and then they pool the ones they think are good enough but don't want to take. Btw, if you look at the numbers of which colleges pool the most, it's Merton, Balliol, Magdalen (I think there have been years where each successfully pooled a third of their own successful applicants). There might be more than just the obvious explanation for it; but to suggest that pooled candidates are of the same quality simply does not face realities. Neither, of course, would it be realistic to say that pooled candidates cannot be equal or better than straight acceptances: for example, I know of two E&Mists pooled by Merton who both got distrinctions, whilst neither of the people who got accepted straight did. Looking at the league table, however, Merton clearly does better than the colleges that both people were pooled to. So there are exceptions, but on average the colleges get it right.
    Where is there data on this?
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    (Original post by Sternau)
    2) and whilst you say that tutors may be interested in talent and spark (rather than exam scores), these are the factors they are looking for in the interview, and this is why interview are done; how hard somebody is working is indeed subject to change as time passes. Therefore, the candidates taken by colleges pooling many candidates are rather the ones that have talent and spark, and colleges ensure hard work by pushing their students.
    I gave it as an example of how two candidates could excel in different ways. I never said that that was how it worked, just that ONE TUTOR might think of things in that manner. Tutors have preferences for different things, and therefore two candidates who are equal may be viewed as not equal. So your point is null and void as retaliation.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    I gave it as an example of how two candidates could excel in different ways. I never said that that was how it worked, just that ONE TUTOR might think of things in that manner. Tutors have preferences for different things, and therefore two candidates who are equal may be viewed as not equal. So your point is null and void as retaliation.
    Come on... "null and void"... Just read through the criteria for admission; it's not hard work they're looking for, it's talent, enthusiasm, independent thinking, problem-solving etc. There is your "spark" and "talent". Every college is looking for similar things, that was my point, and it is not "null and void". There are binding criteria for admission given out by the university. Btw, it was never intended as "retaliation". I'm making my case, and your arguments: "I dispute that", "I never said they were all equal but", and "I certainly know of a case" actually do little to support whatever view you're taking. And whilst every tutor is different, academic study and abilities needed are very much alike, and objectivity is employed in determining quality differences.

    I got the numbers from a student, which showed Balliol on top, Merton following and Magdalen third; I believe they were in a thread somewhere also, I'll try to find out...

    Edit: Source Merton Admissions Tutor, Order is Magdalen, Merton, Balliol, numbers com from E&M student at Merton. Sorry, cannot give you a link or official stats.
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    (Original post by RichE)
    Where is there data on this?


    Well it's obvious, innit?



    You can add St John's as well - they accept 120 and 60 get in to other colleges pooled. (Data used to be on their website but I know it anyway)
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    (Original post by Sternau)
    Come on... "null and void"...
    That's some very selective quoting you're doing there. I said null and void for retaliation purposes. You can't counter something I've said by setting up a straw man. Oh look you just did it again. :rolleyes:

    It was a simple dichotomy that I drew. I could have just as easily said that one tutor gave questions on Organic chemistry, and another on inorganic, and that therefore candidates with preferences for those sides might be better equipped to answer their questions and come off looking better in the interview. Let me spell this out for you, since you seem to be having difficulty with it.

    I did not say that hard work would be chosen over a "spark"; I merely stated that different tutors might favour different candidates due to personal preferences: be that what they are looking for, or the questions they ask.

    Btw, it was never intended as "retaliation".
    Then why quote me?

    I'm making my case, and your arguments: "I dispute that", "I never said they were all equal but", and "I certainly know of a case" actually do little to support whatever view you're taking. And whilst every tutor is different, academic study and abilities needed are very much alike, and objectivity is employed in determining quality differences.
    *shrugs* You're arguing that tutors have no personal preference. I think you're wrong, since they get to set their own questions and they're not all the same. Therefore some candidates will be better favoured at different interviews. That's pretty logical if you ask me. And I don't see why me knowing of a case is not relevant. The biology tutor at St. Hugh's quite freely told parents all through the open day that this was the case; that a candidate might be pooled if they were of sufficient quality but the last to be interviewed. I think that is very relevant.

    Edit: Source Merton Admissions Tutor, Order is Magdalen, Merton, Balliol, numbers com from E&M student at Merton. Sorry, cannot give you a link or official stats.
    E&M being one of the few documented cases where teaching is very different at Merton, and therefore there is a definite difference in applications. It's not going to be the same across the board.
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    You're saying that there are differences in quality, but play them down with tutors’ preferences; then you argue that, although the quality of accepted candidates may be different on average, it does not affect results. So you say that if the same bunch of applicants were presented to a different set of tutors, admissions would be very much different?!? And college results are entirely dependent on teaching/college pushing? Or are you even arguing that colleges at the top choose the hardworking applicants, and select not by “spark-and-talent”? All I said was that I consider it very unlikely that the quality of admitted students has nothing to do with league table positions. There are other factors, there are exceptions, as usual, but since the table is the aggregate of all, it does reflect the average rather than exceptions.

    Btw., pool stats are for all subjects; I got it from an E&M student

    EDIT: sorry for any misunderstandings: I have the information (indirectly from Merton admissions tutor) that Magdalen, Merton, Balliol pool most students, in this order. So not really a statistic...
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    (Original post by Sternau)
    Btw., pool stats are for all subjects; I got it from an E&M student
    Care to share these stats, because I don't think I've ever seen them?
 
 
 
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