Baccalaureate beats A-level, say universities

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The Independent Online

The vast majority of university admissions tutors favour candidates who have taken the international baccalaureate (IB) rather than A-levels, research shows.

The findings are another nail in the coffin of A-levels after the Government's refusal to replace them with a diploma covering academic and vocational qualifications. A-levels are also threatened byan alternative exam, the Cambridge Pre-U, considered more likely to stretch the brightest pupils.

A survey of 52 admissions tutors representing a wide range of universities showed half believe the IB gives students an advantage over A-levels in preparing them for university. Not one tutor believed students who took A-levels had an advantage.

The research, by ACS, which operates international schools in the UK, also showed that 84 per cent felt IB students develop the self-management skills necessary to cope with a university course, and only 35 per cent thought they could be developed by A-levels.

Ucas, the Universities and Colleges Admissions System, has decided to give the IB a higher points ranking for university entrance than A-level. The maximum score of 45 in the IB qualifies for 768 points, while four A grade passes at A-level would obtain 520 points.