Leader: Distinguishing details

June 4, 2004

Detailed transcripts of student achievements have long been a favoured alternative to simple degree classifications among the leaders of higher education. The obstacle to their more general introduction (apart from inertia in universities) has been the ambivalent attitude of business and industry. Some firms would welcome more detailed information on graduates, but many prefer to stick with what they know.

The Tomlinson review of 14-19 qualifications provides an opportunity to demonstrate the merits of transcripts, as both Universities UK and the Association of Colleges acknowledge this week (page 8). Regardless of the eventual outcome of deliberations on the proposed diploma, a more detailed account of sixthformers' achievements would help selective universities distinguish fairly between candidates who are predicted to gain top A levels. And, like the alternative of an A* grade at A level, the sooner it is introduced the better.

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