College entry ‘must be background, not simply exams’ (News)

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The college entry watchdog says college students’ backgrounds must be taken under consideration when awarding locations, to enhance “equality of alternative”.

A-level grades are a “sturdy measure” provided that the candidates’ “context” can be thought of, Chris Millward says.

Many universities give further assist to deprived candidates – however a report warns of an absence of openness about how this operates.

All Russell Group universities use some type of “contextual admissions”.

High universities have confronted accusations of being socially unique and recruiting too few candidates from ethnic minorities.

However additionally they face scrutiny for being unfair to particular person candidates who may lose out on locations to deprived candidates with worse outcomes.

Decrease grades

A report from the Honest Schooling Alliance marketing campaign group says there must be way more transparency about how universities use the background of candidates when making presents and awarding locations.

The marketing campaign group, of greater than 100 training and enterprise organisations, says this will embrace taking into consideration household earnings, whether or not an applicant lives in a disadvantaged space or in the event that they attended a faculty with poor examination outcomes or the place few pupils go on to school.

There could be further consideration given to functions from deprived pupils or they could be supplied locations on decrease grades.

However the report says there must be way more readability about these choices and the way totally different types of drawback are outlined.

Analysis for the report, carried out by the College of Exeter, exhibits the extent of the problem – with figures displaying how few locations in 2016 had been awarded to candidates from areas with few younger folks going to school.

The College of Cambridge had solely 3% of entrants from such “low participation neighbourhoods”, the College of Bristol 3.7%, Oxford 4.6% and Exeter 5.3%.

‘The place a pupil grew up’

Mr Millward, the Workplace for College students’ director of truthful entry and participation, stated: “We’re a good distance from equality of alternative in relation to entry to increased training.”

Universities are in control of their very own admissions, so the truthful entry director can encourage however not instruct.

However Mr Millward stated: “An bold strategy to contextual admissions have to be central to our technique if we’re going to make progress on entry on the scale and tempo mandatory to satisfy the expectations of presidency, college students and the broader public.

“A-level grades can solely be thought of to be a sturdy measure of potential if they’re thought of alongside the context through which they’re achieved,” he stated.

Sarah Stevens, of the Russell Group, stated that each one of its universities used “contextual information” in some type.

“{Qualifications} and predicted grades are a key indicator of educational means – however universities take a variety of different components under consideration to know the applicant’s achievements in context,” she stated.

“This consists of the college or school attended, the place a pupil grew up, whether or not they’re a care leaver, or whether or not they’re the primary of their household to enter increased training.”

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