Today's news

October 10, 2003

Admissions tutors favour Baccalaureate over A level
A survey conducted by the International Baccalaureate Organisation shows that 57 per cent of university admission tutors thought that International Baccalaureate students were better able to cope with their degree than those who studied A levels. Only 3 per cent said A-level students had an advantage, while 40 per cent said the qualifications were of equal worth.
( Independent )

Oxford freshers' free bus ride offer cancelled
An Oxford bus company has withdrawn an offer to ferry newly arrived Oxford students a short distance across the city, rather than letting them walk, after the scheme was criticised for being environmentally damaging. Claims that the university's student union requested the coaches because it feared that new students would get lost were denied by the union.
( Daily Telegraph )

Graduate tax would be better than student loans
Samuel Brittan writes that the fear of debt that lies behind opposition to student loans is irrational, but that it would be better to switch to a graduate tax that could have all the economic effects of a loan scheme.
( Financial Times )

Testing times at Cambridge
Robert Harding, director of the University of Cambridge Thinking Skills Assessment project, defends the informal admissions tests currently being used by some Cambridge colleges and invites anyone who so wishes to try a short or full test for themselves at  http:///tsa.ucles.org.uk/downloads.html
( Independent )

Pain of social rejection can be as real as a broken leg
Social psychologists at the University of California at Los Angeles have discovered that hurt feelings affect the same region of the brain as that which deals with physical agony. The findings help explain why we reach for words such as "heartache" and "gut-wrenching" when trying to describe emotional turmoil. They also suggest that humans have evolved to treat social exclusion as seriously as an injury.
( Daily Telegraph, Guardian )

Trial cut short after benefit of breast-cancer drug is proved
An international trial of the breast cancer drug letrozole has been halted after early results showed it cut the risk of recurrence in women already treated for the disease by 43 per cent. The results of the Canadian-led trial, to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine on November 6, were released early online yesterday. Ian Smith, head of the breast unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, said that the data surpassed expectations. But he joined other British specialists in criticising the decision to halt the trial early because the long-term effects of the drug may now never be known.
( Independent, Times, Guardian, Daily Mail )

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