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UK looking at US SAT style tests

The UK A-levels are somewhat more like our ridiculous
standards based tests, so interesting that they're looking
at rank order one-correct answer multiple choice tests.

While it's possible to construct a really hard multiple choice
test, in general they show a smaller gap between high and low
scoring groups than the more cognitively loaded free response

Sent: Monday, March 29, 2004 9:22 AM
Subject: [h-bd] GB moves toward SAT type tests

> The Electronic Telegraph
> IQ tests urged for university entrants
> By Liz Lightfoot, Education Correspondent
> (Filed: 29/03/2004)
> Teachers have lost faith in A-levels as a way of identifying the brightest
> students and want universities to supplement them with American-style
> intelligence tests.
> Two-thirds say students should be offered university places only after
> have received their examination results instead of the present system of
> admission based on predicted grades.
> The fact that teachers - who complain that students are over-examined -
> support an additional test shows the extent of dissatisfaction with the
> present system of university admissions, says Sir Peter Lampl, the
> of the Sutton Trust, which commissioned the survey.
> The trust is piloting the Sat tests on which entry to American
> is based and says they help to identify talented students from
> schools.
> The tests seek to judge how well students can solve problems, think
> laterally and apply their knowledge to different situations.
> "The trust believes that students from schools with low examination
> performance are penalised by the fact that applications are made and
> university places offered before A-level results are known," said Sir
> The survey of secondary teachers by Mori showed 55 per cent backed the
> introduction of Sat tests to supplement A-levels and only 29 per cent
> opposed them.
> "The support for an Sat-style test is quite surprising as we expected that
> teachers might oppose another 16-plus examination however limited," he
> John Dunford, the general secretary of the Secondary Heads' Association,
> said he was not surprised by the findings. "We want to find a way of
> avoiding the burgeoning of different university tests therefore it is
> to have a national Sat," he said.
> Sir Peter is a member of the group appointed by Charles Clarke, the
> Education Secretary, to look at university admission systems that have
> criticised both for favouring well-taught, articulate independent school
> pupils and discriminating against them. Bristol University, for example,
> measures an applicant's performance against the average for his or her
> school.
> Universities are under pressure from the Government to admit more students
> from disadvantaged homes or without a family tradition of higher
> If the legislation on top-up fees survives a Labour backbench revolt this
> week it will allow universities to set their own charges up to £3,000 a
> from 2006. But before they can impose higher fees they will need to
> a new regulator on fair access that they are actively seeking to recruit
> more students from poor backgrounds.
> Prof Steven Schwarz, the vice-chancellor of Brunel University, the
> of the group advising the Government on admissions, is due to report next
> Monday. He has made clear his disapproval of universities setting their
> tests, saying they are of variable quality.
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