Monday, 15 February 2010

Time for a more rigorous University admissions process? - Letter to the Daily Telegraph

Unpublished letter to the Daily Telegraph

“The Government is committed to ensuring that entry to university is determined by aptitude, potential and merit, not where a student was educated” ["University bias hits private straight-A students" Daily Telegraph 13/02/10].

If we are going to lay a greater emphasis on "aptitude or potential" over and above "merit", then there needs to be a more rigorous university entrance system with transparent, objective criteria on which to base their decisions. Without a system, such as that practised by Oxford and Cambridge colleges, where all serious applicants are interviewed and most are tested further as part of the application process, it is difficult to understand how an A-level student with straight-A* predictions at A-level can be rejected. How can a university evaluate a candidate's aptitude or potential solely on the basis of what is written on a UCAS form?

Mark S Steed
Principal, Berkhamsted School
Berkhamsted, Herts

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