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Adjusting the academy: developing an adjusted entrance criteria scheme in a specialist healthcare and bioscience higher education institution

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Widening participation policies are commonplace in UK institutions and reflect a growing worldwide concern to redress social inequalities in higher education. Although policies may be common, the strategies employed to achieve these are varied. This paper describes the implementation of an adjusted A Level criteria scheme in one programme at one higher education institution (HEI). Over a four-year period, 34 out of 587 medical students entered under the adjusted criteria scheme. Results from this study indicate that although adjusted criteria students are more likely to fail at the first attempt, there was no significant difference in examination results in the first and second years of study. Although involving small numbers, this study demonstrates widening participation outcomes that challenge assumptions that academic standards are lowered by admitting such students. The lessons learned from this approach are valuable irrespective of outcome in that it has encouraged innovative approaches in widening participation across the university.
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Keywords: Widening access; contextual data; medical education; selection criteria; social mobility

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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  • The journal is based on the belief that there are neglected links between research and theory, and policy and practice in the promotion of widening participation in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. It aims to provide a forum for the development of theory, the addressing of policy questions and the dissemination of innovative practice in the field of widening participation and lifelong learning.
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