Wealth of errors

May 9, 2003

Presumably, there were reality checks elsewhere in the Oxford Student Union report on college provision and wealth ("Oxford inequalities exposed", THES, May 2). Here are three that were not immediately apparent.

First, focusing on relative differences between colleges does not touch the overall claim about college provision - that would need external indicators such as university dropout rates.

Second, where are the value-added statistics, such as the difference between first and third-year results? Do the relative differences between colleges affect individuals being able to improve their personal performances?

Third, it would be helpful to know what the ratio of fellows to students in a college has to do with the availability of expertise or size of teaching classes.

Marilyn Strathern
Girton College
Cambridge

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