Universities should run A Levels.

#1
At least according to the Conservatives' higher education spokesman, David Willetts.

Universities which complain about A-levels should "put their money where their mouth is" says higher education spokesman David Willetts.
Alternatively, perhaps the Party which hopes to govern after the next election should tell us how they intend to make the Secondary School education system do what it's supposed to, instead of passing the buck somewhere else? I don't think that's unreasonable under the circumstances.
 
#2
Willets needs to get a clue, then.

Universities were running intro courses and extra stuff to get people caught up to the expected A-level standard for university entrance to my certain knowledge over ten years ago.

All the best,

John.
 
#3
John_D said:
Willets needs to get a clue, then.

Universities were running intro courses and extra stuff to get people caught up to the expected A-level standard for university entrance to my certain knowledge over ten years ago.

All the best,

John.
They were running them in 1994 when I applied to Keele
 
#4
Most universities run summer schools or intro courses as part of the Widening Participation agenda. They're there to give a second chance to people who maybe went to a crap school or just weren't interested at the time in buckling down. The success rate is pretty good and the dropout rate from degree programmes of people who've been through WP is substantially lower than Direct Entry students.

That's a different thing entirely to what this pillock is proposing, which is that universities take over the entire 17-18 yr old phase of secondary education in England and Wales.
 
#5
There's a difference between Foundation Studies/other such introductory courses to widen HE participation, and routinely running A-levels for the 17-18 bracket.

I don't believe the latter has ever been the norm, can anyone confirm otherwise?

[Edited for hangover]
 
#6
It has never been the norm. There was even e great debate about running participation courses for WP, as this departed quite radically from the traditional HE remit.

Secondary education has always been the responsibility of secondary schools. If the prospective Minister for Higher Education thinks they're not producing the goods, perhaps he should focus his efforts on making them rather than just palming responsibility off onto universities.
 
#7
smartascarrots said:
It has never been the norm. There was even e great debate about running participation courses for WP, as this departed quite radically from the traditional HE remit.

Secondary education has always been the responsibility of secondary schools. If the prospective Minister for Higher Education thinks they're not producing the goods, perhaps he should focus his efforts on making them rather than just palming responsibility off onto universities.
I am in complete agreement.
Fix the secondary system rather than duck-shove the problem to the uni's. Next will be attempts to drop the entry standards, and then the degree criteria.
 
#8
An "A" at A-level could get you into second year at Scottish unis. Arguably the four year degree amounted to taking kids from fifth year at school (aged 17) and giving them something like sixth form at uni.

Some of the uni foundation courses are quite something. Rock up two evenings a week for 16 weeks, write a couple of essays, you're in. Needless to say Glasgow's evening access course is booked solid.
 
#9
CivTech said:
...
Fix the secondary system rather than duck-shove the problem to the uni's. Next will be attempts to drop the entry standards, and then the degree criteria.
How do you fix secondary education though? I doubt that is at all possible to do while still operating under current government guidance. So it isn't going to happen under the current administration. Admitedly we are talking about a conservative so that is not binding.

What needs doing to/with secondary education though and where do you start? Problems with
1.Discipline
2.Motivation
3.Standards
4.Expectations

I mean how can a target of 50% graduates be done while maintaining a degrees value/rigour to one from the 1960s? Crazy.

Carrots is correct though that the shadow minister is wrong to expect universities to deal with an educational problem (caused by government) in the secondary education system.
 
#10
gobbyidiot said:
An "A" at A-level could get you into second year at Scottish unis.
Only in a very few cases would a Scottish university allow direct entry into 2nd Year and then it would take more than just an A. A quick scout round the websites of the 4 Ancient Unis shows that not all faculties accept multiple A*s at A Level in lieu of 1st Year and where they do the degrees available and options within are limited. Technically you're correct that it could, but it does give a misleading impression.

gobbyidiot said:
Arguably the four year degree amounted to taking kids from fifth year at school (aged 17) and giving them something like sixth form at uni.
Not really, it’s just a reflection of different secondary education systems. A Level involves a much narrower but more intense field of study than you’d get in 6th Year in Scotland. 1st Year Uni up here reflects that by feeding into a wider range of subjects with the advantage that if you find your original choice of degree subject bores the tits off you then you can change to one of the three disciplines you studied in your first year without breaking step.

Under the English 3 year system, you would normally start your University studies at focussing on your main subject (not always at any different a level e.g. medicine or law) and if you want to transfer it usually means starting over. Swings and roundabouts.

gobbyidiot said:
Some of the uni foundation courses are quite something. Rock up two evenings a week for 16 weeks, write a couple of essays, you're in. Needless to say Glasgow's evening access course is booked solid.
From a quick shufty at Glasgow’s website the evening access course is 26 weeks and run out of their Department of Adult & Continuing Education. These are quite distinct from the Foundation Programmes as the target audience the FPs are aimed at is coming directly from school. Mature and returning students tend to be better at absorbing their studies in intense packages - I know that I am, I’m a glutton for punishment academically speaking.
 
#12
Phrasing his remarks in the future tense shows Willets is quite remarkably out of touch - Cambridge's examination board already runs the Cambridge Pre-U as an alternative to A-levels. Since A-levels are often (mainly?) taken specifically for getting into university, it's not unreasonable for the universities to be involved in 6th form education: having them involved in secondary education would, however, be unnecessary IMO.
 
#14
Whet said:
John_D said:
Willets needs to get a clue, then.

Universities were running intro courses and extra stuff to get people caught up to the expected A-level standard for university entrance to my certain knowledge over ten years ago.

All the best,

John.
They were running them in 1994 when I applied to Keele
Keele were running them at least 10 years before that.
 
#15
UK universities seem to be quite flexible in the admissions policy when you consider some of the entrants they have from both the domestic gene pool as well as that further afield. It's just a case of demonstrating that you're 'good enough' to warrant their lightening of your (or the states's) wallet. :)
 
#17
_Artemis_ said:
Since A-levels are often (mainly?) taken specifically for getting into university, it's not unreasonable for the universities to be involved in 6th form education...
I think that might be an important point in this debate, Arte. A Levels are supposed to be the capstone of a school career but as you rightly say they are mainly used as a stepping stone into university. That, IMO, is because universities are seen in certain circles (I suspect the ones the Conservatives was to appeal to at the moment) as the only route to a professional career.

It may be that we need to change our view and expectations of the whole education system before we can reap benefit of any change, however I'm firmly of the opinion that universities should not be central to the process of overhauling schools.
 
#18
smartascarrots said:
It has never been the norm. There was even e great debate about running participation courses for WP, as this departed quite radically from the traditional HE remit.

Secondary education has always been the responsibility of secondary schools. If the prospective Minister for Higher Education thinks they're not producing the goods, perhaps he should focus his efforts on making them rather than just palming responsibility off onto universities.
My brother has been in adult education for some time. He is constantly having to deal with employers complaining about the products of secondary education. In the past 10 years, he's had another complaint added to the list. Apparently, current HMG have this cunning plan that the employers should be financially responsible for making up the educational deficiencies of their staff.
 
#19
whitecity said:
UK universities seem to be quite flexible in the admissions policy when you consider some of the entrants they have from both the domestic gene pool as well as that further afield. It's just a case of demonstrating that you're 'good enough' to warrant their lightening of your (or the states's) wallet. :)
There are far too many universities, simple as. Over-capacity has been the cause of so many problems in HE, from dilution of standards to visa scams.

Selecting universities withstand the tempest through standards and reputation. It's not so easy for the Million+ lot as they tend to be far more heavily dependant on HEFC/SHEFC grants and tuition fee income.

whitecity said:
My brother has been in adult education for some time. He is constantly having to deal with employers complaining about the products of secondary education. In the past 10 years, he's had another complaint added to the list. Apparently, current HMG have this cunning plan that the employers should be financially responsible for making up the educational deficiencies of their staff.
I don't doubt it. My personal opinion is that education should be about providing basic common abilities in literacy, numeracy, reasoning and sociability to a high standard and after that is up to the employer to provide their staff with specific-to-role skills - but I know that schools just aren't delivering to a great extent.
 
#20
smartascarrots said:
There are far too many universities, simple as. Over-capacity has been the cause of so many problems in HE, from dilution of standards to visa scams.
No. There are far too many FE Colleges and Polys masquerading as universities. :)
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
rockape34 The Intelligence Cell 6
Dr_Evil Army Reserve 12
W AGC, RAPTC and SASC 5

Similar threads

Top