Inequality at A level

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Pressure is growing for more fair university admissions
procedures. Recently, calls for reform have intensified after
research showed pupils of independent schools are up to five
times more likely to achieve the highest marks in their exams
than their state school peers. The findings, reported in last week’s Cherwell, come as
AQA, the UK’s largest exam board, has warned against
proposals for creating a new A-level A* grade to pick out the
very top pupils. A higher exam grade would increase the gap
between the public and private sectors in education even further. Currently, in physics, the proportion of independent school
pupils achieving top A level grades is double those in the state
system. However unbalanced this figure is, an even more
concerning 1.6% of comprehensive school pupils taking the A level
gained enough marks for the equivalent of the proposed A* grade,
compared to the 9% who would have qualified from independent
schools. John Dunford, the general secretary of the Secondary Heads
Association, also rejected the ‘super-grade’ option,
declaring that releasing A level marks would achieve the same end
as introducing a new mark. Oxford University say their admission requirements “are
sufficient in determining suitable candidates.”ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2004 

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