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Minister says letting pupils into university with three Es is 'lunacy'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Shedman, May 2, 2019.

  1. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter


    Letting pupils with three Es at A level go to university is “a lunacy”, an education minister has said.

    Lord Agnew told a room of school leaders: “Why are we letting kids go to university with three Es at A level? Why? It’s a lunacy.

    “There are people who are going to have to pick up the tab for that kind of madness.”

    He also criticised a lack of academic rigour among pupils, saying that it was partly down to the increased use of social media.

    Don't these politicians realise that the things they rail against are the outcomes of their own actions? The university system is changed so funding depends on bums on seats and then the perpetrators of the system moan that students are admitted to universities with poor A-level results. The same happens in schools where students are encouraged to enter the sixth form to study A-levels when they would be far better suited to a vocational course at the local college. Financial imperatives means that schools, colleges and universities may not be acting in the genuine interests of the students but in the interests of their bank balances.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Looking at grade boundaries for a 2018 chemistry paper, the E threshold was 19%.
    I have some struggling students, so this may seem like good news for them (and my statistics), but even though it was a hard paper, it didn't feel like a good indicator for successful further study in a related subject.

    On the other hand I have known students with low grade A levels go on to do well on the right course. My daughter got rather middling A levels, then a 2:1 and is now on course for success in a Master's.
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    My current view is that if a Minister says something, then the opposite statement is probably more true.
    Shedman and agathamorse like this.
  4. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    It was 19% and remember that the average students' score was boosted by 5 marks per paper by changing the mark scheme after the first pass marking..... As we were told at the AQA area meeting... Which is rather worrying.
    Shedman likes this.
  5. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    We are also increasingly finding that if students miss the required A-levels for their course the university will accept them anyway. A large number of our students have unconditional offers which for some of them means they end up with much lower grades than they could have got because there is no incentive to put the effort in. All because, as Shedman says we have changed our university system so that the bottom line is now money, rather than academic rigour.
    minnie me, Shedman, eljefeb90 and 3 others like this.
  6. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I have a mate who got into a high brow University with four Es. She got an Unconditional offer and then did really well. Some just do better and besides Universities are only too happy to take money these days.

    As well as that, education is a mess anyway eg students who go to private schools get to do easier igcses and to pretend the grades are of equal value to tougher gcses done in state schools - that is real lunacy.
    minnie me, Shedman and agathamorse like this.
  7. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    No, no they don’t. :mad:
  8. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Students struggle @ KS5 because they have been spoon fed and ' interventioned ' out @ KS4 because of the need to achieve headline figures.By academic rigour does he mean regurgitating facts in exam conditions ? This does not a life long learner make ! I think the system to blame and I suspect many young adults could succeed at University given a combination of factors .Poor form to make such a sweeping generalisation.
  9. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    We are spoon feeding at A level too. After school intervention, Saturday school, drop down days ...no suggestion they take any responsibility for their own learning. I have heard from the admin assistant who works with the 6th form that around a third of our ex pupils drop out by the end of the first year. Sadly this does not surprise me. Our more able pupils all think they are Oxbridge material thanks to a culture of raising expectations, most are not and we are doing them no favours. I suspect they get a huge shock when they arrive at University and are small fish in a big pond. I went to University in the late 70's early 80's and still vividly remember being amazed how clever the best students were and wondering how on earth I had managed to get in ( I got a 2i)
    agathamorse and blueskydreaming like this.
  10. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    "The overall finals performance was, let us say, a little..eh..patchy but as all you cheques have cleared, I am pleased to announce that all of you have graduated. As you leave, please pick up a leaflet, giving details of our cap and gown hire service."
  11. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    And don't forget the 'opportunity' to contribute to the university development fund set up to expand and diversify the university's provision so we can get even more bums on seats for Mickey Mouse degrees.
  12. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    When I attended my local 6th form I had no idea about selecting a suitable place to be taught A Levels. There were many contributing factors that lead to me receiving terrible grades in certain subjects that were out of my control. I was perfectly capable of studying at university and achieved a respectable grade. If I hadn’t gone to university, I’d never have been able to get into teaching and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and I’ve been told I’m very good at it.

    Grades, as we know, don’t always reflect ability, they are shaped by many factors. Just like KS3 teachers don’t trust KS2 SATS results, universities are entitled to take a gamble.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    May a heavy block of irony squash him on the head!
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    [QUOTE="Lalex123, post: 12814561, member: 6640477"

    Grades, as we know, don’t always reflect ability, they are shaped by many factors. Just like KS3 teachers don’t trust KS2 SATS results, universities are entitled to take a gamble.[/QUOTE]
    I would agree but only if Universities interview candidates and other than medicine/Oxbridge this rarely seems to happen any more. My daughter impressed a high ranking university at interview and they took her despite the fact she missed her target grades by quite a wide margin.She went on to get a top degree and a PhD in science.
    Lalex123 likes this.
  15. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    I know a lot about smaller Universities (usually the former Polys and teacher training colleges) and they are desperate for numbers.

    They have to risk this against high dropout rates**, so a lot of time can be spent coaching and supporting an increasing number of students who wouldn’t have been accepted on the course before the funding changes.

    This is my experience. Someone else’s might be different.

    As a side issue, last week I heard of a university Dept Head who was threatened with physical violence by a parent because of a student being thrown off a course because of her (the student) dismal performance.

    ** a big issue in ITT because Ofsted look at this data and you can get a kicking if you have a high dropout rate.
    Shedman likes this.

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