8s and 9s at GCSE for Oxbridge? Watch

izzysm
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Hopefully this makes sense - I've seen a few people saying that Oxford and Cambridge don't distinguish between grades 8 and 9 at GCSE (with them both being roughly equivalent to an A* before reforms) and that they view the two grades as equal - I was wondering if anybody knows if there's any truth to this as it seems unlikely?
Say for example one applicant received mostly 9s at GCSE and a few 7s, while another applicant received all 8s, would the latter be favoured due to their lack of grade 7s even though they received no 9s (since 8s and 9s are "viewed equally") ?
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SamMed
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They won't be viewed equally I think because the whole point (one of the points) of the reform was to differentiate the highest achieving students. so if the universities just go and treat them the same (which they're not) there was no point for the new grades.
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xoxAngel_Kxox
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(Original post by SamMed)
They won't be viewed equally I think because the whole point (one of the points) of the reform was to differentiate the highest achieving students. so if the universities just go and treat them the same (which they're not) there was no point for the new grades.
From what I've seen on here, there are still lots and lots of 9s being awarded.. so I'd wonder whether they have actually achieved any differentiation at all!
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Mosope17
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Oxford have stated that they won’t be differentiating between the two as they don’t have any evidence yet. The second part of you question doesn’t really make sense - the first student has performed better. Yes, they have no 9s but they have 8/9s across the board with no 7s. One student has straight a* the other doesn’t. Remember that gcses are only one component.
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izzysm
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(Original post by Mosope17)
Oxford have stated that they won’t be differentiating between the two as they don’t have any evidence yet. The second part of you question doesn’t really make sense - the first student has performed better. Yes, they have no 9s but they have 8/9s across the board with no 7s. One student has straight a* the other doesn’t. Remember that gcses are only one component.
But under this logic (Oxford not differentiating between the two) a student that achieved all 9s would be viewed the same as one with all 8s which clearly isn't realistic?
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Mosope17
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(Original post by izzysm)
But under this logic (Oxford not differentiating between the two) a student that achieved all 9s would be viewed the same as one with all 8s which clearly isn't realistic?
oxford have said that they aren’t discriminating between them until they have evidence that supports that they should. that might change- but currently the algorithm makes no difference.
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izzysm
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(Original post by Mosope17)
oxford have said that they aren’t discriminating between them until they have evidence that supports that they should. that might change- but currently the algorithm makes no difference.
Surely the fact that a 9 is a higher grade than an 8 is all the evidence they need to discriminate between the two?
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Mosope17
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(Original post by izzysm)
Surely the fact that a 9 is a higher grade than an 8 is all the evidence they need to discriminate between the two?
Gcses don’t count for too much anyway. I do get what ur saying. They just don’t discriminate currently.
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Beth_H
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(Original post by izzysm)
Surely the fact that a 9 is a higher grade than an 8 is all the evidence they need to discriminate between the two?
But if there's no evidence that a student with straight 9s is actually better suited to/prepared for the course than one with straight 8s, then why value 9s more highly? Before the reforms, both students would have achieved exactly the same grades and been viewed equally, so I doubt Oxbridge feel the need to start differentiating between the two now just because the government does.
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izzysm
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(Original post by Beth_H)
But if there's no evidence that a student with straight 9s is actually better suited to/prepared for the course than one with straight 8s, then why value 9s more highly? Before the reforms, both students would have achieved exactly the same grades and been viewed equally, so I doubt Oxbridge feel the need to start differentiating between the two now just because the government does.
I just mean if it came down to two students being compared for a place based on their GCSEs (all other factors put aside), I would have thought a higher proportion of 9s would be beneficial since it's a higher grade?
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Beth_H
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(Original post by izzysm)
I just mean if it came down to two students being compared for a place based on their GCSEs (all other factors put aside), I would have thought a higher proportion of 9s would be beneficial since it's a higher grade?
In the very rare scenario that two students' admissions tests, interviews, personal statements, references and A level/IB predictions were to exactly the same standard, a higher proportion of 9s *might* give one of them the edge, but for the most part, GCSEs would not be given that much weight. Oxbridge also views GCSEs contextually, so if the student with 8s went to a state comp in a low-income area while the student with 9s went to a high-flying private school, that could also change things. Keep in mind, as well, that the interview process allows admissions tutors to use a range of more subjective factors to come to a decision, including personality. If the 9 grade student was an obnoxious brat and the 8 grade student was lovely, that could also give the latter student an advantage. The process is just too subjective to really predict the outcome.

At the end of the day, Oxford (and Cambridge too, I think) have never cared how far into a grade boundary a particular applicant is, they've only looked at the grade. Why should the government's arbitrary introduction of a new category within the existing A* band mean anything to them?
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Nunu4321
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I think they’re considered equal for the first few years but it’s all really confusing
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