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    (Original post by The Muon)
    This was not copy and pasta No where before my post did anyone use the word niggle Perhaps I was just reiterating a point someone else had made perhaps but I can't help it if I feel the same way as someone else.
    Post what you wrote in the original debate. I'm sure it was similar :p:
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    (Original post by abstraction98)
    Post what you wrote in the original debate. I'm sure it was similar :p:
    I see. I infact found this thread first and then when I found the other I cba writing my feelings any other way, hence copy pasta
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    (Original post by Miss Prankster Pixie)
    Even so, an Oxbridge course, you hit the ground running... there isn't time to teach a pupil from a substandard school how to write an essay... but maybe the idea from KCL would be good, a zero year to bring certain students up to the right level?
    I don't agree with this. A student from a "good school" isn't any better starting a degree at Oxford or Cambridge than a student from a rubbish school. The nature of University education is so different from sixth form that everybody starts entirely from scratch. Students from the best schools have to relearn essay writing skills from scratch because supervisors and tutors will be emphasising entirely different techniques and focus points. This is why the Universities look for raw talent and potential to excel and to think originally and flexibly, because those are the skills that enable students to succeed on the course. The only advantage people from 'better' schools seem to have is more familiarity with being pushed to perform and balancing tight schedules which makes their adjustment to the Oxbridge course time frame a bit quicker for some.

    I agree with those that say that the school system needs change, as the problems encountered in University admissions are a reflection of the inequality fostered by the earlier education system. Its redundant to target the symptom instead of the cause.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    I don't agree with this. A student from a "good school" isn't any better starting a degree at Oxford or Cambridge than a student from a rubbish school. The nature of University education is so different from sixth form that everybody starts entirely from scratch. Students from the best schools have to relearn essay writing skills from scratch because supervisors and tutors will be emphasising entirely different techniques and focus points. This is why the Universities look for raw talent and potential to excel and to think originally and flexibly, because those are the skills that enable students to succeed on the course. The only advantage people from 'better' schools seem to have is more familiarity with being pushed to perform and balancing tight schedules which makes their adjustment to the Oxbridge course time frame a bit quicker for some.

    I agree with those that say that the school system needs change, as the problems encountered in University admissions are a reflection of the inequality fostered by the earlier education system. Its redundant to target the symptom instead of the cause.
    How do you show that to admin tutors?
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    (Original post by im so academic)
    How do you show that to admin tutors?
    Do you mean Admissions Tutors?
    And that's what the interviews are for. You're either intellectually able, or you're not.
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    (Original post by im so academic)
    How do you show that to admin tutors?
    Think outside the box during your interview :yes:
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    I don't agree with this. A student from a "good school" isn't any better starting a degree at Oxford or Cambridge than a student from a rubbish school. The nature of University education is so different from sixth form that everybody starts entirely from scratch. Students from the best schools have to relearn essay writing skills from scratch because supervisors and tutors will be emphasising entirely different techniques and focus points. This is why the Universities look for raw talent and potential to excel and to think originally and flexibly, because those are the skills that enable students to succeed on the course. The only advantage people from 'better' schools seem to have is more familiarity with being pushed to perform and balancing tight schedules which makes their adjustment to the Oxbridge course time frame a bit quicker for some.
    Ok, good point. I've been out of school for a long time.

    I've taken several undergraduate certificates, where I felt I had to learn how to write an essay, as this was not clearly taught in my school (and my school was one of the better ones - i mean things as simple as working out what my points are and making each one into a paragraph). However, I have had friends who were taught these things within their secondary and sixth form schooling. I have also encountered people who didn't understand about using an introducation and conclusion, or what it means to evaluate, or that use of anecdotal evidence, personal examples, polemic, or unsupported argument in a psychology/sociology essay is not appropriate... yet Lord Mandelson is saying that Oxbridge, etc should consider them without some kind of bridging course... ?

    Ok, there is the supervision/tutorial system in place at Oxbridge, which could allow for someone to learn that they need to use paragraphs and support their arguments with evidence... however, there are several universities i could name which give little personal feedback on essays, and there are more essays which count towards final marks than Oxbridge.



    I agree with those that say that the school system needs change, as the problems encountered in University admissions are a reflection of the inequality fostered by the earlier education system. Its redundant to target the symptom instead of the cause.
    I've been saying this throughout this debate, however, until such time as this happens, is it not wise to start to even things up in other ways also?
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    (Original post by Miss Prankster Pixie)
    Ok, good point. I've been out of school for a long time.

    I've taken several undergraduate certificates, where I felt I had to learn how to write an essay, as this was not clearly taught in my school (and my school was one of the better ones - i mean things as simple as working out what my points are and making each one into a paragraph). However, I have had friends who were taught these things within their secondary and sixth form schooling. I have also encountered people who didn't understand about using an introducation and conclusion, or what it means to evaluate, or that use of anecdotal evidence, personal examples, polemic, or unsupported argument in a psychology/sociology essay is not appropriate... yet Lord Mandelson is saying that Oxbridge, etc should consider them without some kind of bridging course... ?

    Ok, there is the supervision/tutorial system in place at Oxbridge, which could allow for someone to learn that they need to use paragraphs and support their arguments with evidence... however, there are several universities i could name which give little personal feedback on essays, and there are more essays which count towards final marks than Oxbridge.
    My first year comparative politics tutor spent most of my first term banging on to all of the PPE freshers about how to write a top drawer essay. I haven't known many tutors to take such a blanket approach (perhaps it was just that we were all writing really crap essays), but certainly, if a particular student can't write a tolerable essay, it will be commented on. Even if your school didn't teach you how to write an 'oxford essay', if you can't pick up a few simple rules about structure and argumentation by the end of your first year, let alone finals, you're probably a bit thick.

    That said, I wouldn't say that there aren't important skills that are trained from an early age, that many state schools fail to instil. Critical thinking and whatnot.
    I've been saying this throughout this debate, however, until such time as this happens, is it not wise to start to even things up in other ways also?
    I would be unprepared to sacrifice excellence for equality, regardless of how short a time period we did this over. If we can have both excellence and equality, which I'm sure we can, then marvellous, let's do that, but excluding superior candidates from top universities in the name of fairness and equality seems to me to be a rather contradictory way to go.
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    (Original post by Rustlessbowl)
    I would be unprepared to sacrifice excellence for equality, regardless of how short a time period we did this over.
    :ditto: though I suppose it might depend on how big the sacrifice was...

    As for the whole essay thing, I've had so much conflicting advice from different tutors about how to write essays, it's ridiculous :rolleyes: That said, I've ignored most of it without any trouble I was very lucky in that I had pretty good English teachers throughout school, so I'm the best essay writer in my tutorial group. One of the few things I beat them in :yeah:
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    To everyone who says "let's reform the school system", I say how? The only potential solutions that I can think of are either unpopular (complete privatisation of education), unworkable in practice (grammar schools), ludicrously expensive or result in the mass slaughter of vast swathes of the population.

    There are always going to be winners and losers in education. The system we have now is sadly the path of least resistance. It's easier (politically) to meddle with the universities than the schools and there are nice, easy, ready made scapegoats. So we have to accept that, while it shouldn't be the universities job to make up for the failings of the school system, it will be.

    I'm very happy to sacrifice excellence for equality (partly because I think it's ridiculously arrogant to say "ooh, look at me in Oxbridge, I'm excellent, not like you plebs from poor families" ). I think that Oxford and Cambridge to devoting some of their considerable resources making up for the failings of some schools is right and proper.
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    (Original post by Arrogant Git)
    To everyone who says "let's reform the school system", I say how? The only potential solutions that I can think of are either unpopular (complete privatisation of education), unworkable in practice (grammar schools), ludicrously expensive or result in the mass slaughter of vast swathes of the population.

    There are always going to be winners and losers in education. The system we have now is sadly the path of least resistance. It's easier (politically) to meddle with the universities than the schools and there are nice, easy, ready made scapegoats. So we have to accept that, while it shouldn't be the universities job to make up for the failings of the school system, it will be.

    I'm very happy to sacrifice excellence for equality (partly because I think it's ridiculously arrogant to say "ooh, look at me in Oxbridge, I'm excellent, not like you plebs from poor families" ). I think that Oxford and Cambridge to devoting some of their considerable resources making up for the failings of some schools is right and proper.
    I personally think there are loads of things that can be done to improve UK schooling problems, ranging from things directly linked to school teaching to things that aren't perhaps as directly linked but affect school environment, e.g. improving discipline in schools, and making sure school careers advisers actually have a clue what they're on about. None of those things can happen overnight or even within a few years and such a standard may well be completely unattainable, but I think it the long run it really would be better to try and improve comp schools and their environment, just for the sake of future pupils :yes: So I guess the question would be what to do in the meantime. I do believe Oxford's access programmes need to target more schools and students earlier than they do/did when I was applying, so I'm not saying there's absolutely nothing the unis can't do.

    I would like equality and I certainly don't advocate the whole "ooh, look at me in Oxbridge, I'm excellent, not like you plebs from poor families" attitude (aforementioned tutorial partner called me a pleb because I never studied Latin :rolleyes: ), but as I indicated before, I just don't think either uni making ABB offers to certain students would ever be seen as equality/not compromising academic standards :no:

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    (Original post by Miss Prankster Pixie)
    Ok, good point. I've been out of school for a long time.

    I've taken several undergraduate certificates, where I felt I had to learn how to write an essay, as this was not clearly taught in my school (and my school was one of the better ones - i mean things as simple as working out what my points are and making each one into a paragraph). However, I have had friends who were taught these things within their secondary and sixth form schooling. I have also encountered people who didn't understand about using an introducation and conclusion, or what it means to evaluate, or that use of anecdotal evidence, personal examples, polemic, or unsupported argument in a psychology/sociology essay is not appropriate... yet Lord Mandelson is saying that Oxbridge, etc should consider them without some kind of bridging course... ?
    Oxbridge would, and does consider them. People are taken on their potential and their talent, not on their amassed knowledge and expertise to date (apart from subjects where certain bodies of knowledge are prerequisite) Nobody ever taught me that essays ought to have introductions and conclusions and that my arguments needed supporting and so on. I got As in essay based subjects simply because I think critically and that translates itself into writing good essays. There is very little that a person is likely to learn in sixth form that isn't going to be relearnt or reintroduced on a new course. And the students that Oxbridge selects will have the raw intelligence and ability to quickly pick up any new necessary skills or amend old ones. Many of these things change once a person is pressed or pushed to start thinking or analysing something differently. If a person got an offer, then they will have the intelligence to be capable of this kind of thinking and its only an issue of putting them in a situation which pushes them to consider a problem differently before they automatically notice these things and start to apply them. That's why - should the clueless people you mentioned be selected - they would not need a foundation year in order to adapt.
    (Original post by Pixie)
    Ok, there is the supervision/tutorial system in place at Oxbridge, which could allow for someone to learn that they need to use paragraphs and support their arguments with evidence... however, there are several universities i could name which give little personal feedback on essays, and there are more essays which count towards final marks than Oxbridge.
    Yeh I'm only talking about Oxbridge. I'm sure you're right and it might be a problem if somebody has no critical feedback on work they're getting marked for from the word go. In an Arts subject at Oxbridge, the person is going to be writing 20 or so supervision/tutorial essays before they sit down and do any assessed work at the end of the year. By this point - with the same number of supervisions - the person will have had alot of feedback and alot of practice.
    (Original post by Pixie)
    I've been saying this throughout this debate, however, until such time as this happens, is it not wise to start to even things up in other ways also?
    Sure, go for it. Just don't think it will change/improve things much.
    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I personally think there are loads of things that can be done to improve UK schooling problems, ranging from things directly linked to school teaching to things that aren't perhaps as directly linked but affect school environment, e.g. improving discipline in schools, and making sure school careers advisers actually have a clue what they're on about. None of those things can happen overnight or even within a few years and such a standard may well be completely unattainable, but I think it the long run it really would be better to try and improve comp schools and their environment, just for the sake of future pupils :yes:
    :ditto:
    (Original post by Arrogant Git)
    The only potential solutions that I can think of are either unpopular (complete privatisation of education), unworkable in practice (grammar schools), ludicrously expensive or result in the mass slaughter of vast swathes of the population.
    :rofl:
    Crudely, I wish they'd overhaul it entirely and replace it with something similar to what the Germans do. One system where along the education route people can specialise more early and go into more practical or vocational courses or more academic courses as they're inclined/able. I would want everybody to be getting the same standard of education, and simply bringing that up. I'll wait until after I take my 'sociology of education' paper next year before commenting further :p:
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Crudely, I wish they'd overhaul it entirely and replace it with something similar to what the Germans do. One system where along the education route people can specialise more early and go into more practical or vocational courses or more academic courses as they're inclined/able.
    Urgh no. Having a three tiered system like that isn't the way to go about it at all. What we need are comprehensive schools that are able to provide a broad (comprehensive!) education in which they can offer every pupil subjects which interest them. I take the point about earlier specialisation but I'm not sure that helps any. Generalisation at a young age is better because a young brain that is developing feeds off that material. But it's about not privileging one form of intellect, one form of education and learning over any other. Learning how to bricklay is just as important, just as worthwhile as learning how to speak French. That's how you keep "stupid kids" in schools. You provide them with the academic means to flourish and if that means them learning carpentry then so be it, that is what comprehensive education - education all under one roof - is about.
 
 
 
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