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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:17 pm 
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Did anyone read the article and letter in the Sunday Times. Apparently Durham have turned down an application from a young man with 4 A grades because he comes from a school where this is a normal result at A level, presumably an independant school, in favour of some sort of formula. Is this really the best way to screen under grads??.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:28 pm 
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It's not the best way, but it's a viable option. The part of the report which I found revealing was the howls of outrage from parents of pupils at independent schools - 'but we PAID!' being the gist of it.

As anyone who has taught at an indie school can tell you, their pupils are not inherently brighter, just much better taught, and much better coached for exams. 'Spoon-fed' is the phrase I have heard most frequently from my many teacher friends at indies - 'C intellect, A results' is another.

I would go further, and use a similar method for grammar school admission. How about penalizing a girl from a prep where they have 3 solid years of coaching for the 11+? After all, as most GS teachers will tell you, it is the ones from the intensive preps who will be the 'strugglers' once they are in GS!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:01 pm 
Hi Huntlie,

When it comes to entrance to St Paul's it is arguably one of the most selective schools in the country - I would guess within the top 5. No child there has a C intellect.

I personally think it is rather condescending to say, as stated in the article I read, that a child from a certain school should gain entry because they didn't have good teaching because a lower than average number get good GCSE's. I would say that this school has good teaching but a cohort who may be disadvantaged socially, economically and academically. That does not mean that teaching is not good and the child who got good grades did it despite the school they were in. My experience of state schools were that all the riff-raff left at 16 and the ones who stayed on got fantastic results. If you compared the GCSE avergae to the A'level A grade average one would assume the school was awful pre A'level. This is simply not the case. If Durham is going to look at results based on GCSE averages then they should look at A'level averages for the school not GCSE. If the average was 3 C's and a child got AAB then I could see the point to this but not GCSE's!

The woman that was upset said she struggled to send to indie not that she had "PAID".

EDIT: I don't think because I've paid it should automatically mean that DC should get into any university but I also think he shouldn't be penalised for it. These are children afterall and it stuns me how harsh people can be when it comes to thinking its ok to screw up a childs future as long as their kids are ok! :x At the end of the day the private school kids will end up at the most elite uni's if they are not gaining admission to British ones, or they will all end up at the same uni and "jobs for the boys" will be further perpetuated! :roll:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:34 pm 
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Warning!! Not to be read by those without a sense of humour

Perhaps it is time to close all Private schools then there would be a massive impetus from politicians to improve all state schools - their children would have to attend one and this might focus minds! :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:34 am
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Location: S East
huntlie wrote:
'C intellect, A results' is another.



The problem with Durham's decision is that it disregards the results of the exams (A-level). Once you start making exceptions for certain applicants, you bring your entire selection process into disrepute. What was objective becomes subjective, and loses credibility.
What is a child from that school supposed to achieve: 5 A-levels, 6.....

The background issue here is of course an exam system where it is perceived that a C intellect can achieve an A. When 25% reach the highest grade (compared with 10% twenty years ago) the grade is devalued and one can belittle 4 As with impunity. For the more challenging degree courses, Cambridge and Imperial already have their own entrance exams. It would appear that Durham does not believe in the existing exam system either.

_________________
Exams are formidable for the best prepared. The greatest fool may ask what the wisest man cannot answer.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:04 pm 
For all the socialists on here :wink: who think this is a good idea then your DC's will suffer too if they are at GS. It will be interesting to see if Durham base its criteria only on GCSE's or if GS won't be included in this system.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:43 am
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I read the actual article.

Durham don't "disregard" the actual exams. However, they do a points adjustment according to the average results for the school - so nothing (directly) to do with whether schools are indie, state selective or comp.

Part of the problem is that unis like Durham get so many high flying applicants, they have to have some way to distinguish between them. The new A* at A level may help, but other than than it's either down to some sort of random element or some other sort of selection.

The bigger issue is when/if you stop making allowances for various things: whether extra time in exams for a variety of reasons, age adjustment, points boost because low socio economic group etc. There comes a point where we are measured for what we are, regardless of history: however unfair it my seem, I can't tell my boss I need 25% extra time or 25% less work because I'm dyslexic!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:53 pm 
Durham's policy would only be fair, in my opinion, if there wasn't such a low ceiling on the GCSE and A level results that kids are able to achieve. In the 1970s when I did my A levels (yes, I am really old enough to be your mother, Tipsy :oops: ) we felt the sky was really the limit in terms of the amount and quality of work we did if we had a passion for a particular subject, and no teacher had to tell us to take care not to venture from the syllabus or marking scheme when answering A level questions as the teachers of exceptionally able and imaginative pupils have to these days. It is the most blatant social engineering to simply discard a pupil because he has been to a high achieving school when there is no way he could prove whether his potential for a place at Durham was greater or lesser than someone from a low achieving comp, given that the highest either of them could score was a grade A. Anyway, who's to say that the boy from the comp wasn't privately tutored by teachers from a school similar to St Paul's - no-one would know, least of all the admissions tutor from Durham.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:07 pm 
Some sort of IQ test alongside proof of work ethic may be a good test. I have an IQ that is lower than lots of people think (well maybe not the smarties on here) so it may be easy to outwardly fake how clever you are but the test shouldn't lie.

Then there is the argument for a child who has been on a free place at an excellent school but then cannot get into a good uni. Would it have been better for him to have gone to his comp? I think not!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 9:09 pm
Posts: 23
Dear guest55

Everyone else seems to have ignored you, but what a very wise suggestion. Abolish grammar schools too. Imagine how lovely it would be - just like most other countries in Europe. All children go to their local school. The schools would thrive, as they would have all the GS kids in their intake, as well as all those supportive parents! And we could pay the teachers more too.

One day...


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