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Oxford University College Accepts All Students Despite A-Level Results

Oxford University College Accepts All Students Despite A-Level Results

A college at the University of Oxford has accepted all students it had offered places to in the UK, despite their A-Level results.

The admissions tutor of Worcester College at the prestigious university, said the algorithm the government used was particularly unfair to bright students from traditionally low-performing schools.

Speaking to LBC, Professor Laura Ashe said the system produced by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) was just "wrong".

She said: "Groups of students that were underrepresented at Oxford, students who come from more disadvantaged backgrounds were disproportionately affected by this year's grades.

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"It was announced just quite recently by Ofqual that the prior performance of schools was going to play a key role in how that grades were calculated and that means if someone is the brightest person their school has ever seen their grade was going to be pulled down by the fact other people in earlier years hasn't performed as well.

"And that seemed wrong for us."

Thousands of pupils were disappointed with their A-Level grades. Credit: PA
Thousands of pupils were disappointed with their A-Level grades. Credit: PA

Prof Ashe told Rachel Johnson - the sister of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson - that the university had decided very early on to change their approach towards next year's cohort.

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"In a normal year we over offer a bit and we assume that some people won't make their grades and then we don't accept them," she said.

"But when A-levels were cancelled and we realised this was going to mean that none of these students were going to actually be taking these exams we felt that we weren't going to have any new information that reflected directly on their ability or their potential.

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"So we took the view at that point that we were going to need to find a way to make places for all these people."

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has been criticised for his handling of this year's exams. Credit: PA
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has been criticised for his handling of this year's exams. Credit: PA
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Since the UK's students received their results on Wednesday (13 August), the government and, in particular, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson have been heavily critcised by parents, teachers, and fellow politicians for their handling of exams.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said the GCSE and A-Level results were a "fiasco".

He said: "Across the last twenty four hours we have heard heartbreaking stories and the scale of injustice caused by the fatally flawed results system has become clear.

"Young people and parents right across the country, in every town and city, feel let down and betrayed. The unprecedented and chaotic circumstances created by the UK government's mishandling of education during recent months mean that a return to teacher assessments is now the best option available. No young person should be at a detriment due to government incompetence.

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"Time is running out. We need action in days, not weeks. That also means an urgent technical review of the standardisation model ahead of GCSE results next week. We need to end this fiasco."

However, a spokesperson for Ofqual defended its position, claiming the grades handed out by teachers were too high.

They said: "Because there was no opportunity to develop a common approach to grading, the standard applied by different schools and colleges varies greatly.

"A rare few centres put in implausibly high judgments, including one which submitted all A* and A grades for students in two subjects, where previously there had been normal distribution."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]