Monday, May 09, 2011

Liberal (small l) Admissions Policy Not Good for Universities

Before Trinity College implements their proposal to accept any applicants from the top 10% of schools around the country("How to Make Universities Universal" Society, April 23rd), let them look at what has actually happened to American universities where such liberal admission policies operate.
Although in theory the top ten percent of students in a disadvantaged school may have the same potential as their equivalents in fee-paying private schools, in reality students from disadvantaged schools enter university with much greater needs than the other group.
Having been systematically deprived of academic resources in overcrowded schools with undermotivated and overstretched teachers, these students enter the university system with severe remedial needs. The first two years of their time at university are spent simply trying to catch up with their more advantaged peers.
Frequently coming from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, these students often try to "work their way through university", which further damages their ability to function by ensuring that they have no time for homework or class preparation.
The end result is that academic standards fall as university instructors attempt to cope with an influx of underprepared students who have no time to attend the extra remedial classes they need to function at university level. With standards falling, high-performing students then abandon the university for other institutions where they will actually be challenged, leading to a further fall in average class performance.
The Trinity Access Program (TAP), which works to prepare disadvantaged students for university long before they start their CAO applications, guarantees that non-traditional students are as prepared for university as they can be. Simply replacing that program with a percentage-based admissions policy is a recipe for institutional disaster.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Was the Medieval Irish Ailithreach a Pilgrim?

Ailithreach = Peregrinus = Pilgrim? I think not!