Turn on thread page Beta

Oxbridge = Inaccessible to most students? watch

Announcements
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by black1blade)
    You need at least 1A* for every cambridge degree and even if you are an A* student there is still a lot of disparity between the highest and lowest A* candidates. Someone who needs to be tutored to go from B to A isn't going to be suitable for oxbridge. Honestly the grades aren't really the problem it's just that being in a state school, the teachers are going to be mostly focus on the pupils doing less well and once you are into the A/A* territory they just try to keep you at that level. On the other hand at private schools, there will be entire classes of people of that level so they can stretch people beyond the a-level syllabus so that they become better problem solvers. Also for humanities, class discussions are more likely to be of a higher level.
    That said yeah I definitely agree it is hard to study in certain circumstances. I got my own room a few months before sitting gcse but it was a bit of nightmare trying to revise and do my homework in a bedroom I shared with 2 brothers XD.
    It was an example, I could have used C to B to illustrate my point. Also alot of academic grades are is just about practise its not all innate



    there have been academic studies into how background affects your ability to get ahead in life
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hannah00)
    It was an example, I could have used C to B to illustrate my point. Also alot of academic grades are is just about practise its not all innate



    there have been academic studies into how background affects your ability to get ahead in life
    Oh yeah of course it definitely does and I agree more should be done to increase the quality of secondary teaching. Do you think bringing back grammar schools would actually be a good move as it would allow smart kids in poorer areas to have an environment more conducive the learning?
    • Section Leader
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    (Original post by ImprobableCacti)
    Naa, our crazy librarian wouldn't allow that

    She sends us update emails every day (that we can't block) about library closures, this morning she sent us both a PowerPoint and extra PDF (40 slides) detailing the rules of the library xD.

    Rumour has it she is hidden up in the library after it was found that no one in the main office could stand her
    Ook.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by J-SP)
    Well they win in lots of other areas, so maybe they aren’t worried about winning this particular battle.
    Have you read the article Doonesbury posted above?

    As long as people like some politicians and campaigners with their own agenda blame Oxbridge and other top universities for everything without looking at what really really causing the problem, things will never get better.

    I can say this because I’m originally from another country. UK has some of the best universities in the world, better standard of primary and secondary education is quite poor. Yes there are many primay/secondary schools that’s really good but they are a small minority rather than a norm. Yes, there are good schools and just OK school in my country, too, but difference between good schools and not-good schools is so huge here.....

    I know several teachers in real life who, though they’re perfectly nice people outside school, I really don’t want my child to be educated by.
    Also it’s always astonished me how some parents aren’t bothered with their own children’s education.

    When I first came to UK many years ago, I noticed this and it frightened me as it’s quite obvious what kind of school your child’s been to can affect so much what kind of university they can enter.
    And because the standard of primary/secondary education (esp.quality of teachers) is something you can’t take for granted, parents have to be very conscious of what school they send their kids to.

    These are the real problem not only for participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at top universities but also for many other social issues.
    And there isn’t much universities (whether Oxbridge or not) can do something about it. Their primay purpose of existence is university education and as a frontier of research in their academic fields, not sorting out the problem that exist even before students think of applying to universities.

    Unless everyone (esp. those with their own agenda) truly sees this and tackle where the problem really is, things will not improve much.
    And the first thing it has to be changed is the mindset of people who always blame other people (inc. institutions/organisations) for everything and not doing what they can and should be doing themselves.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vincrows)
    Have you read the article Doonesbury posted above?

    As long as people like some politicians and campaigners with their own agenda blame Oxbridge and other top universities for everything without looking at what really really causing the problem, things will never get better.

    I can say this because I’m originally from another country. UK has some of the best universities in the world, better standard of primary and secondary education is quite poor. Yes there are many primay/secondary schools that’s really good but they are a small minority rather than a norm. Yes, there are good schools and just OK school in my country, too, but difference between good schools and not-good schools is so huge here.....

    I know several teachers in real life who, though they’re perfectly nice people outside school, I really don’t want my child to be educated by.
    Also it’s always astonished me how some parents aren’t bothered with their own children’s education.

    When I first came to UK many years ago, I noticed this and it frightened me as it’s quite obvious what kind of school your child’s been to can affect so much what kind of university they can enter.
    And because the standard of primary/secondary education (esp.quality of teachers) is something you can’t take for granted, parents have to be very conscious of what school they send their kids to.

    These are the real problem not only for participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at top universities but also for many other social issues.
    And there isn’t much universities (whether Oxbridge or not) can do something about it. Their primay purpose of existence is university education and as a frontier of research in their academic fields, not sorting out the problem that exist even before students think of applying to universities.

    Unless everyone (esp. those with their own agenda) truly sees this and tackle where the problem really is, things will not improve much.
    And the first thing it has to be changed is the mindset of people who always blame other people (inc. institutions/organisations) for everything and not doing what they can and should be doing themselves.
    Yes, I did read the article. I don’t see what that has to do with my post you have replied to, maybe you have misconstrued it.

    I will say it again. Oxford/Oxbridge are not fully to blame. But they are part of the systematic problem, and their whole ethos of academic excellence and prestige creates resistance against diversity. But that is because the way in which everything has been designed over hundreds of years by wealthy rich white men, including measures of what academic excellence is - Oxford would not exist without those people, and wouldn’t have its continued reputation or be as well funded now without those people. Those people have their own agendas as much as Lammy does.

    I fully support the point that we need to do better across the whole society. I work in the diversity sphere so have been doing what I can to try and change things, especially in terms of universities and early careers. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t highlight where things aren’t working or where there are still problems though, and Oxford/Oxbridge, given their stats, has a problem and they are at the extreme end of that problem. They need to take some responsibility for that problem, and although they continue to do a lot to try and improve the situation, clearly it isn’t working as well as it should be.

    If you take the argument that it isn’t up to universities to try and help this issue, then none of them would do all the very important access initiatives that are needed. Not placing any responsibility on them is as crazy as putting all the responsibility on them.
    Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by J-SP)
    Yes, I did read the article. I don’t see what that has to do with my post you have replied to, maybe you have misconstrued it.

    I will say it again. Oxford/Oxbridge are not fully to blame. But they are part of the systematic problem, and their whole ethos of academic excellence and prestige creates resistance against diversity. But that is because the way in which everything has been designed over hundreds of years by wealthy rich white men, including measures of what academic excellence is - Oxford would not exist without those people, and wouldn’t have its continued reputation or be as well funded now without those people. Those people have their own agendas as much as Lammy does.

    I fully support the point that we need to do better across the whole society. I work in the diversity sphere so have been doing what I can to try and change things, especially in terms of universities and early careers. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t highlight where things aren’t working or where there are still problems though, and Oxford/Oxbridge, given their stats, has a problem and they are at the extreme end of that problem. They need to take some responsibility for that problem, and although they continue to do a lot to try and improve the situation, clearly it isn’t working as well as it should be.

    If you take the argument that it isn’t up to universities to try and help this issue, then none of them would do all the very important access initiatives that are needed. Not placing any responsibility on them is as crazy as putting all the responsibility on them.
    I’m not saying it’s not up to universities at all. I’m saying you can’t keep on blaming them for the problem when there’s a limit they can do.
    They can and should be a part of the solution. But a role they can play in it is not big when the real issues lie somewhere else.

    Name of Oxbridge does easily draw attentions from people and media. Keeping on blaming them repeats for the issue like this would only people’s real understanding of what really should be tackled as it’s much easier to criticise them.

    Anyway.....
    I’m not continuing this discussion with you anymore as you seem to be set to blame them whatever or how much they do.
    And it’s a mindset of people like you that’s a part of the problem too. The famous blame-culture....,..
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vincrows)
    I’m not saying it’s not up to universities at all. I’m saying you can’t keep on blaming them for the problem when there’s a limit they can do.
    They can and should be a part of the solution. But a role they can play in it is not big when the real issues lie somewhere else.

    Name of Oxbridge does easily draw attentions from people and media. Keeping on blaming them repeats for the issue like this would only people’s real understanding of what really should be tackled as it’s much easier to criticise them.

    Anyway.....
    I’m not continuing this discussion with you anymore as you seem to be set to blame them whatever or how much they do.
    And it’s a mindset of people like you that’s a part of the problem too. The famous blame-culture....,..
    This is getting tiresome.

    I’m not blaming them and even if I was I wouldn’t “whatever or how much they do”.

    And you are blaming me for blaming them. Hypocrisy much?
    Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    I am going to through a few thoughts into the mix, some of which are inconsistent with each other.

    As overall numbers of students have risen, student mobility has fallen. More students are studying close to home. There are several financial and social drivers for this. The old student grant system punished students who were within commuting distance of university by only finding them to live at home. The Scottish funding system favours Scots studying in Scotland. The relative cost of student public transport has risen. This is quite complex but once upon a time student railcards had a 50% discount and return train tickets were valid for 3 months, not one. A greater proportion of students have an expectation of "Dad's taxi" at the start and end of term. That places a constraint on reasonable expectations. Mobile phones/social media mean keeping up with school friends in university terms is realistic which impacts on how physically distant one is willing to be from them. It is unclear to what extent this impacts on Oxbridge but there is a clear geographical bias between Oxford and Cambridge as to where they recruit within the south.

    Oxford has been throwing considerable sums on outreach since the 1970s but with not much discernible effect. Oxford's proportion of state school pupils peaked in 1982 and probably only got back there in 2016

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8579807.stm
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-37250916

    In 1964 Oxford's male colleges were taking 37% of admissions from state schools plus an unknown number of free pupils from direct grant schools (direct grant schools had to take at least 25% free state funded places but many took much more). More direct grant school pupils went to university than children from any other type of school. In 1968 direct grant Manchester Grammar sent 38% of its pupils to university when nationwide only 8% of 18 year olds went into higher education (including polytechnics) . Only one other school exceeded this proportion; Winchester.

    By 1970 Oxford had 11,000 undergraduates. Over the preceding 50 years, it had grown by 150%. In the next 47 years it has grown to
    11,728 undergraduates which is almost entirely the result of more 4 year courses in science. Each year there were in 1970 (ie after the huge explosion in the number of universities in the 1960s) just over 50,000 university graduates a year. In other words Oxford alone was producing around 7% of all graduates (and a significantly higher proportion of male university graduates).

    What has actually happened in that period has been an enormous growth in post-graduate places. How many British working class kids do non-vocational higher degrees anywhere? That has had a huge impact on the poshification of Oxford.
    • Community Assistant
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    Community Assistant
    My dad really benefited from the northern grammar-university trajectory of the late 1960s-1970s. This system certainly doesn't exist in the same way any more and the landscape of education has changed a lot due to a number of factors. I don't think it's the fault of one university in particular (although unis can always do more) but rather the deep seated inequality in education in the UK which continues to persist despite efforts.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by J-SP)
    If you take the argument that it isn’t up to universities to try and help this issue, then none of them would do all the very important access initiatives that are needed. Not placing any responsibility on them is as crazy as putting all the responsibility on them.
    A document I found that's useful to the discussion is this one on admissions from Oxford:

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/ww...stics_2013.pdf

    [Disclaimer: this is my words not theirs, but I'd say the subtext of the document is to a large extent "here's why inequality in admissions is not our fault"].

    But a couple of relevant figures:

    Of the nearly 31,000 white students who got three As or better at A-level [...] around 21% applied to Oxford. [...]

    529 Black students got three As or better at A level and applied to university through UCAS, and 18% of them applied to Oxford.
    So it actually looks as if the proportion of black applicants is roughly what you'd expect given that AAA is a realistic minimum requirement. (In fact, people only achieving AAA have about a 1 in 6 chance of getting in, with A*A*A* that rises to almost 1 in 2).

    I was actually surprised at this, but maybe outreach isn't a big a factor as people assume?
    • Section Leader
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    (Original post by DFranklin)
    A document I found that's useful to the discussion is this one on admissions from Oxford:

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/ww...stics_2013.pdf

    [Disclaimer: this is my words not theirs, but I'd say the subtext of the document is to a large extent "here's why inequality in admissions is not our fault"].

    But a couple of relevant figures:



    So it actually looks as if the proportion of black applicants is roughly what you'd expect given that AAA is a realistic minimum requirement. (In fact, people only achieving AAA have about a 1 in 6 chance of getting in, with A*A*A* that rises to almost 1 in 2).

    I was actually surprised at this, but maybe outreach isn't a big a factor as people assume?
    I think Outreach is possibly more about POLAR than BME. I can't see if there's an analysis showing Polar 1 & 2 being relatively under-represented in that file but there's also the issue that those groups are less likely to get the AAA+ in the first place.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by DFranklin)
    A document I found that's useful to the discussion is this one on admissions from Oxford:

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/ww...stics_2013.pdf

    [Disclaimer: this is my words not theirs, but I'd say the subtext of the document is to a large extent "here's why inequality in admissions is not our fault"].

    But a couple of relevant figures:



    So it actually looks as if the proportion of black applicants is roughly what you'd expect given that AAA is a realistic minimum requirement. (In fact, people only achieving AAA have about a 1 in 6 chance of getting in, with A*A*A* that rises to almost 1 in 2).

    I was actually surprised at this, but maybe outreach isn't a big a factor as people assume?
    And yet the applicants don't turn into the same level of offers or accepted offers at that same rate looking at the stats Doonsbury provided earlier (although that was only for a small group of subjects).

    Controversial question maybe, but do Oxbridge need to really rely so heavily on AAA (or A*A*A* given what you have said above) to decide who gets a place? And if so, does that really mean they are using contextualised admissions processes, or if so are they using them effectively.

    But the issue here is not necessarily on of race (although Lammy does reference it), it is one of socio-economic background.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by J-SP)
    And yet the applicants don't turn into the same level of offers or accepted offers at that same rate looking at the stats Doonsbury provided
    No, it's not the *same* rate. But it's close. As I said before, you look at the overall picture, and 80% of the issue is the lack of AAA grades, and maybe 20% is acceptance rates. You keep harpiing on about the 20% difference (*), but even if fixed there would still be a massive discrepancy due to how few black students come out of our education system with AAA.

    Controversial question maybe, but do Oxbridge need to really rely so heavily on AAA (or A*A*A* given what you have said above) to decide who gets a place? And if so, does that really mean they are using contextualised admissions processes, or if so are they using them effectively.
    Contextualised admissions doesn't mean "anyone can get in, whatever their exam results". Being controversial in my own right, what people outside the process tend not to realise is that by Oxbridge standards, AAA is a really low bar. The fact of the matter is that if you can only get AAA, you're unlikely to be made an offer. But it's the contextualised admissions process that means that "you still get looked at even if your likely A-level grades are AAA, in case we think we see some potential that A-levels are missing".

    But the issue here is not necessarily on of race (although Lammy does reference it), it is one of socio-economic background.
    I think the race issue is the emotive one (and I also think, as I posted elsewhere, that if you come from/work in London, it's the slightly shocking one when you visit an Oxbridge college. Although again, in reality that's at least as much to do with London being an outlier than Oxbridge].

    (*) There are also statistical reasons to say that much, if not all of that 20% is either due to subject choice and scores within subjects. But you've kind of indicated you don't want in depth stats discussion, so I'm ignoring that for now.
    • Section Leader
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    (Original post by J-SP)
    And yet the applicants don't turn into the same level of offers or accepted offers at that same rate looking at the stats Doonsbury provided earlier (although that was only for a small group of subjects).

    Controversial question maybe, but do Oxbridge need to really rely so heavily on AAA (or A*A*A* given what you have said above) to decide who gets a place? And if so, does that really mean they are using contextualised admissions processes, or if so are they using them effectively.

    But the issue here is not necessarily on of race (although Lammy does reference it), it is one of socio-economic background.
    See my post immediately prior to yours

    But yes A*s at A-level are a good predictor of Tripos (Cambridge degree) success
    https://www.cao.cam.ac.uk/sites/www....erformance.pdf

    I guess it's not surprising given the academic nature of an Oxbridge course.

    And note: "Equally well qualified students (in terms of A* grades achieved) from state and independent schools and colleges are equally likely to prosper in the first year of Tripos, i.e. there is no ‘sector gap’;"

    A POLAR sub-analysis of this data would be useful.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by J-SP)
    Controversial question maybe, but do Oxbridge need to really rely so heavily on AAA (or A*A*A* given what you have said above) to decide who gets a place?
    That is controversial only insofar as it nears no relationship to the Oxbridge selection process, which does not rely heavily on grades to be met but which looks at the candidates' ability (often using specific tests or more advanced exams like STEP), potential and fit to the teaching methods (via an interview grilling) with no great weight on getting grades at A-level. Other universities, by contrast, often give offers to anyone predicted to attain the entry requirement. At Oxbridge the published entry requirement is more of a box to be ticked, and is usually exceeded significantly.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Good bloke)
    That is controversial only insofar as it nears no relationship to the Oxbridge selection process, which does not rely heavily on grades to be met but which looks at the candidates' ability (often using specific tests or more advanced exams like STEP), potential and fit to the teaching methods (via an interview grilling) with no great weight on getting grades at A-level. Other universities, by contrast, often give offers to anyone predicted to attain the entry requirement. At Oxbridge the published entry requirement is more of a box to be ticked, and is usually exceeded significantly.
    Yeah it's because a large proportion of people who are predicted or have 1,2,3 or even 4 A*s apply for Oxbridge but there is still differences in ability between people who get those A*s.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by black1blade)
    Yeah it's because a large proportion of people who are predicted or have 1,2,3 or even 4 A*s apply for Oxbridge but there is still differences in ability between people who get those A*s.
    Quite. If I remember correctly, around 13% of all candidates achieve AAA or better, which means about 43,000 people every year may think they are qualified for Oxbridge entry. Even more will have been predicted those results (as predictions are notoriously over-optimistic).

    To describe getting AAA as indicating you are fit for an elite institution is stretching it, to say the least.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Quite. If I remember correctly, around 13% of all candidates achieve AAA or better, which means about 43,000 people every year may think they are qualified for Oxbridge entry. Even more will have been predicted those results (as predictions are notoriously over-optimistic).

    To describe getting AAA as indicating you are fit for an elite institution is stretching it, to say the least.
    Hmm yeah before you even start thinking about and debating about oxbridge admissions processes we should focus on having a higher quality education for all so people fron disadvantaged backgrounds can get those A*s. In Oxbridge's case, I understand why they don't normally offer below the standard offer although other unis do have access schemes that have decrased grade requirements for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
    Online

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by black1blade)
    Hmm yeah before you even start thinking about and debating about oxbridge admissions processes we should focus on having a higher quality education for all so people fron disadvantaged backgrounds can get those A*s. In Oxbridge's case, I understand why they don't normally offer below the standard offer although other unis do have access schemes that have decrased grade requirements for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
    Oxbridge really acts as a shorthand in the public debate for the concept of 'the better universities'. It's an easy target to accuse of unjustified privilege, etc, despite in some important ways being less privileged in access terms now than some of the 'lesser' members of the Russell Group. The attack dogs ought to be widening their nets, to mix metaphors. For politicians however, slapping down the Warwicks and the Durhams and the Bristols would in no way substitute for the kudos of having a bash at Ox & Cambs. "Would sir like a side dish of outdated hate with that?"
    Offline

    7
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Oxbridge really acts as a shorthand in the public debate for the concept of 'the better universities'. It's an easy target to accuse of unjustified privilege, etc, despite in some important ways being less privileged in access terms now than some of the 'lesser' members of the Russell Group. The attack dogs ought to be widening their nets, to mix metaphors. For politicians however, slapping down the Warwicks and the Durhams and the Bristols would in no way substitute for the kudos of having a bash at Ox & Cambs. "Would sir like a side dish of outdated hate with that?"
    .:youbetcha:

    Tried to give you an upvote and am met yet again with : "please rate some other members before rating this member again".

    Last time I successfully upvoted you was two days ago.

    Has OFFA dictated quotas for the TSR too?
 
 
 
Poll
Is the Big Bang theory correct?
Useful resources
Uni match

Applying to uni?

Our tool will help you find the perfect course

Articles:

Debate and current affairs guidelinesDebate and current affairs wiki

Quick link:

Educational debate unanswered threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

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.