Do grades still make the grade? 2

September 22, 2006

Stephen Gorard makes claims that link qualifications to class and income. But an association or correlation between two variables does not imply a causal connection, as any undergraduate is taught.

Qualifications cannot be accurately predicted from class and income alone.

Gorard says that the Open University "has operated an open-access scheme for years that clearly has not damaged standards". But the OU has foundation courses that students have to pass to proceed.

By publishing this report, the Higher Education Funding Council for England appears to endorse telling pupils that they need not bother to study as their efforts and ability will be dismissed as an expression of class and income, unworthy of recognition or reward.

If school qualifications are an "unnatural basis" for discrimination, then schools are failing. Did York University appoint Gorard on the basis of his qualifications?

Jane L. Hutton
Warwick University

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