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 Post subject: School Certificate
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 14:45 
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Could someone explain how this exam worked exactly? I know it was a requirement for university before they changed it to GCEs and A-levels, but what did credit, distinction and matric mean? What subjects did you take, or did you have to choose just a handful depending on your intended career path? What form did you take it in? I read somewhere that if you went on to pass the Higher afterwards it exempted you from some first year university work, was that true?

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 16:31 
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I don't know a lot about this, but I do know that there were a certain number of subjects that all had to be passed at once, and until you got them all you couldn't say you had School Cert.

The two levels of Junior Matric, and Matric. I think came earlier...

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 17:42 
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I don't think that it was that different from GCE "O" and "A" levels. It was taken at two levels, usually at 16 and 18. There's a brief description of it here. I missed it by a school generation but many of the staff still talked about School Cert when they actually meant GCE.

We were the first year of GCE "O" Level to be given actual percentage marks as opposed to Pass and Fail gradings. There's a discourse on the marking system of GCE here.

I have a feeling it moved away from percentages again after a short while.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 17:50 
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Didn't you have to get a credit in 5 subjects to get Matric?

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 18:12 
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Matriculation was one of these concepts that really related to universities in their pre-1950s form.

You hear of various aristocrats who go up to University and who come down without bothering to take a degree. Now, in the days when "university" basically meant "Oxford or Cambridge", the only requirement for going was persuading a college to accept you and that tended to be based on whether or not you could afford the fees rather than intellectual capacity. Actually getting a degree, on the other hand, did depend on intellect and the Universities, therefore, required people to sit an exam (often after a couple years) before they were permitted to sit degree exams.
If they passed these (fairly basic) exams then they could be entered on the University rolls (as opposed to the college rolls). This entry was the act of matriculation and you could not be awarded a degree (or sit for one) unless you had "matriculated".

The advent of exams that could be taken at school (for example, GO mentions people sitting for "Cambridge Local" exams) meant that the intellectual capacity could be rated before getting to university, so you find that obtaining specific subjects at a specific level exempted people for taking the matriculation exams at university.

It should be noted that an "exemption from matriculation" did not, in itself mean you would be accepted on a particular course. The course might have particular requirements above and beyond the subjects required for matriculation (ie in the 1970s, 2 A'levels passes were required to matriculate but most courses required specific A'levels at specific grades)

As far as I aware, the "exemption from first year work" referred to the difference between Junior Matriculation and Senior Matriculation and was rather the difference between having to do a 4 year degree course and a 3 year degree course. The exams referred to were Junior and Senior Local exams, not School Certificate as such. "Local" exams did overlap with the introduction of School Certificate.


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 19:37 
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I'm another who is a generation removed from School Certficate and Higher School Certificate, but from what I can recall being told by my parents, if you passed five subjects with Credit in School Certificate, you had what was called 'Matriculation Exemption' and were eligible to enter university. If you stayed on at school (or went to Technical College or similar) to take Higher School Certificate in Sciences and passed with good marks, you were considered to have attained the equivalent of the Inter-BSc. university level standing and so went straight into second year studies. I'm not sure whether same applied in Arts or Social Science subjects, though.


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 19:45 
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Thanks for the replies, it sounds extremely complicated. :? There isn't much reference to the School Cert. in the CS books, except for a bit at the beginning of Highland Twins where Robin gets a letter from Elizabeth Arnett detailing her results:

Quote:
Robin glanced hastily through the sheet of scribbled writing. 'Yes; credit in English, French, and botany; pass in maths and Latin. Oh, well done, Elizabeth! And she's heard from Biddy, Nicole and Myfanwy, and they've all passed too. Biddy and Nicole have distinction in French and Myfanwy has credit in Latin and botany. She doesn't know about the rest.


And in Rescue, Jo says that Reg needs "School Certif. with matric" in order to go to Edinburgh to study medicine. So taking him as an example, and if I've understood everyone correctly, he would have taken the School Cert. at 16, so probably Upper Fifth or whatever Polgarth's equivalent was, and would have had to have taken six subjects including English, maths and at least one science or a language, and would have had to have got credits in at least five of them in order to matriculate? And then he presumably stayed on at school for another couple of years, possibly doing the Higher in his final year, before moving on to Edinburgh at 18? (He would have been in one of the last year groups to do the School Cert. before it was changed to GCE.) I'm guessing he would have taken subjects like chemistry and botany and probably Latin, since he was planning to study medicine.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016, 21:06 
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I have my father's actual School Certificate, awarded by the University of Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations, and some of the exam papers for the subjects he took.

He took his School Cert in 1932. Subjects were in three groups - English Subjects Group I, Languages Group II and Science and Mathematics Group III. He passed with credit in French and Commercial Subjects.

I've only just read through the Precis Writing paper for the first time. The story candidates were required to precis was that of the original Grizel Cochrane! Wonder if there was some sniggering from the girls sitting the paper.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 03:25 
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Aquabird wrote:

And in Rescue, Jo says that Reg needs "School Certif. with matric" in order to go to Edinburgh to study medicine. So taking him as an example, and if I've understood everyone correctly, he would have taken the School Cert. at 16, so probably Upper Fifth or whatever Polgarth's equivalent was, and would have had to have taken six subjects including English, maths and at least one science or a language, and would have had to have got credits in at least five of them in order to matriculate? And then he presumably stayed on at school for another couple of years, possibly doing the Higher in his final year, before moving on to Edinburgh at 18? (He would have been in one of the last year groups to do the School Cert. before it was changed to GCE.) I'm guessing he would have taken subjects like chemistry and botany and probably Latin, since he was planning to study medicine.


You are correct in that he'd have needed a minimum of 6 passes to get "School Cert." ; and to get "Matriculation Exemption" 5 of those would have to be credits or higher. By this date he would have HAD to have taken (and got) Highers to get into University. "Matric" by this stage had become almost academic (ha!) and there would have been little or no chance of being admitted purely on the basis of School Cert. alone

However, his path into Edinburgh would have been facilitated by a word to the Dean of the Medical School from his tutor or headmaster who was an old friend (no doubt they'd been at school or university together) or perhaps from some other influential person in the medical profession...

EBD does seem to be confused in general about exams and university qualification. It isn't surprising because the situation changed immensely over her lifetime. Even though she recognises that "national" exams have come in and everyone sits them, she still persists in treating university entrance as though it is entirely a matter of recommendation and/or money.


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 08:05 
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Like when Jack asks if Prof Richardson has "put your (Roger's) name down" for university :roll: .

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 09:06 
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It's funny how everyone assumes EBD simply thinks that putting your name down is enough. I'd always thought that the characters were having their names put down to register for the entrance exams.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 11:24 
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Aquabird wrote:
I'm guessing he would have taken subjects like chemistry and botany and probably Latin, since he was planning to study medicine.
You can safely assume Latin anyway, I would have thought - ISTR that it was an entrance requirement at School Cert/ O Level for most University courses well into the 1960s.


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 12:15 
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I took O levels in 1965 [& A levels 2 years later] and my year were told al through school that we'd need Latin O level for university entrance. I can't remember whether it was O level year, or while we were in LVI, that some of the newer universities relaxed the requirement so that Latin wasn't necessary.
It was still needed for Oxbridge and most of the earlier redbricks.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 16:59 
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Noreen wrote:
Aquabird wrote:
I'm guessing he would have taken subjects like chemistry and botany and probably Latin, since he was planning to study medicine.
You can safely assume Latin anyway, I would have thought - ISTR that it was an entrance requirement at School Cert/ O Level for most University courses well into the 1960s.

A Czech friend of mine was horrified to discover that British medical schools no longer require Latin. He said that for this reason his daughter had decided she could not study medicine in the UK which she had very much wanted to do.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 17:55 
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I didn't need Latin to do the newly created BEd in Manchester in 1965/6, but I most definitely needed Maths.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 21:39 
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I'd have loved the chance to study Latin at school - I vividly remember my first year French teacher saying how much she enjoyed it - but it was long gone from the curriculum by the time I reached high school. (Although according to the SQA's website it's now being offered again with the new revamped exam structure, how gutting.)

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2016, 23:36 
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EBD certainly doesn't realise the importance of exams as during the first year in Switzerland they decide not to bother with them. Unless that is just a ruse to get girls to say on for another year...


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 00:09 
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Victoria wrote:
Aquabird wrote:

And in Rescue, Jo says that Reg needs "School Certif. with matric" in order to go to Edinburgh to study medicine. So taking him as an example, and if I've understood everyone correctly, he would have taken the School Cert. at 16, so probably Upper Fifth or whatever Polgarth's equivalent was, and would have had to have taken six subjects including English, maths and at least one science or a language, and would have had to have got credits in at least five of them in order to matriculate? And then he presumably stayed on at school for another couple of years, possibly doing the Higher in his final year, before moving on to Edinburgh at 18? (He would have been in one of the last year groups to do the School Cert. before it was changed to GCE.) I'm guessing he would have taken subjects like chemistry and botany and probably Latin, since he was planning to study medicine.


You are correct in that he'd have needed a minimum of 6 passes to get "School Cert." ; and to get "Matriculation Exemption" 5 of those would have to be credits or higher. By this date he would have HAD to have taken (and got) Highers to get into University. "Matric" by this stage had become almost academic (ha!) and there would have been little or no chance of being admitted purely on the basis of School Cert. alone


The concept of Matriculation was still there when I went to University in 1961. We had to have a minimum of 5 GCEs, at least 2 at A level, and had to include English language (or Welsh as I went to Cardiff), maths, a science, Latin (or Greek I think) and a foreign language. When we produced our GCE certificates at registration we were given a matriculation certificate.


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 11:14 
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ivohenry wrote:
The concept of Matriculation was still there when I went to University in 1961.
And when I went in 1970, to the extent that there was actually a ceremony called Matriculation, when all the new undergraduates had to have their names read out and go up and shake hands with the Vice Chancellor, who was in full academic ceremonial dress (scarlet with gold lace, if I remember correctly). Academic requirements very similar to ivohenry's, except that the Latin requirement had gone by then.

Incidentally, if anyone ever feels sceptical about the plethora of unusual names at the CS, UEA's student newspaper was much struck with the high number of unusual fore-names we had between us and suggested that some of them must have been made up for the occasion!


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 12:30 
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When I was doing my A levels (1964-66) we had to do a curious little exam called "Use Of English". It was assumed that everyone doing A levels would be going to university and it was needed , I presume, to prove we could read and write correctly.
I still have the GCE certificate.


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