THE WRETCHED GRIDS
Information about students' entry qualifications was essential because they had to be compared with their final degree results, but Helen had to decide exactly what qualifications information she needed. The answer appears to be 'everything'. She decided to produce detailed grids which asked students to indicate what results they had achieved in a range of subjects, the type of examinations taken, where they studied and whether they studied full- or part-time. Grids are tricky. They ask students to provide answers to two or more questions at the same time, but the more choices that are given, the more complex the analysis becomes.
Let's take a look at the General Certificate of Education at Ordinary Level (GCE O level)/General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) grid.
Four other grids followed, which asked for the same amount of information about a whole range of other qualifications. The questionnaire had been through many drafts and members of vetting committees had occasionally asked for additional items to be included in case they might be useful for some unspecified later purpose. These additions cluttered the questionnaire to such an extent that it became difficult to see what mattered and what didn't. The late changes required by the Course Committee added further complications to the already complex grids and played