Just Sociology

Addressing Discrimination in University Admissions: The Need for Measures

The cancellation of A-level exams in 2020 led to a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety among students and teachers alike. While some students were able to benefit from the cancellation, others suffered as a result.

This article will explore the various impacts of A-level exam cancellation, including winners and losers. Additionally, it will discuss the issue of predicted grades and discrimination, examining the ways in which teacher stereotypes and privileged backgrounds affect predicted grades.

Impacts of A-level Exam Cancellation

Winners

One group of students who benefited from the cancellation of A-level exams were those who had achieved a decent mock exam grade. For these students, the cancellation meant that they were able to receive predicted grades that were based on a strong performance in a previous exam.

As a result, some were able to receive offers from universities they might not have otherwise been accepted to. Another group of students who benefited from the cancellation were those who were already in possession of an unconditional offer.

For these students, the cancellation meant that they no longer had to worry about achieving the grades required for their offer, allowing them to focus on other things.

Losers

Unfortunately, not all students benefited from the cancellation of A-level exams. Some students received under-predicted grades, meaning that their predicted grade was lower than their true ability.

This was particularly true for some BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) students, who were unfairly disadvantaged due to teacher stereotypes. Privately educated students also had an advantage over their peers, as many received unconditional offers from universities, regardless of their predicted grades.

This was in part due to the influence of pushy parents who were able to use their social connections to secure their child’s place at a particular institution. Home-schooled students were also at a disadvantage, as they did not have access to the same support networks and resources as their peers in mainstream education.

This made it more difficult for them to achieve the grades required for entry into top universities.

Predicted Grades and Discrimination

Teacher Stereotypes and BAME Students

One of the main issues with predicted grades is that they are often based on teacher stereotypes, rather than the actual ability of the student. This is particularly true for BAME students, who are often labelled as underachievers.

Studies have shown that these stereotypes can impact a student’s grades, leading to under-predicted grades and missed opportunities. Additionally, there are issues with the way exams are designed, which often disadvantage BAME students.

For example, essay questions may be biased towards Western ways of thinking, making it more difficult for students with different cultural backgrounds to achieve top grades.

Privileged Backgrounds and Predicted Grades

The cultural capital theory argues that students from privileged backgrounds have an advantage over their peers, as they have access to a wider range of cultural experiences and resources. This leads to an innate understanding of the way the education system works, which can lead to higher predicted grades and offers from top universities.

This is demonstrated by the number of privately educated students who receive unconditional offers from universities, regardless of their predicted grades. These offers are often the result of connections made through pushy parents, who are able to use their social capital to secure their child’s place at a particular institution.

Conclusion

The cancellation of A-level exams had both positive and negative impacts on students, with winners and losers on both sides. Additionally, there are significant issues with predicted grades and discrimination, which continue to disadvantage students from certain backgrounds.

While these issues are complex and difficult to solve, it is important to address them in order to create a more equitable education system for all students.The previous article discussed the impacts of A-level exam cancellations and predicted grades on students from different backgrounds. This article aims to expand on this topic by exploring the need for measures to combat discrimination in the university entrance system.

It will examine the awareness of discrimination among exam boards, universities, and students, and the importance of addressing these issues to create a more equitable and accessible education system for all students.

Awareness of Discrimination

One of the main issues with the university entrance system is the potential for discrimination in predicted grades. For this reason, it is essential that exam boards are aware of the potential for discrimination and take measures to address it.

However, the Department of Education (DFE) has previously suggested that there is no evidence of systemic bias in predicted grades. This is despite evidence that some BAME and disadvantaged students are likely to receive under-predicted grades.

Similarly, universities must also recognize the potential for discrimination in predicted grades and admissions. Universities have an obligation to provide fair access to all students, regardless of their background.

This requires creating a level playing field for all applicants. In addition to exam boards and universities, students also need to be aware of the potential for discrimination.

This includes understanding the role that teacher stereotypes and cultural background play in predicted grades, as well as taking steps to address these biases. By raising awareness of these issues, students can be better equipped to navigate the university entrance system and achieve their full potential.

Importance of Addressing Discrimination

It is essential that measures are put in place to combat discrimination in the university entrance system. By doing so, disadvantaged students will have a greater chance of achieving their full potential and securing opportunities that they might have otherwise missed out on.

One example of measures that can be taken is to increase institutional accountability for predicted grades. This could involve the collection of data on discrepancies in predicted grades between different groups of students, such as BAME and non-BAME students.

This data could be made publicly available, so that universities and the public can better understand and address these issues. Another measure that could be taken is to introduce unconscious bias training for teachers and university admissions staff.

This would help to raise awareness of the potential for bias in predicted grades and admissions, and provide strategies for addressing these biases. Additionally, students could be provided with training on how to challenge potentially discriminatory decisions or biases.

It is also important to take steps to address the wider social and cultural factors that contribute to discrimination in education. This includes providing greater access to resources for disadvantaged students, such as tutoring or extra support for accessing university applications.

Conclusion

The need for measures to combat discrimination in the university entrance system is essential for creating a more equitable and accessible education system for all students. Exam boards, universities, and students must all be aware of the potential for discrimination, and take steps to address these issues in a meaningful way.

By doing so, disadvantaged students will have a greater chance of achieving their full potential and securing opportunities that they might have otherwise missed out on. In conclusion, this article has discussed the impacts of A-level exam cancellations and predicted grades on students, the need for measures to combat discrimination in the university entrance system, and ways to raise awareness of the potential for bias and address these issues.

It is essential to recognize and address discrimination in the education system to create a more equitable and accessible system for all students. The path to an education system that is truly fair and just for all will require ongoing effort and collaboration from exam boards, universities, students, and stakeholders.

FAQs:

Q: How can universities address discrimination in admissions? A: Universities can increase institutional accountability, collect data on discrepancies in predicted grades, introduce unconscious bias training for staff, and provide extra support for disadvantaged students.

Q: Why is there potential for discrimination in predicted grades? A: Predicted grades are not based on actual exam results and can be influenced by teacher stereotypes and cultural background.

Q: What are some measures that can be taken to address discrimination in education? A: Measures include increasing institutional accountability, introducing unconscious bias training for staff, and providing resources for disadvantaged students.

Q: What is cultural capital theory? A: Cultural capital theory argues that students from privileged backgrounds have an advantage over their peers as they have access to a wider range of cultural experiences and resources, which can lead to higher predicted grades and offers from top universities.

Q: Why is it important to address discrimination in the education system? A: Discrimination in the education system creates an unfair playing field for disadvantaged students, limiting their opportunities and potential for success.

Addressing discrimination is necessary for creating a more equitable and accessible education system for all.

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