New students are not up to scratch

PUBLISHED: 11:31 17 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

A REPORT just out suggests that university admissions tutors and lecturers think the calibre of student applicants is falling. Many of the staff questioned, at 16 universities of different types, felt students were arriving from the school system with ass

A REPORT just out suggests that university admissions tutors and lecturers think the calibre of student applicants is falling.

Many of the staff questioned, at 16 universities of different types, felt students were arriving from the school system with assessment burnout.

The research, which was carried out as part of the ongoing Nuffield Review of 14 to 19 learning, was leaked to The Times Higher Education Supplement.

Authors found that staff view students' skills in reading, communication and thinking as infinitely worse than 10 years ago.

There was a particular concern about standards in modern foreign languages, history, maths and single sciences.

Due to be published in full later this month, the report said some lecturers were having to postpone starting undergraduate courses in order for some students to be brought up to speed.

Recruits increasingly struggled to cope with the independent learning expected in higher education, it said.

Researcher Dr Geoff Hayward, of Oxford University's Educational Studies Department, said: "Negative comments are not indicative of higher education tutors and admissions staff whingeing or harking back to some golden age, but represent genuine concerns about young people and their capacity to benefit from the higher education experience.

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