April 25, 2004
Oxford reintroduces entrance exams

Grade inflation. Is it really happening? Hard and fast facts are hard to come by. But here is a hard fact not to say a fast fact. Oxford University is to reintroduce its own entrance tests, for English and history.

I havn't been very fast myself with this fact. I first heard about this from this quite recent Daily Telegraph piece, but according to this Guardian report, the announcement was made over a month ago. But some announcements are noteworthy enough to be worth noting even if you do it very slowly.

The point is that a grade A in A level no longer makes enough of a distinction between the best and the rest. Only if getting an A became harder could Oxford use A levels pick the brightest and best.

This still doesn't prove beyond doubt that grade inflation has been happening. The other explanation is that ultra-clever would-be Oxford students are now a lot more numerous than they used to be. Which could well be, I suppose.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 04:53 PM
Category: Examinations and qualifications