Should students from lower-performing schools be offered 'grade discounts'? Watch

Poll: Should students from lower-performing schools be offered 'grade discounts'?
Yes (51)
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No (31)
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discobish
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#1
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"Recent research shows that, once in university, students from England’s most poorly performing secondary schools generally do as well academically as their peers from England’s highest performing schools. Even if they achieved somewhat lower A-level grades.

Similar findings from higher education in general have been reported.
This lends evidence to a fact that seems intuitive. That is, the grades a pupil achieves at A-level (or equivalent) are, on average, at least partly dependent on the school they attend."

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So, in order to make university admissions fairer, should students who attend schools where pupils generally leave with lower grades, be offered places based on reduced A-level achievement – known as “grade discounting”?

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Crow_M
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#2
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This topic is quite delicate and subjective.

At one point, I think that some people from the most deprived areas should be able to get "grade discounting" by 1 grade as they achieved almost as much as the people that were more fortunate.

I personally go to a very bad state school and I'm hoping to get 9 A*s or better, it would be quite unfair to think that someone from a top performing private school worked as hard as someone from a low-performjng school (you should take this with a pinch of salt as there are hard workers in independent schools), my point is that classes are smaller and there are more resources, people that didn't have access to revision guides and were in a big class shows that they worked extremely hard and should be credited for that. That's why universities such as Oxford used contextual data.
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ltsmith
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#3
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#3
They are offered lower grades at various places
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MajorFader
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#4
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#4
Doesn’t some Unis already give out contextual offers?
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The RAR
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#5
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#5
Yes, the best performing schools have the best teachers and literally do everything to make sure their pupils get the highest grades possible. Pupils get a lot more excellent support from these schools. Even if it means cheating on coursework. Lower performing schools on the other hand is where teachers serve very little purpose, don't really care about their students and the vast majority of the achievement is up to the student with limited support.
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xEmilyxx
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#6
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I'm not quite sure where I stand on this matter. I understand that high achieving is relative to how an individual compares to their peers, but I think some methods of calculating disadvantage is a bit questionable. I come from a stable, relatively well off family and I was provided with a contextual offer because the rest of my town is considered to be disadvantaged. Although I appreciated the leniency, it felt a bit odd considering my financial situation was very good.

So overall, they should be given out but some universities need to sort out their criteria for these offers.
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Robert McL
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#7
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(Original post by MajorFader)
Doesn’t some Unis already give out contextual offers?
You need some English lessons. Think about it.
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Notoriety
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#8
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As has been pointed out, many places offer contextual offers. Should this continue? Fine, but the people there usually are still evidently good students. Instead of A*AA they might get AAB.

If you're looking to do more than what is done currently, and allow more support for poor kids who have poorer grades, then I don't think this research supports that. We don't know how A*AA students cope relative to BBB students. Sometimes BBB students are just poor students, not just students from poor schools.
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Haviland-Tuf
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#9
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No. No more prizes for participation either. If you work hard you will get the grades you need to get to uni.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PEOPLE BEING ENCOURAGED TO WORK HARD?
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Andrew97
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#10
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#10
Tough to say, as somebody who came from an underperforming school and made it to Uni I would say yes for selfish reasons.
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HRJ210
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#11
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No, I don't believe grade discounts are a good Idea.

I went to the third least achieving school in the country (At the time), I was still able to achieve well because I worked hard, therefore anyone who works hard enough can get the grades they want, no matter how intelligent they may be. The teaching environment can hinder progress but if someone is genuinely motivated to get good grades then they can achieve. Often schools are underachieving only because of the attitudes of the children that attend it, not because of the quality of teachers.
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Nihao_there
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#12
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Speaking from a position of not inconsiderable socioeconomic advantage and having attended a high performing state school, I would assert that so-called "grade discounts" are reasonable. With that said, however, I think it might be better (albeit harder to calculate) to base the policy around more variables than just the performance of their school by also taking into account factors such as income in order to target more accurately the students deserving of the extra assistance.
Better still than any of this would be to try to close the yawning achievement gap between the haves and the have-nots in this country. This would require a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, we need to finally address the problem of woefully inadequate funding for most state schools and give them the resources that they need to deliver a decent standard of education - a workload for teachers that doesn't leave them quitting the profession in droves due to exhaustion, the capacity for every school to offer a broad range of A level subjects, and enough funding to reliably provide pupils with essentials such as subject jotters should really not be too much to ask for in the world's 5th largest economy - coupled with a genuine political effort to reduce some of that grinding poverty and inequality in the first place. Grade discounts are imperfect as they essentially concede that students at disadvantaged schools cannot be expected to match the achievements of their more fortunate peers, which ideally should never be the case. The widespread adoption of "grade discounts" should only be a sticking plaster solution for a much wider societal problem, but applying a sticking plaster like this is still better than failing to treat the wound at all.
Many people here are treating the idea of a “grade discount” as if it is a disincentive towards hard work and should therefore be condemned. In reality, I believe that there is no contradiction between a message emphasising the importance of hard work and a policy - the “grade discount” – which rewards hard work in the face of adverse circumstances. In fact, I take exception to the term “grade discount” in itself as the very word “discount” is a little misleading: it implies that the student receiving the offer has been let of the hook in some way, with less effort expected of them. I think the official term of “contextual offer” reveals a lot more about what is actually going on behind these offers: the acknowledgement thatthe amount of hard work and dedication required to obtain a certain grade in a particular context would have translated into a higher grade in a different context. If for whatever reason, be it economic deprivation or under-resourced teaching, an extra amount of effort is required to achieve an A grade in comparison with someone who is more privileged, then that effort should be acknowledged even if it means giving these two people different offers for the same course.

We’re not saying that it’s OK for the more disadvantaged student not to work hard when we say that they require AAB instead of AAA to enter their chosen course, we’re acknowledging that they already have worked much harder for that hypothetical B than might be obvious at first glance. To ignore this is essentially to demand a higher standard of work and commitment from disadvantaged students than fortunate ones, which really would be unjust. I know that in this answer I’m conflating attending an underperforming school with being from a disadvantaged background, but given that there is a very large overlap between these two groups I think that is permissible.

I know there are plenty of people from underperforming schools and disadvantaged backgrounds who have met and exceeded their unadjusted conditions with flying colours. Good for them, and it is incredibly impressive. However, these students’ achievements should not be taken as evidence that there is no need for contextual admissions processes: that some people succeed in a face of adversity doesn’t mean that the adversity isn’t there. To use a slightly exaggerated example, Thomas Cromwell, son of a blacksmith, became an advisor to King Henry VIII, but that doesn’t mean that Tudor England was a perfect meritocracy J. Almost everyone’s achievements will be, to a greater or lesser extent, influenced by the circumstances in which they find themselves and no-one has the freedom or power to exist and behave completely without regard to those circumstances. I’ve digressed slightly here but I think that if our society as a whole, with its fixation on the idea of personal choice, paid a bit more attention to this point, we’d find ourselves with a little less of the iniquity and inequality that leads to us having to discuss contextual offers here.

(On a final note and speaking of hard work, there is nothing to stop students trying to exceed the requirements of their context-adjusted offers!)
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yudothis
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#13
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(Original post by HRJ210)
No, I don't believe grade discounts are a good Idea.

I went to the third least achieving school in the country (At the time), I was still able to achieve well because I worked hard, therefore anyone who works hard enough can get the grades they want, no matter how intelligent they may be. The teaching environment can hinder progress but if someone is genuinely motivated to get good grades then they can achieve. Often schools are underachieving only because of the attitudes of the children that attend it, not because of the quality of teachers.
Personally I went to a great school and I know I did better than I would have because of the excellent teachers and support system.

Anyone denying this plays a role is probably either of your type who thinks "I made so everyone else should, too" or knows that the odds are in their favor.

As to your last point:

https://www.facebook.com/evonomics/v...i7jY0yivOErXX0

No surprise the US with such an elitist education system has far lower social mobility than countries with free and equal education for all like Scandinavia.
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The RAR
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#14
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(Original post by Haviland-Tuf)
No. No more prizes for participation either. If you work hard you will get the grades you need to get to uni.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PEOPLE BEING ENCOURAGED TO WORK HARD?
That is not the case I am afraid, many people work hard and are determined to get the grades they want but the harsh reality is that some people simply can't get those grades no matter how hard they work. Exams are one of those thing where you really can't be certain that you are going to get the results you want no matter how hard you work because is not nature that decides the outcome of your work, it's a human.
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Realitysreflexx
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#15
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#15
This is a clear absolutely not, they already get reduced offers.

University admissions needs to be a bit unfair and mirror meritocracy of employment to a certain element. The best students will generally end up at better universities and less skilled students will end up at fitting places of learning for them.

Some arent suited for a top or RG uni, i personally attend a mid level RG and do have to put in a bit of work to succeed. I would likely not succeed at Oxbridge. This is reality and its fair. You need to go where you achieve, and achieving is ultimately YOUR responsibility, not societies or anyone elses.
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TheChoconator
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#16
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(Original post by Robert McL)
You need some English lessons. Think about it.
lmao its just a forum post not an essay
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