Oxford student thwarts ban on college 'league'

THE ATTEMPT by Oxford University to prevent the publication of an annual league table of college performance - the Norrington table - has been thwarted by an enterprising languages graduate.

The university decided that the Norrington table, much pored- over by sixth formers as a crude comparison of each college's academic success, was an invidious publication that should be stifled. It therefore decided no longer to list degree results with the candidates' colleges alongside.

The university authorities assumed that their move would render compilation of the table impossible. However, Brian Jenner, a 1991 graduate in French and German from Brasenose College, has traced all 3,014 finals candidates who were awarded a degree this year by linking their names to the university's matriculation lists.

The result is a reliable reproduction of the table, calculated in exactly the same way as Norrington. The table was named after Sir Arthur Norrington, a former president of Trinity College, who proposed the idea in 1963.

Merton comes top for the seventh time, with St John's second (it had topped the league in six previous years). Corpus Christi rejoins the three leaders, having slipped last year to eighth place.

Those Oxford dons who have opposed the publication of the table will be infuriated to see it re- appear. But the denizens of Lady Margaret Hall's senior common room will probably be delighted to see their college rise from 20th last year to fifth place - alongside Balliol - this year.

Wadham suffers the sharpest slide, down from third place to 17th, with Keble dropping from seventh to 18th. As before, all- women's colleges find themselves at the bottom of the table.

The proportion of first class degrees awarded has risen from 16.3 per cent to 18 per cent, and the proportion of thirds is down from 4.7 per cent to 3.7 per cent. The largest group of students attained upper seconds: 44.9 per cent.

The main criticism is that the table measures only undergraduate performance at finals, without reference to the quality of graduate and research work, or broader educational achievements.

Some dons, however, have argued that the university's attempt to prevent the table's compilation is a form of anti-competitive censorship. David Coleman, of the applied social studies department, argued in the Oxford Magazine last year: 'Why should colleges or other educational institutions be shielded from comparison? They claim to be offering educational services with at least the implication of worthwhile result. They charge fees to their students. They depend, directly or indirectly, upon large sums of public money. Why, then, should those who have to choose between colleges be deprived of the factual basis for any kind of performance indicator other than the old boy network?'

It seems unlikely that the university will change its mind, in spite of the apparent paradox that one of Britain's top higher education institutions is attempting to abandon its performance league in the same year that exam tables of schools are being published for the first time.

Oxford's ruling council has been considering the publication of more extensive information in some other form. But, as Mr Jenner has demonstrated, it can only prevent the compilation of an 'unofficial' table by refusing to publish degree lists altogether.

The table is calculated by awarding five points for a first class degree, three for an upper second, two for a lower second, and one for a third. The points are then added together, and expressed as a percentage of the maximum possible score.

----------------------------------------------------------------- THE NORRINGTON TABLE ----------------------------------------------------------------- Position* College Pts 1 2:1 2:2 3 Max % ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 (6) Merton 273 27 39 10 1 385 70.9 2 (1) St John's 389 38 58 11 3 550 70.7 3 (8) Corpus Christi 180 12 35 7 1 275 65.5 4 (11) Jesus 284 20 51 14 3 440 64.6 5 (2) Balliol 379 30 59 23 6 590 64.2 5 (20) Lady Marg. Hall 363 25 65 20 3 565 64.2 7 (19) Trinity 265 22 40 14 7 415 63.9 7 (5) University 348 23 64 19 3 545 63.9 9 (4) Magdalen 366 26 63 21 5 575 63.7 10 (12) Exeter 280 20 45 21 3 445 62.9 11 (22) Pembroke 307 19 58 17 4 490 62.7 12 (18) New College 389 23 73 26 3 625 62.2 13 (10) Hertford 326 20 59 23 3 525 62.1 14 (9) Queens 313 21 52 24 4 505 62.0 15 (13) Lincoln 223 11 47 13 1 360 61.9 16 (17) Christ Church 378 24 65 29 5 615 61.5 17 (3) Wadham 371 21 66 34 0 605 61.3 18 (7) Keble 336 14 75 20 1 550 61.1 19 (14) Oriel 257 12 53 17 4 430 59.8 20 (15) Brasenose 326 17 58 32 3 550 59.3 21 (16) St Catherine's 388 17 77 33 6 665 58.3 22 (28) St Hugh's 311 14 62 24 7 535 58.1 23 (21) Worcester 307 11 67 23 5 530 57.9 24 (25) Somerville 332 12 71 27 5 575 57.7 25 (26) St Peter's 245 11 45 26 3 425 57.6 26 (24) St Edmund Hall 355 14 71 33 6 620 57.2 27 (27) St Anne's 377 17 64 47 6 675 55.9 28 (23) St Hilda's 300 8 67 26 7 540 55.6 ----------------------------------------------------------------- * Last year's figures in brackets -----------------------------------------------------------------

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice