A-Level Fears Mean More Universities Set Entrance Exam

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Ross Education Correspondent

UNIVERSITIES are introducing extra testing for sixth-formers as fears over A-level standards grow.

New figures show a surge in the number of degree courses needing applicants to take extra tests, with one in five universities now setting additional exams.

Tutors are said to be using the aptitude and "thinking skills" tests as they struggle to select the brightest candidates because so many teenagers now achieve top A-level grades.

The findings from the Supporting Professionalism in Admissions seen by the Standard will fuel concern that the A-levels have been dumbed down.

The SPA advisory group survey of 304 universities and higher education colleges found: 21 per cent -- 64 universities -- set additional exams in some courses for candidates in 2010. This was up from 16 per cent the previous year.

There were 84 separate admissions tests for different courses, up from 67 last year.

Oxford and Cambridge -- where candidates are being interviewed this week -- and UCL are among the leading universities to set their own tests. …