Birmingham university has started to make unconditional offers to some students on the basis of their AS levels and A2 predictions. This means that if a student didn't actually bother to take their A2s, they would get a place ahead of someone who just slipped a grade! The reports are that this is only for some subjects and the students have to have As at As and be predicted A*AA.
My uni are and I have real concerns about the differential impact, given that some schools are more likely to predict high grades that others.
I also think it is a bit strange that an uni that has pretend elite status would do this especially as it in subjects which do not have any other way of gauging the suitability of applicants such as interviews.
I know they really struggled to fill their places last year, and I'm guessing they wouldn't have done this if their applications for 2013 entry were strong.
I cetainly know of people offered "2 Es" in the 70s and 80s - not just at Oxford and Cambridge where there were separate tests, but all sorts of places. I was also at a Parents' Talk last week, and representatives from 2 Universities (neither of which was Birmingham) talked about offering students they really wanted, unconditional offers (essentially, still 2 Es, as there is a basic requirement to enter University at all), as they found it meant that some students would put them as their 'first choice' and be more relaxed taking the final exams. I don't have a problem with it and it wouldn't be my ds in that cohort. Not sure why you are so 'down' on Birmingham - all Universities have some departments which are weaker / better than others. You seem to have some personal axe to grind ?
Bhms unconditional offer would make sense of fair access if it includes persons from disadvantaged backgrounds to give them a chance . This report from Sutton Trust is challenging a lot of thinking about ed; they say: "in a quarter of English sixth forms and colleges not a single student achieved the A-level grades needed to go to one of our leading universities Probably Bhm has a point here.
yes but they aren't making unconditional offers to students to give them a chance, they are making offers to students who's schools expect them to achieve way over Birmingham's entry requirements. So its nothing to do with widening participation and is more about tempting top students away from other universities.