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Oxbridge = Inaccessible to most students? Watch

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    In a working environment, evidence suggests that interviews are the least likely predictor of future performance. There can actually be a negative correlation between interviews and performance on the job. I wonder if Oxbridge interviews have the same issue.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Evidence?

    No single thing, including a "less than good" interview, will be "fatal" to an application, if the rest of the application is strong.

    On the basis of one applicant in a FOI request to a single college you have drawn a conclusion that your evidence simply doesn't support. You don't know how well that applicant did in the HAA. You don't know how well that applicant did with written work. You don't know if the other candidate with "mediocre achievement" in GCSEs also went on to achieve AAAA in their AS-levels, etc, etc.
    It's not just one applicant, if you look at the FOI request, there are several others with excellent grades (both achieved and predicted) which were turned down in favour of candidate with worse achieved AND predicted grades. Such grades would reasonably presuppose a comparatively better performance in written work and the HAA. So we are only left with interview for which there is no record according to this FOI request.

    Given the demand for places at Oxbridge and to ensure absolute fairness, all records (including recordings of interviews) should be kept and decisions documented with reference to them. This information should then be independently audited to ensure fairness in the decision making process. If this were done already, then David Lammy's (and my) mind could be put at rest.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Did the figure include or exclude London for the 'South East' I wonder? The official government region of the South East of England does not include Greater London.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_East_England

    The population of that region (2011 figure) is given there as 8.635m. The population of Wales (2011) is given as 3.063m. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wales)

    Therefore on those approximate figures, the average entry for Wales is 0.0303 per million gross population and for the South East official region, 0.012 - apparently Wales does almost three times better than the South East! Back to school for you Stephen Kinnock. Or at least, back to the school of cheap political point revisions. :teehee:

    If the 672 figure includes London and the South East, then the picture is a more even ~0.02 per million, but still heavily biased to Wales.
    Although you'd really need to look at the figures for the population of 18 year olds in those regions to get a fairer stat.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Well, he has. He clearly doesn't understand statistics at all. The report says:

    Stephen Kinnock was reacting to figures which showed 101 pupils from Wales were offered places at Oxford in 2016 compared to 672 from the south east.

    Just how many from Wales should have been offered? The population of Wales is about three million. The population of the South-east is about eighteen million (and that excludes Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and southern East Anglia, right next door to Cambridge, just because I couldn't be bothered to check their populations.

    The figures look pretty comparable to me, even on a population basis and that is without taking account of distance. If anything, Wales is over-represented.
    I think you need to look at separating the South East from the London statistics.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Although you'd really need to look at the figures for the population of 18 year olds in those regions to get a fairer stat.
    True, but I am gripped by doubt that Kinnock meant that. :rolleyes:

    There's so much nonsense flies around on this subject that the reality of how class and privilege interacts with the educational system gets obscured by idiocy.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    You've already been asked for a citation for this, but yeah, outside of the Royals (and believe me, I think the likes of Edward being admitted is a huge freakin' embarrassment to Oxbridge) I'm not aware of this happening.
    Hope you don't get me into trouble with Doonesbury for posting this FOI information again(sorry Doonesbury ) regarding History at Christ's Cambridge but it's essential to show you that it does happen (source: WhatDoTheyKnow). I am completely shocked.

    I am replying to your FOI request of 20 October 2016. The information you
    requested is shown in the table below. We do not hold interview scores
    and are therefore unable to provide this information
    .


    +------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    | No of A* |Predicted | |Application | | |
    | GCSE |grades |Av UMS|Status | |Pool Outcome |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 11 |IB = 45 | |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 11 | |89.67 |Reject | | |

    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 10 |IB = 44 | |Reject |Pooled|No Offer |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 10 |IB = 45 | |Offer | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 10 | | |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 10 | | |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 10 | |93.25 |Offer |Pooled|Other College|
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 9 | | |Offer | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 9 | |87.42 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 9 | |86.00 |Reject |Pooled|No Offer |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 9 | |83.71 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 8 | |91.88 |Reject |Pooled|No Offer |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 8 | |87.13 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 5 | |92.00 |Offer | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 5 | |85.96 |Offer | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 4 | |78.88 |Offer | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 4 | |78.63 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 3 | | |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 3 | |87.31 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 3 | |86.69 |Offer | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 2 | |87.38 |Offer | | |

    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 2 | |87.00 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 2 | |79.38 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 1 | |86.25 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 1 | |82.50 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | 0 | |77.50 |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | |IB = 43 | |Reject | | |
    |----------+---------------+------+-----------------+------+-------------|
    | |Other = 100/100| |Reject | | |
    +------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    It's not just one applicant, if you look at the FOI request, there are several others with excellent grades (both achieved and predicted) which were turned down in favour of candidate with worse achieved AND predicted grades. Such grades would reasonably presuppose a comparatively better performance in written work and the HAA. So we are only left with interview for which there is no record according to this FOI request.
    The only achieved grades on that FOI were GCSEs which are not important, AS-levels are more important. Predicted grades are only relatively important if they are below the typical offer. And frankly you are not right to make those assumptions about HAA or all the other elements that are holistically considered in an application.

    Also, if, in the course of two interviews by 4 interviewers a candidate comes across as below par then for sure questions will be raised about their suitability for Cambridge. It's not that it's more important per se, but it's yet another source of useful information for the DoS/AT to consider.
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    Given the demand for places at Oxbridge and to ensure absolute fairness, all records (including recordings of interviews) should be kept and decisions documented with reference to them. This information should then be independently audited to ensure fairness in the decision making process. If this were done already, then David Lammy's (and my) mind could be put at rest.
    There probably needs to be an Ombudsman for university places and video recording of all interviews. Applicants signing a waiver that the Ombudsman can review them in the event of a complaint. The Ombudsman would rule on contentious cases and also monitor the overall performance of universities and colleges at widening participation and fine the transgressors.
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    I do agree with you.
    :five:
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    In a working environment, evidence suggests that interviews are the least likely predictor of future performance. There can actually be a negative correlation between interviews and performance on the job. I wonder if Oxbridge interviews have the same issue.
    Oxbridge interviews are used more to see how you would cope with supervision-style teaching: if you can't cope with how they teach you aren't going to do well
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    There probably needs to be an Ombudsman for university places and video recording of all interviews. Applicants signing a waiver that the Ombudsman can review them in the event of a complaint. The Ombudsman would rule on contentious cases and also monitor the overall performance of universities and colleges at widening participation and fine the transgressors.
    Maybe, but the decision would come too late for the applicant if they have been treated unfairly.

    I think there should be a permanent auditor monitoring admission decisions at random to ensure fairness.

    There is always going to be suspicion and resentment when something of great value is being offered (eg Oxbridge place) and decisions on allocation are being taken behind closed doors by people who do not have to justify their decision (to an independent witness).
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    (Original post by ImprobableCacti)
    Oxbridge interviews are used more to see how you would cope with supervision-style teaching: if you can't cope with how they teach you aren't going to do well
    Doesn’t sound any different to a work environment interview. Any interview is prone to flaw and biases, and evidence time and time again shows they are one of the worst ways to select people. Certain measures can be put in place (multiple interviewers/interviews; assessor training; using other evidence or assessments to support decisions) to reduce those risks.
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    something of great value is being offered (eg Oxbridge place)
    So this is the other part of this discussion that hasn't been addressed. You are saying effectively that it's Oxbridge or bust for applicants. This is rubbish.

    Oxbridge is one of your 5 choices. An Oxbridge calibre applicant, if unsuccessful, can go on to be hugely successful wherever they go.

    And if you reply saying the Oxbridge brand is needed to secure a good career then that is also rubbish.

    Don't make me post up Exhibit 54...

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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    There is always going to be suspicion and resentment when something of great value is being offered (eg Oxbridge place) and decisions on allocation are being taken behind closed doors by people who do not have to justify their decision (to an independent witness).
    The traditional position of the colleges is that essentially it's their business and theirs alone, that they alone can determine the ability of candidates to match the highest academic standards and that they alone can constitute the college body. I think all of these positions lack viability. They are not fully private institutions but the public (rightly) suspect they behave as if they were.

    In any event, the extent of public concern over recruitment practises generally across all fields means that there are no longer 'private' and 'public' domains when it comes to this kind of selection process.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Certain measures can be put in place (multiple interviewers/interviews; assessor training; using other evidence or assessments to support decisions) to reduce those risks.
    They have all of those.

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    (Original post by ImprobableCacti)
    Oxbridge interviews are used more to see how you would cope with supervision-style teaching: if you can't cope with how they teach you aren't going to do well
    The problem is that an interview is completely different from a supervision.

    In a supervision, a good student might say something like: "OK, out of the 8 questions you set, I know how to do 6 of them, I kind of got the answer to 7 but I think my reasoning is questionable, and I really didn't understand question 8". In an interview, you'd do your damnedest to make sure you only talked about questions 1-6 until you ran out of time!

    [In fact, I suspect someone taking the good student approach might actually go down quite well in an interview, but they'd need to be both good and extremely brave].
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    So this is the other part of this discussion that hasn't been addressed. You are saying effectively that it's Oxbridge or bust for applicants. This is rubbish.


    Don't make me post up Exhibit 54...

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    No I'm not. I haven't mentioned the value of other universities at all.

    The value of other universities does not impact on the value of an Oxbridge place. And an Oxbridge place is more valuable because of its reputation; the significantly better resources;the benefits of the supervision/tutorial system and not to forget some of the cheapest student accommodation in the UK.

    If Lammy, had any sense, he should be jumping up and down about the lack of scrutiny for admission decisions; and the lack of evidence on record to allow that scrutiny to properly take place.

    You say your raison d'etre is to encourage university applications especially Oxbridge applications: it would encourage people enormously if the admission system for Oxbridge could be made wide-open to scrutiny and be seen to be fairer to all.
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    No I'm not. I haven't mentioned the value of other universities at all.

    The value of other universities does not impact on the value of an Oxbridge place. And an Oxbridge place is more valuable because of its reputation; the significantly better resources;the benefits of the supervision/tutorial system and not to forget some of the cheapest student accommodation in the UK.

    If Lammy, had any sense, he should be jumping up and down about the lack of scrutiny for admission decisions; and the lack of evidence on record to allow that scrutiny to properly take place.

    You say your raison d'etre is to encourage university applications especially Oxbridge applications: it would encourage people enormously if the admission system for Oxbridge could be made wide-open to scrutiny and be seen to be fairer to all.
    You said Oxbridge has "great value" clearly implying other universities don't.

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    (Original post by ImprobableCacti)
    Oxbridge interviews are used more to see how you would cope with supervision-style teaching: if you can't cope with how they teach you aren't going to do well
    But you get successful applicants saying how they burst into tears and so forth. So I don't see it. For example this student gained a place at Cambridge two years ago:

    " I thought my admissions interviews had gone badly. In the first one I was asked about something in my personal statement and I went blank. I said “Oh, I’m so silly”, and there was a 20-second silence. The second interview started with tears streaming down my face. It went better as I was able to ‘moderately banter’ with the interviewers. But I accidentally implied they were old — which they weren’t. I took the train home convinced that I’d failed."
    'This Cambridge Life'

    And the interviewers did well to see through the nerves as this student ended up achieving an incredible 5 A levels with 2 at A*!
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    But you get successful applicants saying how they burst into tears and so forth. So I don't see it. For example this student gained a place at Cambridge two years ago:

    " I thought my admissions interviews had gone badly. In the first one I was asked about something in my personal statement and I went blank. I said “Oh, I’m so silly”, and there was a 20-second silence. The second interview started with tears streaming down my face. It went better as I was able to ‘moderately banter’ with the interviewers. But I accidentally implied they were old — which they weren’t. I took the train home convinced that I’d failed."

    Tara Khalid 'This Cambridge Life'
    Yup, interviewees are terrible at judging how well their interview went. The interviewers will have seen beyond the tears (and often extreme shyness) to find the potential.
 
 
 
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