Elite survivals? Entry ‘standards˚s and procedures for higher education admissions
The expansion of British higher education from the 1960s onwards has been achieved without any alteration in the ‘standard˚s for entry of two ‘A˚s levels or the equivalent—despite the serious technical problems of the examination and its liability to social bias. This standard symbolises the continued public support for ‘elite˚s higher education, which is exemplified too in admissions procedures appropriate for an elite system, both in their ideology of personalised selection and in their lack of real diversity. The paper describes some of the drawbacks of the admissions process and the A level examination on which it relies, discusses its implications for the participation rate and for social inequality, and argues that alternatives such as access courses cannot be expected to produce a radical change in either respect.
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