Cambridge University Decides To Increase Drop Out Rates Among Disadvantaged Students

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It does seem rather cruel to set people up to fail. Even, ambitiously cruel to set them up to fail while tying a debt millstone around their necks. But this is what Cambridge University is doing. Even as they would protest, loudly, that they aim to do no such thing. This being the usual leftish inability to distinguish between the effects of an action and the purity of the motives for it.

Our first datum:

University drop out rates are worse among disadvantaged students, official data shows

Hmm, well.

University drop out rates are worse among disadvantaged students compared to their wealthier peers, official data shows. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, has warned that universities must step up their efforts to tackle the “damaging” drop out rates, adding that the regulator will intervene if they fail to do so. In 2016/17, 8.8 per cent of the most disadvantaged students failed to complete their degrees, up from 8.6 per cent the previous year, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa). Meanwhile, the proportion of all students dropping out of university during the same two year period declined from 6.4 per cent to 6.3 per cent.

We’ve a lot of experience of this from the American system. With people like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell pointing out that race favoured positive discrimination ends up doing those so favoured no great favours. Those who are unprepared for the rigours of strict academic courses, as shown by their SATs or High School transcripts, are unprepared for the rigours of strict academic courses. Whatever the melanin content of their skin, they’re still unprepared. So, the drop out rates are higher as those allowed in on lower scores in order to promote diversity get smacked in the face by that academic rigour.

Then we’ve Cambridge:

Cambridge opens up extra places for disadvantaged students who perform better than expected in their A-levels

Cambridge is now setting up more to fail.

Cambridge University is opening up extra places for disadvantaged students who perform better than expected in their A-levels, in a bid to improve diversity. This summer the university will give out up to 100 additional places which will be earmarked for pupils who have either spent time in local authority care, or those with a combination of characteristics including attending a state school and living in a deprived household or area. It is the first time that Cambridge will take part in the Ucas “adjustment” system, where students who do better than expected in their A-levels are able to “trade up” for a better university place.

You know, it might just be that this sort of social engineering is going to cause the same problems that American system produces. Only a suggestion mind, even if one drawn from our actual experience of this universe. But then, reality, you know, acknowledging it is so unfashionable, isn’t it?

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swannypol
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swannypol

Tim I think you are drawing conclusions from incomplete data. Cambridge has one of the lowest drop out rates c 1.5%, London Metro Uni and Bolton Uni have the highest, up in the teens of %. So as well as ethnic / disadvantaged mix you should look at course offers and academic standard required. I suspect that a lot of the drop outs across the board are from low entry requirement / low academic content courses – where the prime education gained is attendees eventually realising that they are wasting their time. Meanwhile Oxbridge tries very hard to recognise, encourage… Read more »

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

“That rightly should result in varying absolute achievement requirements for entry from different backgrounds”

What you are promoting is discrimination, many might consider such an approach both morally indefensible and reprehensible in the extreme, perhaps in today’s climate of neurotic hyper-sensitivity it might even be labelled a hate crime. Regardless, it is very sad to hear that Oxford has abandoned the pursuit of excellence in favour of hard left social manipulation.

swannypol
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swannypol

I’m going to disagree there.
Getting a ‘B’ at A level with crap teachers and uninvolved parents demonstrates much higher potential (or more ‘excellence’) than achieving the same with full family support and all the extra facilities and tutoring money can buy.
Oxbridge should be looking for potential. Discrimination would be not recognising the relative difficulties of achieving specific academic results dependent on circumstances. Oxbridge should set out to find the brightest, those with the highest potential for excellence, not simply the best educated so far.

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Since there are a finite number of places some of those with A grades will be denied a place based on their background and that is discrimination, whether you deny it or not.

swannypol
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swannypol

Since there are a finite number of places, if they offer based on grades rather than ability then some of those who are smart but have not had the advantages family support or even moderate wealth brings will be denied a place based on their background and that is discrimination. Just a different type to what you see.
Really it depends if they set out to get the most future potential or the best historic results. I’m in favour of the former, you seem to want the latter.

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Ability is subjective, grades are not, which is why they must be the main criteria (beyond not being for instance a socio-path). No one is being denied a place because of their background, they are being denied because their grades are not good enough. We don’t want to ape the racist policies of Harvard where Asian applicants have to get as much as 20% higher marks than other students. Rather than playing Marxist style identity politics, which is both foolish and dangerous, it would be better to focus on the appalling state of UK primary and secondary state education. Despite… Read more »

swannypol
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swannypol

Not everyone is offered the same requirement for entry to a course. That is the current situation, and it has been like that for as long as I can remember. Prospective applicants are interviewed, assessed, asked challenging questions, sometimes formally tested, and the outcome is an offer (or not) with an achievement requirement. One would hope that those assessing potential admissions know their job and have a good framework to operate under. I totally agree with Leo regarding the mess our current primary, secondary, and sixth system operates within. We should feel sorry for the kids who come through that… Read more »

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

You are right of course about the interview process, I was over simplifying, but you still need good grades or some very compelling other reason to get to the interview in the first place.

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

How are you going to measure ability if not by grades?

Reader
Guest
Reader

JH: How are you going to measure ability if not by grades?
They already do a lot of interviews. If they can use adjusted grades properly then they get good students they might have missed.

swannypol
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swannypol

Tim I think you are drawing conclusions from incomplete data. Cambridge has one of the lowest drop out rates c 1.5%, London Metro Uni and Bolton Uni have the highest, up in the teens of %. So as well as ethnic / disadvantaged mix you should look at course offers and academic standard required. I suspect that a lot of the drop outs across the board are from low entry requirement / low academic content courses – where the prime education gained is attendees eventually realising that they are wasting their time. Meanwhile Oxbridge tries very hard to recognise, encourage… Read more »

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

If they do better than expected, surely that gets them in on the raw actual attained grade without any fiddling?

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Virtue signalling at its worst, damn the consequences.