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In depth analysis of the issues affecting admissions policy

ANOVA on A*s at A-level and Tripos performance

Research Date: 01/07/2015

Researcher: Dr Catherine Sumnall, Research Officer, Cambridge Admissions Office

This paper tests three hypotheses:

  • If the UMS attainment of applicants made an offer of a place at Cambridge is significantly higher than those not made the offer of a place, and,
  • Whether this relationship is consistent across all Tripos subjects for which students are admitted, and,
  • How far differentiation in UMS attainment is consistent across the sector, inasmuch as whether Cambridge applicants with the highest attainment tend to attend the more selective universities

UMS performance and the eventual HE destination of Cambridge applicants

Research Date: 01/07/2015

Researcher: Dr Catherine Sumnall, Research Officer, Cambridge Admissions Office

This paper provides an assessment of the relationship between the attainment of A* grades in GCE A-levels and Tripos performance. It builds on previous work, which demonstrated a clear positive relationship between the total number of A* grades attained at A-level, and performance in first year Tripos examinations.

The link between IB performance and success at Cambridge

Research Date: 17/10/2012

Researcher: Dr Geoff Parks Senior Tutor, Jesus College

Research by the University of Cambridge shows that strong performance in the International Baccalaureate predicts success at Cambridge.

The study - Academic Performance of International Baccalaureate Students at Cambridge - examines the relationships between students' prior attainment in the IB and results achieved in Cambridge examinations. It finds that two 7s in Higher Level subjects and overall scores of 39 or more for Science courses and of 42 or more for Arts and Social Sciences courses predict a better-than-average likelihood of obtaining a II.1 or a First at Cambridge.

A* at A Level as a Predictor of Tripos Performance: An initial analysis

Research Date: 22/12/2011

Researcher: Dr Peter Chetwynd - Cambridge Admissions Office

This paper explores the interrelationship between achieved A* grades at A Level and University of Cambridge formal examination ('Tripos') performance at the end of students' first year of study in 2011. We believe that this is the first examination of the utility of A* as an indicator of potential for academic success at any university to have been made public.

UK Undergraduate Admissions to Cambridge: Setting an Additional Target to Widen Participation

Research Date: 30/06/2011

Researcher: Richard Partington - Chair of Admissions Research Working Party

The University of Cambridge has already set out its ambition to admit 61-63% of UK undergraduates from state schools and colleges. This paper discusses the HESA Performance Indicators relating to NS-SEC classes 4-7 and Low Participation Neighbourhoods and considers the form of any additional UK undergraduate admissions target that Cambridge should set itself.

UK State-Sector Undergraduate Admissions to Cambridge: What is an Achievable Target?

Research Date: 06/05/2011

Researcher: Richard Partington - Chair of Admissions Research Working Party

The University of Cambridge is required to establish a number of access milestones (or targets) as part of its Access Agreement with the Office For Fair Access (OFFA). Historically these milestones have included the proportion of state-educated students admitted to the University. This study examines the performance of state-sector students in 2010 and considers what proportion of state-sector admissions the University can realistically achieve. 

A Levels are a strong indicator of degree potential

Research Date: 14/04/2011

Researcher: Richard Partington - Chair of Admissions Research Working Party

A new study by the University of Cambridge has shown that very strong A Level performance is the key indicator of potential among its undergraduates and that this does not vary according to school or college background. Cambridge students from state and independent schools are equally likely to enjoy degree success.

The study - The Predictive Effectiveness of Metrics in Admission to the University of Cambridge - investigated which factors at admission provided the best indication of future undergraduate potential. A Levels and GCSEs, aptitude tests, school background and gender were all considered.

School background is not a factor in Cambridge degree success

Research Date: 19/04/2011

Researcher: Dr Geoff Parks - Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges

Research by the University of Cambridge shows that students from different UK educational backgrounds do equally well at Cambridge.

The study - Academic Performance of Undergraduate Students at Cambridge by School/College Background - examines the distributions of results obtained in finals by students who had attended UK independent, grammar and comprehensive schools, as well as other maintained sector institutions. The research finds no statistically significant differences in performance by school type and there is no evidence of the phenomenon observed at other UK universities of state sector students out-performing their privately educated peers.

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