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to make universities accept an A level at grade E from a normal state school is as hard to get as B/A at selective schools!! ??

(186 Posts)
oddjobgirl Thu 16-Aug-07 22:28:57

Not my DS - but I've had a crowd of A2 students in my home. One who got what he was expecting and the others massively under. I've just watched the news - what a difference. Some of the young peoples here worked hard, competed with dis-interested class mates who dropped out, teachers over worked, exhausted, off sick for months on end... it's not a level playing field.

shergar Thu 16-Aug-07 22:33:17

Hmmmm, difficult. An E grade really isn't brilliant whatever school you were at, and TBH not adequate preparation for degree-level studying. I accept it's harder to get good grades at state school than at private ones, but you still need to be at an acceptable standard/level of knowledge to succeed on most courses.

It isn't a level playing field though, you're right about that for sure.

oddjobgirl Thu 16-Aug-07 22:42:08

There will always be some people who can pass exams with minimum teaching, but two of the people in my home had been at a college where there teachers are off sick all the time. Even when the parents wrote in to complain - all they got was a stand in teacher who told them to read a chapter of a book - what a joke. As I said not my DS - in my home because we can be neutral - but not fair.

oddjobgirl Thu 16-Aug-07 22:43:06

sorry THEIR not THERE - a bit like reallytired tonight

bookwormtailmum Thu 16-Aug-07 22:43:46

It's not so much the grade they get at school for whatever reasons, but at university students do need a certain amount of pre-learning when they begin a course. An E grade doesn't really start you off at the same place as someone with a C B or A. Sadly.

hatwoman Thu 16-Aug-07 22:48:32

no - it's not a level playing field. but (in the scheme of things - not for individuals, admittedly) - the answer is not to get unis to accept lower grades - it's to sort out the playing field and the education people are receiving up to age 18.

Kathyis6incheshigh Thu 16-Aug-07 22:51:13

Many universities would be prepared to drop a grade or two if a good case is made, but not 3-4 grades, for reasons already mentioned.

oddjobgirl Thu 16-Aug-07 22:53:40

Seems I'm on my own then. Should we tell all teenagers going to state schools and colleges DON'T DO ANY TOUGH SUBJECTS SUCH AS SCIENCE, MATHS, HISTORY OR PSYCHOLOGY - JUST GO FOR TOTALLY UNWANTED ONES LIKE MEDIA STUDIES AND ENGLISH ?? good grades easy to come by but pointless and to the commercial world - zip value....

McEdam Thu 16-Aug-07 22:53:53

I sympathise, oddjob, and I think you are right that a teenager who has had to fight against the odds to get an E grade deserves a hearing when it comes to university places. Sadly the middle and upper classes are very good at maintaining their own fiefdoms.

bookwormtailmum Thu 16-Aug-07 22:57:15

There are degrees you can take that don't require specific grades in specific subjects as they'll teach you everything you need to know on that course... but they will want to see evidence of advanced learning at an appropriate level unless there are pretty good reasons why you flunked your course. If an e-grade student really wants to go to uni, they're probably better off waiting a couple of years and going in as a mature student with 'life experience'. The real issue is that some would-be university students aren't being prepared adequately by their schools but it's not the job of the universities to correct deficiencies in the education system further down.

<<gets off soapbox>>

Kathyis6incheshigh Thu 16-Aug-07 22:57:29

Maybe universities need to think more radically and institute pre-degree courses for students who have the ability but have not had the preparation.

bookwormtailmum Thu 16-Aug-07 23:01:41

I think engineering and arts courses often run a 'foundation' year and my old uni did start trialling one in the Business school so someone could effectively begin their degree at 17 and still finish at 20/21. It's their policy to target non-typical HE students though .

McEdam Thu 16-Aug-07 23:02:19

Thing is, that 'it's not our job' approach means the talent of working class kids is just wasted. It's a system that just entrenches privilege. Look at the howls of protest from the Mail and the Telegraph every time it's suggested top universities ought to be more than finishing schools for the wealthy.

I mean, seriously, do you expect a kid who wants to learn to put up with being repeatedly let down? Yeah, right, it's sooooo easy to get a job and go as a mature student. Your living costs are higher, for a start, your ability to move to the other end of the country is much more restricted, there are probably implications for student funding...

McEdam Thu 16-Aug-07 23:03:19

I like the sound of that, bookworm.

3andnomore Thu 16-Aug-07 23:03:55

oddjob...I know what you are saying, but can also see the other points of views..
there is always a way into getting the better education as well as even studying at Uni through adult ediucational rules, that, I believe, are really in favour of people with no responsibilty but just overt aht young age....

Stuffy Thu 16-Aug-07 23:04:06

Maybe the lesson that life isn't fair is one worth learning? Yes rich people have things on a plate but my firm belief is that people with lots of initiative will pull through at state schools.

Kathyis6incheshigh Thu 16-Aug-07 23:04:32

"there are probably implications for student funding... "

Yes indeed. Though one good thing that is happening is that they are rethinking the distinction between full and part time courses in terms of funding.

Stuffy Thu 16-Aug-07 23:06:55

top universities are not finishing schools for the wealthy. that wasn't true even in my day. but it's a nice turn of phrase.

bookwormtailmum Thu 16-Aug-07 23:16:20

I went to uni as a mature student (I was 26) and even though this was in the good ole days (almost), I didn't have much difficulty in student funding and I worked in the vacations plus part-time besides that. I was classified as an independent student since I'd supported myself for the previous three years so I wasn't liable for tuition fees. Yay me!! I appreciate that this isn't necessarily going to be the same for everyone now esp since tuition fees have risen so dramatically in the past few years but at the same time, there is a lot of financial help out there.

elastamum Thu 16-Aug-07 23:17:28

I know its not fair but as one of 3 whos parents left school at 14 and 16 and who all went to university from a really middling state comp, I think that they should do better than E if they work hard. We all did and we had to put all the graft in ourselves as most of the teaching was not good. The irony is that whilst we were all the first generation university kids everyone now wants to support, both my kids and my brothers are at private schools and are now considered the priviledged kids of wealthy parents because we wanted them to have a better education than we got and are prepared to pay for it.

SpeccieSeccie Thu 16-Aug-07 23:20:33

Hmmmm. It's unfair no doubt. But universities really are different from schools. They're not just the next step on, but a whole different system of academia. I think to ask lecturers to essentially 'teach sixth form' to people who haven't had the education they should have had would fundamentally change the university system/emphasis and also lets schools off the hook. Really, this isn't about universities, it's about secondary schools.

BreeVanDerCampLGJ Thu 16-Aug-07 23:20:51

E grade ..............

Dear God whatever next.

Stuffy Thu 16-Aug-07 23:29:28

maybe a better solution is to forget this artificial classist distinction between schools (decently proletarian ones) and universities (elitist by definition) and just call them all universities.

Then no-one can get upset stigmatised or traumatised by having failed an exam, which is an unnecessarily distressing experience.

Everyone can go to the new universities free of charge from the age of four. There need be no exams to get into university so we could abolish a levels altogether.

I shall write to Gordon Brown.

oddjobgirl Fri 17-Aug-07 08:11:10

Last night I managed to persuade one of the devastated ones to go through clearing - now that I understand it. I just feel so bad for these "particular two" DDE and U at A2 and EE UU at A2 because everyone in the EU and UU classes has got similar grades. Maths and chemistry - these are academic young men who got As/Bs or even A*s at G.C.S.E. in a state school (non selective). To me it has to be the teaching - or in this case Absent, constantly changing teachers. DD starting AS next year at same state college - but not science minded, and I'm pleased for us, but sad for for the UK.

FioFio Fri 17-Aug-07 08:12:30

Message withdrawn

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