UNIVERSITIES are dismayed by the poor levels of literacy, numeracy and independent thought which leave many new students expecting to be "spoon fed", a study found.
Tutors at 16 universities - including Oxford and Cambridge - lamented how many school leavers lacked a good grip of grammar and had a "fear of numbers".
The Oxford-based Nuffield Review report, which was leaked to the Times Higher Education Supplement, called for reforms to secondary school education.
It found an emphasis on exams and league tables at school led to a negative impact on scholarship.
"This leads to spoon feeding rather than fostering of independence and critical engagement with subject material," the report said.
"Learners who may have achieved academic success by such means at A-Level, it was felt, are increasingly coming into higher education expecting to be told the answers. They struggle to cope with the more independent and self-directed style of learning expected by higher education tutors."
The report said tutors believed much time was lost at the beginning of degree courses because students had to be taught …