Levelling the field 1

November 5, 2004

Alison Wolf's argument for the introduction of an SAT-type test was persuasive (Opinion, October 22). Selecting on the basis of A levels alone does not always ensure the brightest students get to the universities they deserve, not least because A levels differ so much between subjects.

We need a common currency, such as the SAT, accessible to all, that offers universities a different perspective on a candidate's potential.

In 2000, the Sutton Trust funded the National Foundation for Educational Research to conduct a pilot of the SAT among 1,300 secondary school pupils at 70 schools. From the lower-achieving state schools included in the study, 30 students out of 600 achieved a SAT score sufficient to be considered for entry to a top US university. Of these, only two or three achieved good enough A-level results to be considered by a leading UK university.

The SAT can clearly play a role in identifying talent that would otherwise be missed.

The NFER has drawn up a proposal for an operational SAT trial involving 50,000 students, and we hope that - in light of the findings of the admissions task force and the growing tide of opinion in favour of a universal test - the trial will soon proceed as part of the Government's consideration of this issue.

Peter Lampl
Chairman, Sutton Trust

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments