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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:43 pm 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12199669

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The government is considering overhauling the timing of A-level exams and results so pupils can apply to universities with their grades.


I would be in favour of that, make life a bit less stressful. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:49 pm 
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I think it is a really good idea, and would take so much pressure off of the students and their poor parents

I wonder if the exams will stay at the same time or if the university courses will start later ?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:49 pm 
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just seen this - far more straight forward for kids but not sure how they will manage it - unless the xams are much earlier the kids will only have a short time between the results , deciding where to apply - getting an offer and attending.. Maybe an enforced gap year is in the offing


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:01 pm 
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I suspect that many more universities would follow Oxford by setting thier own entrance tests. This would hardly help those from poorer backgrounds.
Miss Magwich had to do the History Aptitude Test in November (it was difficult, not easy to prepare for and cost us nearly £200 for a weekend course) and didn't help stress levels when Oxford themselves confirmed that they used it to screen out the bottom 25 -30% of applicants!
If other unis and groups of unis like the Russell group alldid something similar the the applications process would become much less transparent and require even more research by poor Mother Magwich!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:26 pm 
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Seems like exams will be taken earlier

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... sults.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:42 pm 
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It's a nice idea but I'm not sure anyone has really thought it through. First it would mean exams would have to happen in January of year 13 to make any difference in timings (anyone who believes universities would change to accommodate schools is dreaming!). That means either abandoning AS Levels (no tears there) or allowing one term's teaching between AS and A2. A four term A level would necessarily have to reduce content. Finally, what are year 13 students to do between February and October - and what are the teachers employed to teach them going to do?

A nice idea but either the universities or the schools have to begin their year in January.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:01 pm 
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Could be even more interesting if none of the exams are going to be modular. The French do manage to mark within a couple of weeks of taking the Bac, but I'm not sure how (perhaps by the classroom teachers, thus giving them something to do after the pupils have finished :) ).


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:29 am 
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The Telegraph describes it a bit differently: slightly earlier exams, University starting in January.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/ed ... rsity.html

It seems to amount to almost a gap year for everyone.

When I applied for university (a long time ago in a land far away), we filled out a form listing the university courses we wanted to apply for in rank order, and the various courses and universities took the highest scoring applicants when our results became available. (Not unlike applying for grammar schools here and now.) Past cutoff levels for each course were published, giving us a rough idea of the relative difficulty of getting into them. However our counterparts of A-levels were broader and the results more fine-grained than here.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:18 pm 
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Everyone having results before they apply sounds like a rubbish idea to me. I thought they were trying to save money. Why would this save money? Whatever system one has, there's always uncertainty. OK, so you have the results, but you still don't know whether you'll get a place at the uni of your choice. Maybe it saves a small amount of money at the uni end but if they are oversubscribed they still have to distinguish between candidates. In the days of computerisation, will it really make that much difference to the admin at the university end and UCAS?

Best way to save money would be not to bother reading the UCAS statements.

And if it is changed, unless they speed up the marking enormously (get prisoners to do it?) you change it so that everyone has to have a few months off before they start on a course. What is the point? It delays entering the world of the unemployed graduate for a few more months I suppose?

The only way you have certainty is by saying that people have to go to the closest provider of the course they have applied for, take in way too many people on some courses, too few on others, chuck out the bottom students after a few months on the courses that are too full, and close down the courses that don't have enough people on them. So you have certainty of getting on the course, no choice, and no certainly whether you will complete it or not.

Review completed.

Is this a job the tories have given the lib dems to keep them out of mischief for a while?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:32 pm 
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Just read the article. If it's about some students (typically those from poorer backgrounds) having their grades underpredicted, then it's surely better to tackle that, than change a whole system because of teacher's poor efforts at predicting.

I would have thought that predicting A level grades must be so much easier than it ever was ----- after all, teachers have the results of AS levels at the time that they are making the A level predictions.

If it's a problem with predictions, then one could have a system less dependent on predictions (like the one FM suggested).

It might also be a good idea to look at other problems with the current system - currently students have to narrow down to two offers - one of which is a back-up. I think quite often students choose a back-up that they really don't want at all but that is a terribly safe bet. This means then that they are not as ambitious as they might be with the offer that they hold conditionally, as everything hangs on it alone.

And some don't get any offers at all.

These are the things that need examining.

OK, so it might all be sorted by applying with results in hand, but then again it might not. The pupils (from poorer backgrounds) who would have had poor predictions might instead get a poor reference from the schools that would have given them poor predictions.

So maybe the school reference needs to be taken away altogether. That's not a bad idea, but could / should unis choose between applicants on the basis of A level results alone?


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