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    Hi!

    I've been thinking about applying to Oxford (might as well give it a go) and have come across their page on how they use Contextual Data, here: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/unde...al-data?wssl=1.

    Now, further down it says:

    "Where an applicant is predicted to achieve the grades, and in certain cases subject (s) required to meet the standard conditional offer for a place at Oxford and performs to an appropriate standard in any required pre-interview admissions test, a candidate will be strongly recommended for interview if

    - They have received a contextual flag for at least one prior education measure
    and
    - They have received a contextual flag for at least one postcode measure "

    This is probably a stupid question as the answer, I suppose, is pretty much right in front of my eyes, but is it that a candidate must receive flags for BOTH prior education AND postcode in order for an interview to be strongly recommended?

    The reason I ask is because I attended a pretty awful high school in which the GCSE results were way below average (and still managed to come out with reasonable grades). But! I live in a much more affluent area than the place I went to school, and it definitely wouldn't trigger a "flag".

    I think this is just wishful thinking on my part, and I probably would have to trigger both of them.. but could anyone clarify this for me just so I know for sure? It seems kinda unfair that even though my school massively under-performed on average, something as seemingly educationally-unimportant as where I grew up could completely negate this fact.

    Thanksss in advanceee
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    Have you read Alan Rusbridger's description of the short-listing and selection process? If not, here it is.

    From my reading, it seems the flag system, although it is codified and aims to be applied equitably, is not a rigid, mechanical algorithm. As the guidance you quote states, flags don't guarantee interview; they form part of a broader discussion.

    I'd only add that it seems perfectly reasonable to include both school performance and postcode of residence in assigning flags. Within the same school, there is a consistent difference in performance between children from affluent and well-connected households (who are likely to have access to lots of books, private tutoring, high academic aspirations and a familiarity with the way professional and academic networks work) and those from less well connected, working class families. Postcode is an (admittedly crude) attempt to take this into account.
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    (Original post by OxFossil)
    Have you read Alan Rusbridger's description of the short-listing and selection process? If not, here it is.

    From my reading, it seems the flag system, although it is codified and aims to be applied equitably, is not a rigid, mechanical algorithm. As the guidance you quote states, flags don't guarantee interview; they form part of a broader discussion.

    I'd only add that it seems perfectly reasonable to include both school performance and postcode of residence in assigning flags. Within the same school, there is a consistent difference in performance between children from affluent and well-connected households (who are likely to have access to lots of books, private tutoring, high academic aspirations and a familiarity with the way professional and academic networks work) and those from less well connected, working class families. Postcode is an (admittedly crude) attempt to take this into account.
    Thank you so much for that! I hadn't come across that article before - its depth is brilliant so thanks for sharing.

    Do you agree I'd be right in assuming that ALL flags, therefore, ARE taken into consideration throughout the student-picking process, but only those students that happen to have a flag for BOTH school AND postcode trigger an extra 'notification' that an interview is a strong recommendation?

    I agree, I suppose residential area is linked to a lot of other benefits too. I never got any extra books or tutoring or even parents who had been to university, but I'm one person out of many and as a whole I'm sure it does give a fairer respresentation - plus I'd hate to think anything would be taken away from those who needed the extra consideration the most.
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    (Original post by Egooo)
    I hadn't come across that article before...

    Do you agree I'd be right in assuming that ALL flags, therefore, ARE taken into consideration throughout the student-picking process, but only those students that happen to have a flag for BOTH school AND postcode trigger an extra 'notification' that an interview is a strong recommendation?
    ... I'd hate to think anything would be taken away from those who needed the extra consideration the most.
    Yes, it's a good article for demystifying the process somewhat. Unfortunately, I have no more inside information than that, so how precise and how prescriptive the guidance around flagging is, I don't know. A lucky Google search or else a FOI request might locate more information, but I wouldn't bank on it.

    Postcode flagging is horribly crude; I guess the trouble is that developing anything more precise - parental occupation, income etc - becomes increasingly intrusive without eliminating the exceptions. The Ox Uni Agreement with the Office for Fair Access discusses this in more detail if you are keen to get wonkish about it!
 
 
 
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