A-levels no guide to best students, says Professor AC Grayling


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The Independent Online

A-level results cannot be relied on to determine university admissions, a leading academic said yesterday.

Professor AC Grayling – the philosopher setting up an £18,000-a-year London university – said the exams were part of a "tyranny" distorting education. His New College of the Humanities is offering places to candidates with potential but less than three A grades – despite previously setting that as a requirement.

"We intend to interview personally every plausible-looking candidate because we can't rely as much as we would like to on A-level and GCSE results," he told the Headmasters and Headmistresses' Conference, which represents 250 top private schools.

"We can get students with a number of A* grades who are not particularly thoughtful and those who are less prepared on paper who are genuinely interesting."

Speaking in St Andrews, Fife, he criticised the fact youngsters took exams every year for six years.

"It is a tyranny and distorts the education process," he said. "It actually narrows the architecture of what they get from their education."

Education secretary Michael Gove has ordered an A-level review aimed at stretching pupils' thinking skills.