18 May 2011
Students must be prepared to hit the ground running when they get to university, according to Ann Puntis, Chief Executive of University of Cambridge International Examinations.
In an article for The Times newspaper on 13 May 2011, Ann Puntis said that students should arrive at university with an appropriate level of subject knowledge, self-directed learning skills, and the ability to undertake independent research – and that is the view of students themselves.
In a recent survey of UK undergraduates carried out by University of Cambridge International Examinations, nearly all (94%) current first-year students said that their secondary education could have prepared them better for the academic rigour of university.
According to Ann Puntis, extensive use of modular qualifications in the UK means that students spend too much time in the classroom preparing for exams. She said: “There is a danger that the overemphasis on ongoing examination demanded by modular qualifications is creating a widening gulf between the skill set of school-leavers and what is expected of them in higher education.”
The research points to the benefits of more in-depth, independent study provided by qualifications such as Cambridge Pre-U. With Cambridge Pre-U, students take exams at the end of a two-year course – which means more time for teaching, and increased freedom in the classroom to explore topics in detail.
Cambridge Pre-U is taught in 142 schools in the UK, of which 45 per cent are in the state sector.
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Read the article by Ann Puntis in The Times (subscription only)