Cambridge have raised their A-level entry requirements for science courses, now requiring A*A*A rather than A*AA. These changes will apply for 2015 entry onwards, effecting all science courses other than Psychological and Behavioral Sciences.Upon the introduction of the A* in 2008, Cambridge responded by immediately raising entry requirements for some subjects to include an A*, whilst Oxford lagged behind by a year. This raises the possibility that Oxford may again follow suit.The reasoning behind the change was that a high percentage, 92%, of students who met their offer were exceeding the A*AA minimum. An increase in applications from foreign students was another motive for raising the grade requirements.According to a Cambridge spokesperson, a candidate with 2 or more A*s at A-level would be better prepared to take on a challenging Cambridge course. They said, “The revised offer gives applicants a clearer indication of the level of attainment realistically required to compete for a place, and to thrive on science courses.”Cambridge student Laura Bampton, Robinson College, welcomes the change and agrees with the University about people with higher grades being better prepared, commenting, “I wouldn’t have thought twice about applying, even if the offer was higher and I doubt many people would, because nobody applies unless they’re pretty confident they’re in multiple A* territory.”One Oxford engineer noted that A-level exams in scientific subjects tend to be fairly similar in content from year to year, observing that, “in science subjects the paper on the day shouldn’t affect your result enough for it to make a difference.” He did, however, emphasise the importance of the interview in admissions decisions, adding, “Interviews are a far better marker of a candidate’s ability than A-levels, personal statements and tests.”However, the potential implications that the decision will have on access and the public’s perception of Cambridge have alarmed one student, who said, “The general reaction is one of concern at how this will affect applications from students who have the potential to be at Cambridge but are from non-traditional Cambridge backgrounds and are therefore very uncertain about applying and their likelihood of getting in.” On the other hand, in an article for the Cambidge student newspaper Varsity, Alice Udale-Smith, commented, “Whilst it may therefore seem callous to deny students without those grades the option to study here, it is infinitely preferable to awarding them a place only to watch them fail and leave without a degree at all.”The responses among Oxford students have been mixed. One second year biochemist told Cherwell, “I wouldn’t be surprised if a change to bring subjects on par with Cambridge does occur, especially if the percentage of A* achieved during A-levels increases. It should be remembered though that the majority of Cambridge’s sciences operate under the umbrella of natural sciences, whereas Oxford’s single science system means that each department is more or less responsible for it entrance requirements; such flexibility is not available in the Cambridge system.”Medic George Gillett reacted negatively to the changes from an access point of view, saying, “Higher standard offers mount an incredible challenge and disincentive to students at low-performing schools. It is a shame that Cambridge have given even greater emphasis to an indicator which is heavily influenced by teaching quality, rather than focusing more on markers of core ability, such as admissions tests.”St Anne’s computer scientist Andy Wright disagreed, commenting, “I feel that previous changes to the education system such as tuition fee rises are more unappealing than a grade rise. If a student strongly wants to apply to Cambridge they should not be put off by a grade boundary. I didn’t get A*A*A, but due to the lower grade boundaries, I could afford to do less work, indeed having a job at home to pay for university cost me revision time. With a higher boundary I would have been more focused on my work, potentially better preparing myself for the intense Oxford terms I have had.”AJ Gilbert, a mathematician, suggested that the problem could lie with the A-level system itself. He said, “My concern would be the access issue but I doubt this is something that can be dealt with just by tweaking entrance requirements. To the extent that this is an issue, maybe it says more about A-levels than admissions.”
On April 29 the North Bergen Free Public Library once again hosted a celebration of food and culture from around the globe, this time featuring “A Taste of the Middle East.” Free festivities filled the parking lot next to the uptown library with tents full of food vendors and cultural demonstrations, spilling out into the street where a bandstand decorated by Hala’s Wedding Center in North Bergen featured vibrant entertainment throughout the perfect summer afternoon.Mayor Nicholas Sacco opened the event, joined by Commissioners Julio Marenco, Hugo Cabrera, and Allen Pascual, with Don DiLeo emceeing the show. A fashion show featuring clothing donated by Al Karam Fashion in North Bergen and introduced by high school teacher Hamza Abdelhadi got things off to a colorful start, followed by dance presentations from the Egyptian Celebration Company, the Freedom Group, and the Rising Star Academy.Performances included dapke dancing, a saidi stick dance, and a communal wedding dance with the crowd joining in. Demonstrations included Arabic calligraphy, henne, how to make stuffed grape leaves, and how to wear a hijab. Plentiful food was generously donated by Lido Restaurant, Platter King, Al Madina, and the North Hudson Islamic Education Center.An estimated 350 participants attended, including many dressed in traditional garb. 1 / 22 2 / 22 3 / 22 4 / 22 5 / 22 6 / 22 7 / 22 8 / 22 9 / 22 10 / 22 11 / 22 12 / 22 13 / 22 14 / 22 15 / 22 16 / 22 17 / 22 18 / 22 19 / 22 20 / 22 21 / 22 22 / 22 ❮ ❯ × 1 / 22 2 / 22 3 / 22 4 / 22 5 / 22 6 / 22 7 / 22 8 / 22 9 / 22 10 / 22 11 / 22 12 / 22 13 / 22 14 / 22 15 / 22 16 / 22 17 / 22 18 / 22 19 / 22 20 / 22 21 / 22 22 / 22 ❮ ❯
Kingsmill has spotted a gap in the market and filled it with a new smooth loaf, baked with oats and wheat, branded Oatilicious. The firm said it has looked to what’s popular within the breakfast cereal market and has applied it to bread. “Oat-led products, combining the goodness of wholegrain oats with great taste, are already popular in other categories, but Kingsmill Oatilicious is the first branded loaf of its kind in the bread category,” said Michael Harris, Kingsmill marketing controller. Hitting the shelves this month, the loaf will be supported by a £1.3m marketing campaign. Looking at the health trend, research by Kingsmill revealed that 22% of food choices are made with health benefits in mind. However, as Kingsmill believed the health benefits of oats are well-known to consumers, it felt it should concentrate on the ’taste’ message when marketing.The loaf has been developed to fit into the ’healthier white’ segment of the market, now worth £186.5m (source: Nielsen).Taste tests showed consumers’ opinion of the product improved once they had tasted it, compared to their perception of what it might be like beforehand.