"Unis to consider using own entrance exams in future amid A level chaos"

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Muttley79
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https://uk.newschant.com/uk-news/uni...a-level-chaos/


'On Thursday night, senior college figures signalled that entrance exams may very well be employed much more within the coming years amid rising doubts over the credibility of A-level grades.

A Russell Group admissions supply mentioned: “Tutors are thinking what the hell will we do if this continues? They have to find some way to do the sifting, short of just throwing the applications up in the air and taking the ones that land nearest.” '
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Googley_eyes
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(Original post by Muttley79)
https://uk.newschant.com/uk-news/uni...a-level-chaos/


'On Thursday night, senior college figures signalled that entrance exams may very well be employed much more within the coming years amid rising doubts over the credibility of A-level grades.

A Russell Group admissions supply mentioned: “Tutors are thinking what the hell will we do if this continues? They have to find some way to do the sifting, short of just throwing the applications up in the air and taking the ones that land nearest.” '
This is so true. I did first year last year at a RG uni and the quality of my cohort was a joke. Over half of the year group couldn’t string a sentence together in English and didn’t understand things in the field that were covered at A level or even GCSE, but they supposedly deserved straight As or even higher.

It will be even worse this year, and as I’m having to move to a different uni of the same quality for personal reasons, I’m pretty sure once again that there will be a lot of honestly C grade students on an A/A* grade course.

A levels had become a joke before Covid so entrance exams really should be commonplace.
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Rockmeteller
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Good. This sounds like a much more efficient system.
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econhelp525
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There should be a return to normal grade distributions instead.
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Tolgash
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This is a move in the right direction because the distribution of grades can't revert to their pre-pandemic state immediately. It feels like the inflation is here to stay for the next few years.
(Original post by Googley_eyes)
This is so true. I did first year last year at a RG uni and the quality of my cohort was a joke. Over half of the year group couldn’t string a sentence together in English and didn’t understand things in the field that were covered at A level or even GCSE, but they supposedly deserved straight As or even higher.

It will be even worse this year, and as I’m having to move to a different uni of the same quality for personal reasons, I’m pretty sure once again that there will be a lot of honestly C grade students on an A/A* grade course.

A levels had become a joke before Covid so entrance exams really should be commonplace.
Which RG university will you be moving from?
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Cote1
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Interesting. Is it likely this could be brought in for applications for those starting September 2022?
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Muttley79)
https://uk.newschant.com/uk-news/uni...a-level-chaos/


'On Thursday night, senior college figures signalled that entrance exams may very well be employed much more within the coming years amid rising doubts over the credibility of A-level grades.

A Russell Group admissions supply mentioned: “Tutors are thinking what the hell will we do if this continues? They have to find some way to do the sifting, short of just throwing the applications up in the air and taking the ones that land nearest.” '
I am concerned that some of the people who get into uni this year (and last year) may struggle to cope as they wouldn't have got the grades in a normal year. But I'm not sure about the entrance exams idea because it seems like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. Surely by next year students will be taking formal exams so although the content may be lighter, they are still being judged against their peers across all schools?
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PQ
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This is more a strategy for universities to manage numbers in a post qualification admissions system that the government is pushing for. With your own entrance exams you can get students to express an interest pre-application and have a threshold for admission that you set internally based on demand. So even if things fluctuate you have flexibility.

(Plus it’s more silly season clickbait from the press based on an opinion piece from a single academic)
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PQ
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There’s also the issue that reforms to GCSEs and A levels (removing modular exams and coursework) has made them very different to university study and so not the best preparation in terms of study skills for most courses.

The increase in self directed study under the pandemic has actually been pretty good preparation for university study so that’s a positive.

It’ll be interesting to see the completion and progresses stats for the 2020 intake - but then their university study has been disrupted repeatedly so that’s maybe not a good reflection on their ability based on the 2020 grades.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by PQ)
It’ll be interesting to see the completion and progresses stats for the 2020 intake - but then their university study has been disrupted repeatedly so that’s maybe not a good reflection on their ability based on the 2020 grades.
Same...anecdotally it seems like more of the 2020 intake dropped out than normal, but that was more due to loneliness and difficulty settling in than an inability to cope academically. I don't know how they fared in the uni exams (though they were themselves easier in some ways like open book exams and various safety nets). Will be interesting to eventually see the stats for this whole fiasco.
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PQ
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Same...anecdotally it seems like more of the 2020 intake dropped out than normal, but that was more due to loneliness and difficulty settling in than an inability to cope academically. I don't know how they fared in the uni exams (though they were themselves easier in some ways like open book exams and various safety nets). Will be interesting to eventually see the stats for this whole fiasco.
The government seem determined to screw over young people for a few positive daily mail headlines

I’m worried that many universities are also screwing over their staff which is going to affect the student experience too https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=7064476 the strike action pre-pandemic seems completely forgotten even though it disrupted teaching massively at the handful of (large) universities affected. And with other aspects of student experience starting to look more likely to be back in place there’s this massive list of staff cuts, course cuts and strikes on the way (Liverpool staff are striking throughout confirmation and clearing - that’s not something I’ve seen happening at any uk university in my time).
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harrysbar
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(Original post by PQ)
The government seem determined to screw over young people for a few positive daily mail headlines

I’m worried that many universities are also screwing over their staff which is going to affect the student experience too https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=7064476 the strike action pre-pandemic seems completely forgotten even though it disrupted teaching massively at the handful of (large) universities affected. And with other aspects of student experience starting to look more likely to be back in place there’s this massive list of staff cuts, course cuts and strikes on the way (Liverpool staff are striking throughout confirmation and clearing - that’s not something I’ve seen happening at any uk university in my time).
Sigh...it's all such a mess. I think Liverpool staff are wrong to be striking throughout clearing though because in the end fewer students on courses will only worsen their position, same as the strict adherence to online learning past Easter only showed that cheaper alternatives could be made to work. The government don't really care about students or staff it seems - it's all just business and market forces to them.
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SarcAndSpark
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One of the things that concerns me about unis setting their own exams is fair access. Presumably, to ensure fairness, unis will want these exams to be sat in person? Which is costly, especially if travel is required. This could limit the number/location of unis that some students are able to apply to.

Obviously, there may be ways around that, but it is a bit of a concern to me.

It also potentially puts a lot of stress on students in Y12/Y13.

If unis feel A-levels aren't fit for purpose, then surely the answer is to put pressure on the government to change the structure of the qualification, or make it more rigourous?
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harrysbar
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
One of the things that concerns me about unis setting their own exams is fair access. Presumably, to ensure fairness, unis will want these exams to be sat in person? Which is costly, especially if travel is required. This could limit the number/location of unis that some students are able to apply to.

Obviously, there may be ways around that, but it is a bit of a concern to me.

It also potentially puts a lot of stress on students in Y12/Y13.

If unis feel A-levels aren't fit for purpose, then surely the answer is to put pressure on the government to change the structure of the qualification, or make it more rigourous?
Yes it's not really feasible for the majority of unis. I think the problem will largely go away from next year when we return to pupils taking formal exams in exam halls in the normal way (hopefully!)
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Muttley79
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Yes it's not really feasible for the majority of unis. I think the problem will largely go away from next year when we return to pupils taking formal exams in exam halls in the normal way (hopefully!)
The exams won't be 'the same' as in 2019 though ... I can understand why there might be concern.
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leviticus.
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(Original post by econhelp525)
There should be a return to normal grade distributions instead.
isn't that the current distribution more or less (ignoring negative skew for current and last year)
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Sriley35
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Logistically it’s a bit dodgy, they could be sat similarly to the oxbridge entrance exams, taken at school with the schools exam invigilators, but there would be so many test takers.

I think it’s good to have a different way of judging aptitude, as long as it’s not incredibly long and more stress.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Yes it's not really feasible for the majority of unis. I think the problem will largely go away from next year when we return to pupils taking formal exams in exam halls in the normal way (hopefully!)
My understanding is that there will be some level of mitigation in place for next years exams? I do also think it's not impossible teaching could be disrupted again next year. I know in my school, we were really limping along to the end of term, with lots of students and staff off- we were only able to stay fully open as Y11 and Y13 had already finished.

(Original post by Muttley79)
The exams won't be 'the same' as in 2019 though ... I can understand why there might be concern.
Yes, I can definitely see it from both sides. Unis need to distinguish between all the students who've been given As, because they might have got that on their best day.

But given the stress of the last two years, I do think we need to be concious about placing additional burdens on students.

Perhaps unis should be braver about filtering out students who don't pass the first year?
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mnot
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(Original post by Muttley79)
https://uk.newschant.com/uk-news/uni...a-level-chaos/


'On Thursday night, senior college figures signalled that entrance exams may very well be employed much more within the coming years amid rising doubts over the credibility of A-level grades.

A Russell Group admissions supply mentioned: “Tutors are thinking what the hell will we do if this continues? They have to find some way to do the sifting, short of just throwing the applications up in the air and taking the ones that land nearest.” '
I have long thought we should move away from tiered grades and move to GPA style percentage grades for every subject. And that you need to normalise it in some manor.
I hate to say it but if the grades come out in a similar manor to last year they are totally useless. Getting an A or A* should be the cream of the crop not 40% of grades as it was last year and A*-B was about two-thirds of results (it’s just nuts). Ofqual should have stuck by their algorithm, then reverted to formal examinations this year, now everything is an absolute **** show. They need to realise students always complain they have been hard done to, ignore it and develop and an actually useable qualification grading system.

In 2 years A-levels have lost all credibility.
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leviticus.
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Honestly, I don't see the need.
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