Oxford applicants for 2010 and 2011 will not have to face the additional hurdle of achieving the new A* grade at A-Level, the University has announced.
A spokesperson for Oxford University said, “as with any new grades/qualifications we are interested to see how they correlate with our own selection procedures.”
The University has not ruled out the possibility of using A*s in the future. “If it becomes apparent that A* grades are a good indication of aptitude for Oxford courses, we will be interested in looking at them,” said a University spokesperson.
Several students have praised Oxford’s decision to delay using the new grade, which carries a pass mark of 90%.
Elena Lynch, the chair of Target Schools, which is an OUSU initiative aiming to improve access to Oxford, said, “the A* grade is a new grade for A-levels and we should wait to see how it works and which students are getting this grade before we make offers on it.”
But she expressed her support for the introduction of the grade, saying that it could help universities distinguish between the numerous straight-A students.
She said, “Oxford currently receives thousands of applications a year, and an A* grade, provided the university’s concerns are satisfied, would probably help to choose between them but only along with the whole process of interviews, personal statements and academic work.”
Another student commented that Oxford’s decision not to immediately use the A* grade, “prevents the students at this present moment in time who are the ‘guinea pig’ year from worrying about the new system and the effects it will have on their application to Oxford.”
Oxford’s decision comes after Cambridge University announced that it would require at least one A* from 2010 onwards. Cambridge’s criteria are set to rise to two A*s and an A “in the fullness of time.”