A* fears over university admissions
09 Feb 2008
Could the planned new A* grade at A-level have unintended effects on university admissions?
Looking through the evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Schools, I was very struck by the forceful views from the 1994 Group of universities that the extra top grade (for those getting over 90% in A-levels) could lead to pupils from top independent schools (and other highly selective schools) gaining an even tighter grip on admissions to elite universities.
If this simply meant that universities were selecting the applicants with the most potential, no-one should object, whatever the effect on widening participation.
But if it means that admissions will be tilted even further towards those who have received the best preparation and coaching, then surely that would be a retrograde step?
Once again this raises the tricky issue of whether university admissions should be based on prior achievement alone or whether an assessment of potential should be included.
More on this in my column this week for the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7235163.stm