Cambridge University considers having an entrance test

 

Cambridge University announced a review of its admissions procedures today in the wake of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s A-level reforms.

Admissions tutors will consider whether to introduce pre-interview tests for all applicants or tests to be sat by candidates at the same time they attend interview.

The university’s decision to review admissions is likely to be followed by many others - who believe they will lack information about the ability of students in the wake of the decision to scrap AS levels in their present form.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK - the body which represents all UK vice-chancellors, said: “The proposals that AS levels no longer contribute to the A-level will cause difficulties.

“For some universities, this will be a significant change as they use AS-levels as part of the evidence in their decision making.

“This could mean that they will now need to place more emphasis on other evidence.”

In Cambridge’s case, it is worried that the Government’s proposals - which would see AS-levels as a standalone exam in their right unlikely to be taken in subjects students are likely to pursue at university (as at present)  - will leave them with no information about candidates’ achievements in the sixth-form. At present, AS-level results are a key factor in determining who they accept or reject.

Mike Sewell, director of admissions for all the Cambridge colleges, said: “We feel there is a benefit to having an end of year exam which is an indication of a student’s ability that comes very close to when they apply to UCAS for a university place.

“At present between 15 and 20 per cent of applications are declined prior to interview - and AS level results play a large part in those decisions.

“We have to consider whether we should instead have pre-interview testing or testing at the time of the interview.  All of these things we need to look at very carefully.”

Mr Sewell added that - under the present proposed timetable - the university would have to have a new admissions system up and operating in time for students who intend to start on university courses in September 2017.

At present, most sixth-formers take four subjects at AS-level - and then drop their weakest suite as they progress to A-levels in the other three.

Ms Dandridge said that other universities may go back to placing more reliance on schools’ predictions of their pupils’ result - although research has shown that these can be unreliable.

Another factor likely to prompt universities to review admission procedures is the decision to allow them to recruit as many students as they want - provided they have at least an A and two B’s at A-level from this September.

University sources said this meant they would need more reliable information about students’ achievements - not less.  This could lead to some copying Cambridge and going down the route of setting more tests.

Mr Gove has said that he wants to replace the present system - with one which is more rigorous and requires more “deep thought” and relies on end of second-year examinations rather than modules taken over the tw0-year period.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary TA - West London - Autumn

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary TA - West London

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones