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Cambridge demand A* grade

发布:wenhui    时间:2009-03-17 15:52:41     浏览:2221次    [划词翻译已启用]

The university became the first major institution in Britain to confirm it would employ the new top grade after admitting it could no longer choose between applicants with three As alone.

In 2007, Cambridge was forced to reject around 5,500 sixth-formers who applied with straight As in exams.

The move comes despite a decision by other leading universities - including Oxford - to reject the A* amid fears it will lead to a huge rise in the number of teenagers from independent and grammar schools being admitted.

They said the move would potentially discriminate against pupils from state comprehensives.

But Cambridge's decision has been welcomed by academics and head teachers who said the existing system was no longer practical.

Last summer, more than a quarter of A-level exams sat in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were awarded an A grade and the rate has more than doubled in 20 years.

University admissions tutors have admitted that the rise has made it almost impossible to distinguish between average and very bright degree applicants. It has led to many institutions bringing in their own entrance tests.

Under sweeping reforms of exams taken by around 300,000 teenagers every year, top students leaving schools and sixth-forms will be awarded the new higher A* in 2010.

Yesterday, Cambridge announced it would revise its "standard offer" from AAA to A*AA for entry next year.

In a statement, it said it was "unable to make offers to a record number of students" last summer who all met the previous entry requirements.

"It raises the issue again of how difficult it is for admissions tutors to differentiate between the increasing numbers of candidates gaining three As at A-level," it said. "The introduction of the A* grade at A-level has been welcomed by Cambridge as a possible way of addressing this difficulty."

However, Geoff Parks, the university's director of admissions, said it would still consider making allowances for some students, including those suffering health problems at the time of the exam.

It will also allow Cambridge to make lower offers to students from the worst schools. It comes despite continuing concerns over "social engineering".

"It's important to recognise that the usual checks and balances will be in place to ensure that all Cambridge applicants will be given careful, detailed consideration and that this decision won't disadvantage students from any one given background over another," said Dr Parks.

"The scheme allows circumstances that might impair a student's exam performance to be taken into account, including for instance, where an applicant's school or college has limited success in sending students on to higher education and where the applicant's family has little or no experience of HE."


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