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High grade students being rejected. Is this fair?
121

mids2019 · 11/06/2022 15:04

www.theguardian.com/education/2022/jun/11/first-post-covid-school-leavers-face-fight-for-fewer-university-places

Is.this situation going to continue if we don't have grade deflation. Are more universities going to be forced to interview or to require supplementary exams?

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BigWoollyJumpers · 11/06/2022 15:09

Daniel Merrett, 17, a student at a state school in Portsmouth who was on free school meals, has an A in maths and is predicted AAA in further maths, physics and computer science. But he was rejected by his four top choices of Oxford, Imperial College, Warwick and Bath. He received the decisions very late in the cycle and has decided to reapply next year rather than take up his insurance offer from Liverpool*

But this is the issue. Assuming he is applying for Maths, or CompSci, these four universities are the most popular for those courses, every, single, student will have four A*, and they have thousands of applicants. It's like Oxbridge, you only have a one in four chance of getting in, if all of your other choices are also only one in four, or less, then the odds are against you, even in normal years.

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mids2019 · 11/06/2022 15:12

@BigWoollyJumpers

Fair point but Oxbridge have the luxury of substantial interviews to differentiate between candidates; how are other universities going to make fair admission decisions?

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superram · 11/06/2022 15:14

But presumably grade inflation applies to all students so he has the same chance as he did before? His teachers should have made him choose somewhere he would be prepared to go (if not Liverpool) with lower entry requirements. However, they can only advise.

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Matchingcollarandcuffs · 11/06/2022 15:14

Maths at Imperial is 1 in 14 chance of getting in.

Until WP can be be properly worked through nothing will change, sadly.

But it's not really a story, student who is not predicted to make the minimum grade requirements for a course not offered a place would be a more truthful headline

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poetryandwine · 11/06/2022 15:17

I agree with you, OP, that the situation is thoroughly depressing and unfair to the current cohort. A big part of this is due to the poor planning over the last two years.

Over in the Academic Common Room we have also been having a discussion about grade inflation at university. We are not impressed although we have a lot of sympathy for what the students have been through since COVID.

In some STEM fields around 80% of graduates are receiving firsts and 2.1s. Employers are now saying that degree classifications are not meaningful, except that low ones are a barrier. It is a shambles.

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Pennox · 11/06/2022 15:19

Isnt the problem here that his predictions don't match the minimum requirements for the course. I'm pretty sure that maths, physics, CS at pretty much the top 4 rated unis for these subjects have a published A level requirements of at least one if not 2 A. And Oxford and Imperial are surely 3 A. He has been badly advised as there nust be scores of unis that have AAA requirements for those subjects, like Liverpool.

The only thing that might change for him is if he does actually get the A*s he can reapply next year with actual grades.

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calmlakes · 11/06/2022 15:21

Maybe universities should interview more?
I was interviewed 20 odd years ago for several of the Russell group universities I applied to.
As a comp school student it gave me a chance to share my passion for my degree subject.
It also seemed a good way of whittling down the numbers as the courses then also had at least ten times as many applicants as places available.

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Pennox · 11/06/2022 15:21

The stars have gone missing from my post but you know what I mean, he needed A stars in his predictions. And always would have done for those subjects at those unis surely?

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NCTDN · 11/06/2022 15:25

"Maths at Imperial is 1 in 14 chance of getting in."
Ooh where do you get these statistics from?

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TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross · 11/06/2022 15:28

Pennox · 11/06/2022 15:21

The stars have gone missing from my post but you know what I mean, he needed A stars in his predictions. And always would have done for those subjects at those unis surely?

The student in the article has A* in maths already and is predicted:
A*
A*
A

in his other A Levels. More than meets the grade requirements for the universities he’s applied for.

The MN font formatting has messed up some posts in a crucial way.

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daisypond · 11/06/2022 15:28

Pennox · 11/06/2022 15:19

Isnt the problem here that his predictions don't match the minimum requirements for the course. I'm pretty sure that maths, physics, CS at pretty much the top 4 rated unis for these subjects have a published A level requirements of at least one if not 2 A. And Oxford and Imperial are surely 3 A. He has been badly advised as there nust be scores of unis that have AAA requirements for those subjects, like Liverpool.

The only thing that might change for him is if he does actually get the A*s he can reapply next year with actual grades.

His grades exceed those required. No one can do better. He already has one A and is predicted three more A.

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daisypond · 11/06/2022 15:30

Sorry, that didn’t post properly- he already has one A-star and is predicted three more A-stars. It’s the best result anyone could get and exceeds the requirements.

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Discovereads · 11/06/2022 15:30

The student mentioned, Daniel. Does have 3 A*s.
It’s the MN sysytem turning the stars into bold text so you can’t see them.

He had:
Maths A star
Further Maths A star
Physics A star
Comp Sci A

So he did have the minimum grades even though as a student on FSM he would technically be eligible for a contextual offer at lower grades. The article doesn’t say which courses he applied for although thinking it is probably Maths as most Physics/Comp Sci students go for Cambridge over Oxford.

It’s a shame these Unis can’t use all that tuition money to expand and teach more students.

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Goodskin46 · 11/06/2022 15:30

This is a strawman. Numbers of 18 year olds go up and down. As a low birth year I was lucky to get a relatively low offer, a few years later it was harder.

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Discovereads · 11/06/2022 15:31

daisypond · 11/06/2022 15:30

Sorry, that didn’t post properly- he already has one A-star and is predicted three more A-stars. It’s the best result anyone could get and exceeds the requirements.

Not quite, his fourth grade in Comp Sci was an A not an A*
Hes predicted 3 A stars and 1 A.

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calmlakes · 11/06/2022 15:38

I'm not sure that teaching more students in each university is the answer.
One of the things I liked about my degrees were that they had small year groups which meant small lectures, even smaller seminar groups. Lecturers knowing their students as individuals and being able to give tailored support.
The larger the group being taught gets the less this is possible.

Maybe encouraging more universities to teach popular subjects would help?
In this case the dc did have a university place from somewhere reasonable they just chose not to take it up.

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UggyPow · 11/06/2022 15:41

The other universities are able to interview - my daughter was interviewed for Manchester University. Her course is incredibly competitive requiring 2A* & A - these children haven’t sat exams. The examining Boards are not sticking to the Advanced information that they agreed - 25% of a paper this week was on something they were advised they wouldn’t need & the topic that was supposed to be tested extensively was barely on there.
I am aware of an issue where some Uni’s are taking in more foreign students for the inflated amounts they pay as the uni’s need the money after the past few years with less income.
I know of someone who is predicted 3A* & applied for 2 courses at Durham - they are a young carer & an exceptional athlete in their field & was rejected from both in early June….
It’s just crazy & really difficult for them

The GCSE’s are just as bad 9 mark questions on a topic that was removed from the syllabus…..

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crosstalk · 11/06/2022 15:49

The lad with those high predictions from a state school and on free school meals should be looking at the US. He could get great bursaries and a world of opportunity. Or to some of the EU schools, though it's become less easy after Brexit.
Or apply for one of Euan Blair's apprenticeships where you get paid to train and can get a career immediately. The problem is you need to know what apprenticeship you want, where university gives you a moment to breathe and work it out.

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beeswain · 11/06/2022 15:55

For Maths and CS the universities mentioned also filter by MAT results which presumably the student in question took as he applied to Oxford. So despite bring predicted 3 x A* the MAT score may not have met a threshold gor interview ir offer. Impossible to know of course.

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Xenia · 11/06/2022 15:56

Sometimes it is best to pick a course few want to do with ower grades required I suppose.

Also has he done his exams at different times - that often looks bad as it seems like you cannot cope with doing them all in the same year may be?

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daisypond · 11/06/2022 16:06

Discovereads · 11/06/2022 15:31

Not quite, his fourth grade in Comp Sci was an A not an A*
Hes predicted 3 A stars and 1 A.

Oh, yes, fair enough

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CharlieSJ · 11/06/2022 16:06

BigWoollyJumpers · 11/06/2022 15:09

Daniel Merrett, 17, a student at a state school in Portsmouth who was on free school meals, has an A in maths and is predicted AAA in further maths, physics and computer science. But he was rejected by his four top choices of Oxford, Imperial College, Warwick and Bath. He received the decisions very late in the cycle and has decided to reapply next year rather than take up his insurance offer from Liverpool*

But this is the issue. Assuming he is applying for Maths, or CompSci, these four universities are the most popular for those courses, every, single, student will have four A*, and they have thousands of applicants. It's like Oxbridge, you only have a one in four chance of getting in, if all of your other choices are also only one in four, or less, then the odds are against you, even in normal years.

You have misquoted his predicted grades from the article,, your comment should read "Daniel Merrett, 17, a student at a state school in Portsmouth who was on free school meals, has an A in maths and is predicted AA*A (A star, A star A) in further maths, physics and computer science. But he was rejected by his four top choices of Oxford, Imperial College, Warwick and Bath. He received the decisions very late in the cycle and has decided to reapply next year rather than take up his insurance offer from Liverpool."

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daisypond · 11/06/2022 16:09

@CharlieSJ

it is a fault in MN , meaning the star is transposed into a bold command when copying. It’s happened in your own comment too if you look.

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Matchingcollarandcuffs · 11/06/2022 16:12

NCTDN · 11/06/2022 15:25

"Maths at Imperial is 1 in 14 chance of getting in."
Ooh where do you get these statistics from?

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Matchingcollarandcuffs · 11/06/2022 16:15

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross · 11/06/2022 15:28

The student in the article has A* in maths already and is predicted:
A*
A*
A

in his other A Levels. More than meets the grade requirements for the universities he’s applied for.

The MN font formatting has messed up some posts in a crucial way.

He would need A * in Maths and further maths, normally sat in one sitting. He already has an A in Maths so not only had he not meet the requirement but it's over more than one sitting.

I agree that last couple of years have completely effed over this year's cohort, tbh last year's were stymmied by the u turn after the debacle in 2020 that just knocked everything out

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