Open Access, Selection and Closure

Open-ness, as a possibility inherent in distance education in general, and as central to the Open University [UK] in particular, is a feature that has attracted the widest support and interest, from the whole political spectrum, in Britain and abroad. Open-ness appears to be a straightforward matter, involving simply the abolition of those admissions requirements, most obviously formal entry qualifications, that characterize conventional universities. However,  open-ness at the OU is not as simple a matter as it appears,  but one which requires critical understanding. There are hidden connections with what seem to be the opposite of open-ness - conventional processes of selection that supposedly have been abolished,  and closure of access to occupations. Both can coexist with open-ness of entry to a university,  or be even more fully developed at an open university. 

To understand these apparent paradoxes,  it is convenient to consider the problems and difficulties associated with open-ness at a number of stages - at admission,  during the progress of courses, and in terms of the subsequent destinations of students who have gained their qualifications. 

         Admissions Policy 

The official admissions policy at the OU is clear. Students are to be accepted 'first come, first served', regardless of initial educational qualifications, subject only to a quota system for course and region. This policy was hailed as a radical departure from British university practice, which traditionally had been most selective. The development of this policy reveals a number of specific struggles and compromises designed to win consent from initially sceptical audiences. The end result bore traces of these struggles in the form of certain reservations about, and qualifications of, the apparently bold defiance of tradition. This is the first level at which contradictions and paradoxes appear. 

The official and semi-official histories of the immediate period before the establishment of the OU barely mention problems with admissions policy, although there are connected discussions about how the name of the University came to be chosen and then changed, and how the role of the University came to be clarified and defined. A number of internal documents are more directly informative about the development of an admissions policy. Taken together, these documents enable a specific account to be constructed. 

The early planning meetings for the new institution had already encountered some scepticism about whether open-ness would lead to a decline in 'standards'. 1 Confidence was expressed in the 'new' methods of educational technology to deal with this problem. However, the White Paper, in 1966, had expressed a certain equivocation about open access nevertheless: 

 'Enrolment as a student of the University should be open to everyone. . . irrespective of educational qualifications. . . but. . . It would be necessary to provide an advisory service for intending students which would help them select suitable courses, for some of which a minimum starting level of qualifications would be advisable'. 2
This view  was to be developed in the policies of two internal bodies at the OU which began meeting in 1969.  The Admissions Project Working Group and the Admissions Working Party were both manned by senior academics, administrators and educational consultants. 

The policies that emerged expressed an anxiety about a possible conflict between fully open admissions and a 'framework of resource limitations which places constraints on what can or cannot be done'.  3 The early debates about the viability of the OU had produced a particular stress on cost-effectiveness, and the anxiety was that unsuitable students might drop out and thus waste resources.  To identify such students, certain criteria were outlined as possible predictors, in the form of 'general conditions of acceptance as an Open University student'.  4 In effect, a selection policy had been developed after all. 

These general conditions were to have been quite detailed: 

'(a) a level of attainment which will allow a student to cope with the demands of the course with a reasonable chance of benefitting from it and successfully completing it; 
(b) aptitude for learning in the Open University situation; 
(c) motivation for studies at University level. '
The precise sequence of events is not clear, but by this time the first application forms had also been designed, and they included questions about an applicant's age, qualifications, family circumstances, leisure interests, and occupation. These data were needed for some proposed sociological research on social mobility, but they could also be useful for selection purposes, as the internal papers make clear. A 'system for ranking applicants ', within a quota, was to be devised, drawing on these data. 

The date of application was to stand as the basis for rank order, consistent with 'first come, first served', but the date itself could be 'modified by age [of the applicant] and counsellor's assessment'. In detail, age would be 'weighted on a 3-point scale' giving a weight of '3 to the 25-34 age group. . . and a weight of 1 to the 50 and over age group'. 'Suitability' would also be 'weighted on a 3-point scale', and, finally: 

'The sum of the weights would be used to bring forward the date of application by an amount to be agreed. . . e.g. if it is decided that a weight of four advances the date of application by four weeks, someone applying on the 15th January might have this date advanced after weighting to the 18th December'.
'Suitability' was to be assessed by special admissions counsellors. These were to be offered firm guidance in the form of an 'algorithm' produced by the Admissions Project Working Group mentioned above. 'Overall suitability' was defined as a 'function of two more or less independent factors'. The first factor concerned educational qualifications, and these were to be subdivided and organized into a four-point scale. The other factor was produced by considering 'conditions of study', and these were to be ranked on a five-point scale. The two scales were organized to produce a matrix, and applicants falling into particular cells of the matrix, after assessment, were to be admitted without further ado, while occupants of other cells were to be further 'counselled'.

Later, still more modifications were added to allow for 'motivation'. As an indicator of suitable motivation, one paper suggested that counsellors look for 'high quality leisure interests' such as 

'membership of Club, local Council etc. ,   participation in theatre, music group, Trade Union affairs etc., intellectual hobbies . . . quality reading - especially non-fiction and "classics". '
'Conditions of study' were also specified further to include 'consideration of the applicant's job;domestic circumstances- nunber of children in the home etc. , applicant's marital status'.

The 'counselling' process for unsuitable applicants involved sending a letter, advising them 

'to withdraw your application and to investigate the possibility of taking some kind of preparatory course. . . to avoid the possibly disheartening situation of finding yourself unable to cope. . . However, you are quite at liberty to request that your application be allowed to stand, in which case you will be considered further when places are allocated in August. ' 10 
It is not clear whether any applicants who did refuse the advice to withdraw would then be subject to the procedure described above, whereby dates of application for suitable students were advanced. This procedure - 'queue jumping' - had continued to undergo development in 1970. Inevitably, the operation had been computerized. The program allowed the 'computer to cream off "super alpha" applications coming from teachers and/or graduates etc. ', and to 'pass the rest for scanning and assessment'. 11 Further, the computer could adjust the weights of the various scales and indices (similar to the ones mentioned above). Educational attainment was clearly to have the greatest weight initially, as the definition of 'super alphas' indicates, but adjustments could be made as experience produced 'significant correlations between the incidence of success and failure and the various factors'. 12. It is worth noting that the major targets for counselling were expected to be 'categories 5, 6, and 8', 13 that is 'housewives', 'manual workers' and 'shopkeepers and service workers' respectively. 

Ironically, after all the effort to define selection criteria, the schemes were not needed, since the overwhelming majority of applicants were 'suitable' anyway. According to some 'materials to be used at a press conference of 20th August 1970', 14  36. 6 per cent of all applicants were teachers, and 40 per cent were in the desired age range 25-34. The Admisions Committee had 'thought at one stage to take into account age. . . but when we looked at our applicants we found only 7 per cent were above 50 so that constraint eliminated itself', while 'on the question of suitability it is worth noting that less than 2 per cent of the 42, 821 applicants are, in our view, not yet ready for an Open University course'. 

It is possible, of course, that the criteria of suitability had been altered, made less demanding or less conventional than those cited above, by the time of this intended press conference. It is also possible to see this close match between desired and actual intakes as a triumph for the 'targetting policy', whereby advertsing, publicity, and policies of 'credit exemption' were designed specifically to attract particular groups such as certificated but non-graduate teachers. 15 OU administrators had also relied upon a lack of awareness of the OU among the 'lower socio-economic groups', which had been revealed by surveys in the early days. Thus the social class patterning of applications '. . . came as no surprise at all. It was precisely what we expected. . . I confess I was not unhappy at the way things had turned out. ' 16

An admissions scheme like the one described seems to have been operated for the first intake, even if its selection function was not actually used. Admissions counselling seems to have continued, at least in the early years, especially for those unqualified students wanting to take two Foundation Courses at the same time. Whether 'queue jumping' was ever operated with this group is unknown. Criteria of suitability similar to the ones used above were used to help regional counsellors identify students 'at risk', that is likely to drop out. 17 As applications from well-qualified candidates began to fall, towards the end of the 1970s, an admissions scheme seems to have been discussed again, 18 but rising rates of applications solved the problem. 

The main use of the queue-jumping procedure seems to have involved a rather ironic reversal of its original proposed use. 'Working class' applicants were able to be sponsored, by using the scheme to provide them with 'slightly more of the places than their share of applications warranted'. This still produced a manageably small proportion of such students, permitting a certain experimental attitude, and a means of countering any adverse publicity about low numbers, as well as discharging the senior administrators' 'desire. . . to do something for the deprived groups in the community'. 19 Generally, although the initial interest in 'safe' ('middle class') students was justified in terms of the need to achieve initial academic recognition, no real steps have been taken, even now, to attract more 'working class' students: 'Changes would be necessary in many areas. . . Whether there is the will to make such changes remains to be seen'. 20

In these circumstances, it is clear that the use or not of an elaborate selection scheme for students is not a matter of principle but a matter of pragmatic adjustments to student demand, likely drop out rates, and places available. Here, and in the use of very conventional criteria to perform selection, the Open University is no different from its traditional counterparts. 

It is important to stress the conventionality of the selection procedure in order to  resist a cynical interpretation of these developments. It is possible to see the use of a computer program to 'experiment' with the date of application as a cynical device to preserve the public face of open-ness and 'first come, first served', while covertly practising selection. Certainly, the public regret about low numbers of applicants from the 'working classes' sits rather uneasily with a policy which would have discouraged them quite effectively if they had applied. But accusations of betrayal of principle or hypocrisy would be a distraction. The policy is conventional, it replicates what conventional universities do, and, in the circumstances, it was probably an inevitable development. It is useful in revealing the strategic nature of the commitment to open-ness at the Open University, which the histories pursue in more detail. 

    Open Access: 'Winning Consent' 

A number of accounts now exist of the processes involved in achieving political support for the OU. The new organization did have a remarkably rapid gestation period between Wilson's speeches, in 1963, and the first courses in 1971. In the course of those brief years, a number of significant changes occurred, in what looks like a period of intense political activity, apparently centred upon a few powerful individuals. 

The original idea for Harold Wilson was for an organization aimed at providing rather vaguely defined skills packages to update particular groups of workers. Broadcasting was to be used to overcome a perceived shortage of teachers in the key areas. 21 Very little discussion seems to have taken place even within the formal Parliamentary machinery. The decision to launch the new organization was never discussed or prioritized by any Labour Party policy groups. Instead, personal interventions by Harold Wilson and Jennie Lee, and their ability to gain the support of 'a small, unknown group of influential people', 22  in Government and the Civil Service, were decisive in acquiring the necessary funding while largely avoiding the formal channels. Even the very basic attempts to calculate demand or costs, eventually undertaken by the official Committees, came well after the broad outlines of the future University had been agreed. 23 The educational functions of the organization were simply presented as a fait accompli to both Advisory and Planning Committees by Jennie Lee who simply 'deemed' them to be as she wished. 24 At the most obvious level, the rather vague and unsystematic beliefs of these powerful individuals, and their pursuit of strategic compromise with their opponents, were crucial. Later, the individualistic emphasis of these histories will be reconsidered. 

The strategic emphasis is revealed in the discussions about the use of broadcasting, for example. The intention to use broadcasting to overcome the shortage of teachers has been mentioned already, but there was also a suggested role in 'enriching' existing adult and vocational services. Another suggestion was that technical skills were to be complemented by more 'cultural' broadcasts, offering a more general educational programme for a wider audience, including 'eavesdroppers'. 25 These ideas were to undergo considerable development and modification, as a result of both critical reaction and calculations of feasibility. 

Public broadcasting represented the greatest potential for open-ness, given that anyone with the right receiving equipment can gain access, regardless of any qualifications, and without any further processes of admission. This potential above all raised the liberating possibilities of immediate access to knowledge which had interested some early writers, 26 encouraged by the first name for the University - 'The University of the Air', its working title until 1966. On the other hand, the use of broadcasting also attracted the greatest hostility from conventional educators - 'profound scepticism, garnished with ridicule and hostility. . . generated by the very name [University of the Air]. . . which. . . suggested taking a degree by watching the telly'. 27 In response to this much more important reaction, both Committees were to stress that broadcasting was to be only one element of an integrated teaching system which relied in practice on high-quality correspondence teaching. By 1967, broadcasting was still considered as useful for its publicity value, 28 and possibly for the ways in which emphasising broadcasting would avoid the total domination of the proposals by a still hostile Department of Education and Science, while enlisting support from powerful allies at the BBC, but the name of the University had been changed 'to remove the emphasis on television as a medium of instruction'. 29

Choosing to call the new organization an open university in these circumstances seems a strategic matter rather than a positive commitment to open access. Similar considerations seem to have been at work in emphasizing the university status of the organization. Jennie Lee apparently had been keen to confer the title of university partly to act as an 'abiding memorial to Aneurin Bevan, a graduate of the National Labour College', 30 and partly because of the strategic advantages involved: 'it would be dangerous if the university, by any suggested association with   . . . adult education. . . was tainted with the same [low status] image'. 31 The insistence on university standards would reassure the critics in higher education, although at the risk of losing support in the adult education sector - but there was no doubt as to which were the more damaging critics. Moreover, the Open University, by choosing to concentrate upon a specific audience of the adult and unqualified, with direct funding from the DES, would prevent any rivalry or undue competition for funds with conventional universities. 32

Mixed motives lie behind the proposals about the audience for the university. Early emphasis on 'eavesdropping' persisted partly because Lee believed that a substantial proportion of the audience would be interested in the courses as a kind of leisure pursuit, hence 'only a minority  . . . will want to accept the full discipline of study'. 33  However, a more calculative motive is detectable too since in the early days no-one was sure of the likely size of the audience, and specifying as large a target as possible was politic. Later, by the time the Planning Committee reported, some estimates of the potential audience for degree courses had proved encouraging. Working on Robbins Report calculations of the 'wastage' of the old selective system, a potential 'pool of talent' of some 300,000 adults had been identified, who were capable of higher education but had been denied the chance. An even more significant pool of 250,000 non-graduate teachers also provided reassurance. While it was still unclear whether high proportions of this group would be interested in higher education, the OU had seemed to have secured a market of sufficient size, and 'eavesdropping' ceased to be stressed. 

Even this size of market was limited, of course, for an institution that planned an intake of some 30,000 students per annum. Partly because of the need to widen the appeal, and partly because of a previous commitment to 'education as investment', the first Vice-Chancellor, Sir Walter Perry, argued that the OU must not lose sight of its original role in providing technical skills as well as university courses of a conventional kind. Some still current views about the role of knowledge in economic growth, and the supposed rapid obsolescence of knowledge led Perry to see the future of the OU in offering 'refresher courses' to 'new generations of managers'. 34 Such courses could even be self-financing, attracting 'investment' directly from 'industry', enabling the OU to create courses to the customers' requirements. A considerable re-sale potential was identified, once the course team had done its work and the course units and tapes were 'on the shelf. . . no longer. . . only in the minds and lecture notes of the teacher'. 35 Such thoroughgoing commercialism, unusual in British higher education in 1970, but common today, would assist the selling of the OU to politicians, and enable it to survive what, with some prescience, Perry called the 'serious cash flow problems' expected in the future for all universities. Such plans were indeed implemented, beginning in 1973 with the non-undergraduate 'post-experience' courses, and culminating in the commercially successful 'associate student' and Continuing Education programmes. With the former, marketing and considerations of sales potential may triumph to the extent of compromising the principles of academic sequencing and thus the claimed concerns for adequate preparation of students. 36

Perry's commercialism , in 1970, casts a new light upon the undergraduate courses too: 'Only when the Open University had been accepted as a credible university. . . by offering in plain view an undergraduate programme of quality' could funds be attracted and sales secured'. The open-ness of the free market informs these considerations, rather than any notion of opening academic discourse to public participation. Indeed, Perry believed, 'in the last analysis it would not matter if we never produced a graduate: what would really matter is that we helped in this process of continuing education. '37 

To summarize, the OU came to embrace a policy of open-ness in a rather residual and strategic manner. The 'eavesdropping' possibilities provided by public broadcasting, the need to attract a large audience to gain cost advantages, and a desire to avoid the hostility of powerful groups already in the conventional education market produced the impetus toward open access, as much as any positive intention to reform the exclusive nature of higher education or provide a 'second chance' for those unfairly excluded. 

Further, even in the earliest stages, it was realized that a university, to be credible, would need to provide educational courses of a type and standard that would be no more accessible academically than existing conventional ones, although the new pedagogy was intended to be more effective. Any perceived conflict between open access and 'standards' was to be decided in favour of the latter. When some early criticism about the 'middle class' nature of the first intakes was being aired, Lee's reply was revealing: 

'Our Open  University is going from strength to strength. And why? Because we refused to compromise at all in its standards of scholarship'. 38 
 And, on an earlier occasion: 
'It is not a working class university. It was never intended to be a working class university. It was planned as a university. It is the Open University. '39 
Of course, any support from socialist radicals depended rather on this commitment remaining unclear, although, to be fair, conventional university curricula were commonly seen simply as neutral, or universal rather than as infused with 'ruling class' values, as was to become popular in some radical circles later. 

The analysis at this rather individual level also shows how a number of seemingly contradictory or opposed positions can be resolved in compromises around rather vague but 'practical' policies. All parties had a common interest in the 'survival' of the emerging organization in what looked like a hostile climate. Thus even though Lee and Perry seemed to have held different views about technical education, for example, both were united in seeking to make the OU appear credible, and, therefore, both were able to support a policy of developing conventional undergraduate courses of a suitably 'high' standard. Of course, Lee would have wanted these to be the major output of the University, while Perry wanted them as an interim strategy to secure acceptance before embarking on the real task as far as he was concerned. 

'Practical', organizational decisions can be taken rapidly and in public, while the value aspects of those decisions can be left as a matter for private concern. Given the haste to establish the new organization, reinforced by the Government of the day partly for simple electoral reasons, discussing any 'deeper purposes' or 'ultimate goals' must have seemed wasteful, indulgent, and likely to lead only to (party political) conflicts and delay. The winning of consent was much more likely if attention was focussed on the 'practicalities', with value implications left as ambiguous as possible, in order to be 'all things to all men'. 

If the 'rationalization' of public life has proceeded as far as some critics suggest, values, goals, ends, and the conceptual equipment to discuss them have long ceased to concern politicians anyway. Considering the conceptual resources available to the decision-makers introduces another level to the analysis, one that moves away from the focus on the personal actions of the individuals involved. Again, there is a danger that these individuals will be seen as uniquely cynical or strategic, that they can somehow be blamed directly for the compromises that took place. Instead, it is argued, the decisions taken faithfully reflect the conventional wisdom and the orthodoxies of a more general context of educational policy. 'Winning consent' at the individual level involves mobilizing this conventional wisdom, albeit selectively perhaps. In the educational policies of the late 1960s, open-ness had already been limited to a matter of access to educational processes which already involved selection and unequal outcomes. The ground for discussion had been firmly established, the legitimate and 'realistic' positions to take defined beforehand. In this sense, the positions which had to be reconciled in a bid to 'win consent' had been constituted already, irrespective of the actual individuals who came to fill them. 

The interplay between policies invoking 'education as investment'and 'education for its own sake' has occurred throughout the history of State education, for example, long before the specific versions outlined by Perry and Lee had to be reconciled. The same goes for policies of open access versus 'standards', or'social justice' versus 'efficiency'. 40 These apparent opposites had been reconciled before, in the policy of 'comprehensive' education for example, or in the very earliest arguments for State education. 41 

Opening access to State educational institutions has now been seen to have led to subsequent selection, the 'maintenance of standards', and the continued selective and structuring effects of schooling itself. Much of this critical work is, of course, confined to rather recent academic analysis, though. After an initially close association with Labour Party policy, sociological analysis had become separated, at least since the 1970s. 42 The politicians involved in the decisions at the OU in the 1960s were using largely uncriticized, already harmonized concepts of 'open-ness' or 'standards', so it was particularly easy to arrive at a consensus that an educational organization had to be 'functional', whether in 'investment' or 'cultural' terms, or that open access could be permitted only after a 'realistic' harmonization of 'natural' educational hierarchies ('suitability' for students and 'standards' for courses). Even had the individuals involved turned to educational theory or party ideologies to inform their debates, they would have found very little to enable them to penetrate and resolve these apparent inevitabilities. 

It is hardly surprising, in these circumstances, that open-ness took such a limited form. It could only have been access that was opened, and only the talented or the meritorious who could have been the target for such openings. This had long been the consensus, in the interests of both 'fairness' and 'efficiency' in State education. The admissions policy at the OU fits with this, and shows the power of agreed policy quite adequately, even if in a rather modernized form, it could be argued.Thus the elaborate categorizations and the use of a computer program were simply more efficient, explicit and rational means of performing what had already been established as normal educational practice. The redundancy of the scheme, given a group of 'suitable' applicants, only went to show how well the educational technologists involved had anticipated the workings of the social system, how 'realistic' they had been. 

Finally, it is worth emphasising how limited the concept of open-ness had become, compared with the more expansive and radical notions sometimes ascribed to the OU by outside commentators, and possibly still held by a few radicals inside the OU itself. For the radicals, the slogan that 'knowledge is power' had led to a view that the diffusion of knowledge would lead to a widespread power to criticize and understand, and break free from 'false consciousness'. 'Working class' persons could receive the latest critical materials and techniques immediately, and would be able to apply these insights directly to their own surroundings. Theory and practice would be united in the person of the OU student or eavesdropper, still located firmly in work, family and social class, yet able to participate in reflection and critique. 

These possibilities are worth considering and criticising in more depth (below) but it is clear that nothing like this notion of open-ness appears at all in the policies and processes described in the histories of the establishment of the OU. The admissions policy reflects this lack of emphasis, and makes more sense if it is seen as no more radical than policies to select adult or 'extra-mural' students for a conventional university. The OU might well have been the first university to specialize in such students, but deciding to admit them at all is hardly revolutionary, especially when such a well-qualified group of applicants was available in the crucial first years. 

    Social Class and Attainment

Although much of the public interest has centred on access and admission, attainment rates for those who have been admitted is an equally important area. The OU can give an impression of being equal and meritocratic, indifferent to the social class of its students. Yet problems involving the familiar 'class gradients' in attainment are found at the OU too. These class effects are not easy to establish or discuss, however, partly because the OU's own internal research department, the Survey Research Department (SRD), is about the only source of data and their statistics are collected for their own purposes. Nevertheless, it is worth examining some examples of the available data, and attempting to locate the case of the OU in a broader context of sociological research on social class (and gender) and its effects. 

The SRD, in the early days at least, was concerned officially with market research rather than with sociological analysis, 43 although not without some resistance from some junior members. The early data were often gathered and discussed in public in a way which reflected a strong concern for public relations as well, although, certainly, some later pieces are much more forthcoming about problems and difficulties with the institution. Even so, the output is considerable but still rather obscurely published. In fact, the data raise the most interesting possibilites for some of the most relevant issues in current social theory. 

One problem is that the data gathered by the SRD are not immediately comparable with standard categories used elsewhere, such as standard schemes for classifying social class. The early SRD schemes reflected a managerial concern with occupational quotas and 'suitability', as has been seen. There was also an argument that, because the OU was unique, no standard schemes or measures would be adequate . This argument was used elsewhere too, to justify much of the empiricist work of the SRD, and to stave off criticisms based on critical analyses of conventional education. Thus, in the context of data about recruitment, for example, it was argued that the standard concerns for the effects of social class upon access would not be applicable to the new situation. Standard studies took parental occupation as the measure of the social class of the student, for example, and this would not apply to OU students who had achieved occupations of their own, and thus their own class position, before entering the University. There is some validity in this point, of course, but it was used also to prevent unfavourable comparisons between OU intakes and conventional intakes. Before long, however, the ambiguity in ways of determining social class of OU students was being exploited in public relations materials. Taking parental class rather than applicants' class actually proved useful, making the OU seem very much more 'open'. Thus although only 6 per cent of the 1971 intake were 'working class' themselves (that is, from Classes III (m), IV and V on the Registrar-General's classification), no less than 51 per cent had come from homes where their fathers had had 'working class' occupations. 44

Statistics based on parental class can be used to argue that some 45-50 per cent of students admitted to the OU came from 'working class' families compared with 20-23 per cent admitted to conventional universities, according to an OU public relations handout, circulated as part of the campaign to stave off Government cuts. 45  It is worth noting that here too, the OU data are rendered in a form which makes comparisons possible - but then the comparisons are favourable to the OU's case! 

Of course, whatever the public relations possibilities, the main point of interest is also clear from these tables - that OU applicants had already experienced a considerable degree of social mobility before applying. This had occurred in a distinctive way for the first applicants too: 

'Teaching has provided the main route for this upward social mobility. . . assisted by increased opportunities at secondary and further education levels: 60% of the 1971 intake had been to grammar school, and 80% had experienced further education since leaving school'. 46

It was also the case that 'many went into teaching late', having already experienced some upward mobility before going to training college. The OU occupational category 'education' or 'teachers and lecturers' is thus of particular significance, it will be argued. In 1971, 40. 1 per cent of the intake fell into these categories, and still 18. 4 per cent of the intake in 1983. 47 The two largest categories have always been 'teachers' and the infuriatingly vague 'housewives', together making up 35-50 per cent of the intake. 'Housewives' are currently the largest single group. 

'Social class' typically affects rates of attainment in conventional educational systems too, of course, albeit unevenly and in interaction with 'ability'. 48 The SRD began to investigate the effects of occupational background at the OU primarily to identify likely 'problem' groups, or assist adjustments to recruitment policies. The OU data are not comparable, because of these different interests, but are worth examining. Relative chances of success for different groups were calculated by constructing a 'Discrimination Index', which was based on differences in rates of progress. Thus if 60 per cent of a 'middle class' group achieve a course credit, while only 40 per cent of a 'working class' group do so, the Discrimination Index will be 20, the difference between 60 and 40. 49 This index would not provide details about absolute rates of success or failure, of course - the same value could indicate differences between 20 and 0 per cent, or 100 and 80 per cent. 

However, the Discrimination Indices for 'middle class' groups as compared with 'working class' ones are substantial. In 1974, for example, the values between the stages of final registration and gaining a credit were between 17 and 30 for Foundation courses. 50 These Discrimination Indices actually increased from 1971 to 1974, except in Science, so that it is difficult to see the early relative success of 'middle class' students as signs of initial 'teething troubles' with the teaching system. Calculations of Discrimination Indices for those who were already 'highly qualified' (with a Teacher's Certificate, degree or university diploma) against those with 'low' qualifications (less than 5 O-level passes), also reveal a considerable advantage for the former group. 51 Moreover, 'figures for later years are much higher than for earlier years'. 52 Generally, there are grounds here for the acknowledged danger that '. . . the Open University's open door will become a revolving door which will rapidly deposit many disadvantaged students back on the pavement'. 53

The absolute figures for drop-out and failure rates have been much less accessible. Early calculations of 'acceptable' drop-out rates anticipated a high rate overall, but rates between socio-economic groups seem to vary considerably too. Thus, for the 1971 intake, certain categories experienced a drop-out rate of 30-55 per cent by the end of their Foundation Course ('Engineers', 'Communication and Transport'), compared to rates of 10-30 per cent for the 'Teachers and Lecturers' and 'Housewives'. It is also noticeable, however, that rates varied widely according to Course chosen, with the rates for Mathematics often being double those for Arts. 54 

Another measure of relative success is provided by graduation rates. These are difficult to assess in one way, since OU students progress through the system at different rates, so that a low graduation rate for a particular year could indicate merely that a high proportion of students were still in the system but taking a break. Nevertheless, differentials are detectable between qualified and unqualified entrants (62 per cent gained an Ordinary degree compared with 40 per cent), and between different occupational groups (seven out of ten teachers are likely to graduate, and nearly as many 'housewives', but only four in ten 'clerical and office workers' and three in ten manual workers). 55 These data still indicate considerable levels of absolute success, but, nevertheless, the public interest in admissions seems a little misplaced if half of those who are to be admitted then fail to gain a credit or a degree! 

In the absence of any pressure to prioritize these data, there has been almost no attempt to explain such differential rates. Overall, the rates are acceptable in cost effectiveness terms, OU public relations has been able to focus attention on the spectacular cases of 'working class' student success in the system, and research on student drop-out has been concerned far more with manageable 'reasons'at the individual level than with class theory. 56 These interests led initially to a view that failure is an effect external to the University, reflecting factors 'beyond its control', falling in the set of purely private and subjective characteristics of students allowed for in educational technology. 'Class' differentials were certainly never seen as effects of the teaching system itself, of its 'hidden curriculum' or its assessment practices. Explanations of 'working class' failure in these terms, at least at school level, were becoming well known in the 1970s, and were very well developed in some of the Education Studies Courses at the OU itself, yet the OU teaching system remained immune from any such critique. Some work is beginning to be done (see file), but grasping the OU as an object for critique requires a different orientation from the market research of the SRD. 

When considering data on 'outflow' or destinations of OU graduates, the same limitations appear. The data available are not in a suitable form for critical analysis. In this case at least, this is quite understandable, since the peculiar features of the OU do make it difficult to grasp the issue of class effects on outflow. In the research on conventional systems, the destinations of students is a major focus of interest  precisely as a test for the open-ness of those systems:  educational opportunity was to have produced real opportunities subsequently, in the occupation system, in the classic conceptions of open-ness. Those certified as meritorious were to go on to fill the most functionally important jobs in one famous formulation. 57 However, for OU students it was not so easy, since most had occupations already, and were often mature enough to have 'peaked' (reached 'occupational maturity' 58 ). The usual view, that higher education automatically conferred an advantage on the graduate, immediately afterwards, had to be rethought. 

The unusual nature of the OU case is revealed in the data collected by the SRD in a 1980 survey of graduates. 59 The survey records changes of occupation and 'attitudes', again in a rather general manner. Apparently, 20 per cent of OU graduates had begun a new occupation, and 4 per cent had re-entered the occupational system, but it is not revealed whether this is upward mobility. 66 per cent had reported some or all of the benefits described as 'better pay, promotion, or a new job', but this is not broken down any further. 30 per cent of graduates attributed these benefits entirely to the OU degree, 11 per cent were mixed, and 25 per cent saw their success as 'entirely due to their own efforts', but this kind of self-reporting has its limitations, of course. Yet these data do hint at some of the interesting mixtures of factors in social mobility peculiar to adult students. Many had been upwardly mobile before, and some would still be sustained by the momentum generated by this upward trend. Others, having settled in a career, perhaps, might expect better pay or promotion, but no further mobility between careers. Qualifications might facilitate promotions only at certain stages in careers, giving formal entry to the upper levels for those held at some barrier. Less formally, graduation might become expected but not formally required, as a sign of commitment to a career. 60 In each of these cases, interactions between existing occupational position and degree qualifications are involved, in ways not found in conventional education. Other outcomes of gaining a degree are revealed in the 1980 survey too. Many students show an interest in the status or prestige that an OU degree confers, for example, and these 'subjective' matters are little discussed in analyses of conventional education either, as will be argued below. 

Finally, it is worth considering the simplest statistics of the absolute numbers involved. The 1980 survey reveals that the OU had produced 38,700 graduates (not all Honours graduates) by 1980, while a recent estimate suggests that the total will be 70,000 by 1985. 61 By 1982, 28,000 teachers had acquired OU degrees, 62 with a further 4,000 graduates intending to undergo postgraduate teacher training by 1980. 63 Although it is difficult to be precise, these particular OU graduates represent about 5 per cent of all teachers employed, about 10 per cent of all graduate teachers, and probably about 15-20 per cent of all female graduate teachers employed in the UK. 64 Although the numbers of teacher entrants may be falling at the OU, the numbers of teachers graduating from conventional institutions may be falling at a faster rate, so that the share of graduate teachers produced by the OU might still be increasing. It is possible to suggest that the most likely 'outflow' pattern is indicated here: the OU might have its greatest effect in enabling particular 'semi-professions' to become all-graduate, to permit a marked 'closure by credentials' to proceed smoothly and rapidly. This possibility is explored below. 

    Open Access and Occupational Closure

The possession of an educational qualification can be considered from two opposite directions, so to speak. On the one hand, it can permit the holder to enter a  better-paid occupation, or one with more power or prestige. On the other hand educational qualifications can also be used to exclude persons from those occupations, to close off entry to non-graduates, for example. Further, the qualification or credential itself also has two sides: a 'supply' side, where persons attempt to acquire credentials in order to make themselves more employable, by adding to their 'value' as 'human capital', and a 'demand' side, where employers use credentials as a screening device to select applicants. In both cases, the former of the two options usually implies that a credential rationally indicates the possession of some marketable skill, while in the latter options, the credential can be used quite independently of content, as a means of reducing numbers of applicants, even when the required skill level is met by all of them, for example. 

Recent analyses have tended to highlight the latter options, since, in times of depressed demand for labour, exclusion and demand considerations dominate. At the OU, however, when it began, increasing the numbers of graduates was simply seen as a good thing, either on the grounds that this would restore 'fairness' by permitting those who deserved them to enter 'better' occupations, or because increasing the supply of graduates was seen as the same as meeting a perceived 'national' demand for more skilled people. In other words, official OU views of the impact of their success have been literally 'one-sided'. One aspect that was missed was the exclusionary nature of credentials. 

This omission can be rectified initially by considering Parkin's closure theory developed from a Weberian analysis of the processes involved in the consolidation of social groups. Such groups strive to monopolize certain opportunities by excluding members of other groups and restricting access by demanding some particular attribute as a condition of entry. Parkin uses this idea, developed by Weber initially to describe status groups, to describe any attempt by any group to 'mobilize power for the purpose of engaging in distributive struggle'. 65  Major criteria for exclusion are, increasingly, for certain groups, educational qualifications. In so far as these groups seek to pass on their advantages to their offspring, educational qualifications represent a risk since credentials are 'individualist' criteria. Nevertheless, early formulations of Parkin's theory drew upon what was then thought to be a strong connection between the social class of parents and educational success, in terms of the popular concept of 'cultural capital'. 66 At the general level of the original theory, educational qualifications became an effective closure device, restricting entry to desired positions to the offspring of the 'bourgeoisie'. 

In this general form, the theory came under attack from the 'Oxford Mobility Studies'. In these, the largest recent surveys of social mobility, the findings were:  that the 'service class' was not particularly 'closed' to entrants from the 'working class' 67;that even university degrees were not the exclusive property of the 'service class' 68;that gaining credentials was not the only way to gain access to the 'service class' 69; and that 'Cultural capital influences selection for secondary school, but thereafter its importance is limited'. 70 Nevertheless, although there is no time to discuss the positions fully here, the Oxford Studies were not entirely dismissive of all formulations of closure theory. 71 

Certainly, it is possible to argue that this general level of explanation is not the only one available, that the theory can be used to explain the production of class positions rather than the reproduction of classes in the old sense. 72 The legitimacy of these usages have also been debated, as has the usefuleness of closure theory in explaining a range of other cases. 73 Most critics seem to be agreed, though, that one major application for closure theory is in grasping the activities of the semi-professions in their attempts to monopolize opportunities in the market. 

Thus Murphy sees semi-professional groups engaged in 'dual closure' (in his modfied sense), pursuing both 'Trade Union' type strategies of labour withdrawal ('usurpation' for Parkin), and 'professional' 'exclusionary' strategies including credentialism. 74 Teachers have often been taken as a typical example of such a semi-profession, but accountants also fit, it seems. 75 The obvious question that arises is whether the tremendous demand for OU places by teachers can be explained in terms of closure theory, either as an account of the reasons for such demand, or as an account of the possible outcome, in terms of the closure of the profession. 

It is possible to see one main reason for teachers applying in such numbers in the announcement, in 1972, that teaching was to become an all-graduate profession. This announcement was welcomed by teacher unions and by Government, for both 'supply' and 'demand' reasons. But if the announcement was popular in terms of its anticipated effects on the profession in general, it seems to have caused problems for particular members of the profession nevertheless. A decision to make a university degree necessary for future applicants also splits the profession, and leads to feelings of exclusion for present non-graduates, unlike alternative closure devices, such as registration, for example. University degrees become desirable for the present incumbents too, to secure their position and keep future promotion prospects alive, and to avoid any challenges to status and authority from future graduate entrants. 

Anxieties of this kind seemed marked among the sample of teachers who had applied to the OU who were interviewed for the project discussed in Chapter Four. (An interest in the status of the degree also appears as a major factor in the 1980 survey - 67 per cent rated as the most important outcome of graduation 'proving I could get a degree', for example. 76) Although it is still unfashionable, Hopper's work seems useful to consider here as one of the few pieces of analysis to take seriously the issue of the status of a degree. As with the other general accounts, it is not possible to do full justice to the work in this brief discussion, but Hopper has tried to explain the motives of adult students, albeit those who have returned to full time conventional education, in terms of his general theory of 'anomie'. 77

Basically, deep anxieties, dissatisfactions and feelings of 'relative deprivation' can be triggered by a number of factors including 'blocking factors' at work, such as when a new level of achievement is needed; new personal expectations following identifications with new groups; or irregularities, leaving residual inconsistencies, in patterns of mobility or non-mobility across a lifespan, including irregular educational experiences. 78 Adult students are those able to meet these feelings with a 'legitimate innovation' - gaining fresh qualifications to help them reach a new equilibrium. 79 Hopper tried to extend his analysis to OU students, while employed as a course consultant,  but this work never progressed beyond a promising first stage. 80 Hopper's other work on stratification also seems useful too,  even if it is 'functionalist' - his division between the 'core' and 'peripheral' statuses within the same occupational group, and his discussion of mobility between these statuses 81 also seems to be able to account for at least some of the early concerns and intentions of teacher applicants at the OU. 

Looked at from the supply side, then, the case of the OU seems to present some new dimensions to the issue of closure. Some OU applicants, and it is impossible to know how widespread or typical they are, seemed to have anticipated unfavourable and unintended personal effects of a closure strategy affecting teaching and to have reacted to secure their own newly threatened status within the profession. Certain closure strategies divide professions, at least at first, in terms of core and peripheral statuses. Moreover, in this case, credentialism was available post hoc, so to speak. Credentialist strategies do not always 'face forwards', credentials are not only required by new entrants to the profession, because credentials can have a status dimension running parallel to the class dimension, for the existing incumbents. The OU offered another 'legitimate innovation' for these persons, involving less personal commitment, possibly, than full time education, and with other advantages all its own, as will be argued. In-service education was the other obvious route to graduate status for members of the profession, and seems to have been roughly equal in popularity. 

On the demand side, interesting implications arise again. It was a Government decision too to limit entry to teaching by a credentialist strategy, not just a semi-profession pursuing its interests. Although the role of the State is discussed in Parkin, some critics have found him ambiguous here . 82 Certainly cases where the State is the employer of the members of the semi-profession, in the very direct way that it employs teachers, are little discussed. The Government seems to have used a graduate entry requirement simply to reduce numbers in the profession, together with other and much more direct measures, and if graduate entry credentialism was a strategy to improve market position for teachers as well, it has hardly served this purpose! 

Making the credential a university degree might have had an impact on the type of entrant to the profession, as well as on sheer numbers. Part-time further education in general seems to have had a relatively beneficial effect on 'working class' applicants, 83 but the more usual class effects are probably more apparent for part-time degree level education specifically. OU Discrimination Index data seem to imply a definite disadvantage for currently 'working class' applicants, although the picture is more complicated for those who have been mobile already, as was seen above. Certainly, 'cultural capital' in the form of either current social class background or previous educational experience seems important for success, in the OU's 'contest' and 'at a distance' system at least. 84 In this particular case, therefore, even if not in general, some connection seems possible between the old themes of occupational closure and class reproduction after all. 

Thus, as a final irony, the very people who have benefitted from the relative open-ness of the teaching profession in the past (and from the availability of the OU) might have helped to close it off to future applicants from the same social backgrounds as themselves! Qualification via the OU must certainly assist greatly in making teaching an all graduate profession rapidly and without further tensions between the new core and periphery groups, but its benefits for this generation of teachers are not repeatable for the next. The next generation will have to gain their degree qualifications from conventional education before entry to the profession. This will dry up the flows of 'indirectly mobile' groups such as mature entrants to teaching, especially, possibly, female ones. These persons will now have to face the more difficult and selective route of full-time university level education. Entry to teacher training courses in Britain currently requires highly selective formal qualifications, such as O-level mathematics, for example. In this way, the same occupational strategy which brings benefits to one cohort can have less desirable consequences for the next: credentialism can close occupations in class terms for the future, and produce a drift in recruitment 'upwards'(in terms of parental social class). These consequences, if they were to occur, would be virtually the opposite of the ones intended by the designers of the OU. Parallel points can be made about another category of OU student too - females. 

    Women at the Open University 

Female students have attracted some attention in the public discussions of the success of the OU, partly because they are a significant group who do seem to have benefitted considerably and unambiguously. In absolute terms, over 9,000 females had graduated in the first ten years, and the OU currently provides more than 35 per cent of all places for women in higher education. 85 Once admitted, women seem to do better than men, if the Discrimination Index data is accurate, achieving success rates from 4-9 per cent above those of males on the same courses, with some of the higher rates in Science and Mathematics (7. 7 and 9. 2 per cent respectively). 86 These seem to be remarkable findings, the reverse of the well established patterns of relative underachievement for women found everywhere else in the education system. In terms of outcome, the success story seems sustained - 29 per cent of female graduates reported starting a new career, and 36 per cent of the 'housewives' in the sample have entered or re-entered the waged occupation system after graduation, although, as explained above , it is impossible to tell whether this is upward mobility or not. 87 

It is tempting to see 'at a distance' teaching as somehow favouring women in particular. Thus it might be possible to use the findings here to support the view that separate-sex education assists women, since they do not face constant unfavourable comparisons with  men. 88 The remoteness of the OU system enables women, or any other students, to  minimize any personal contact with anyone else, including tutors if they so wish, and there is some support for the view that OU students do want to do this to prevent unfavourable comparisons with other students. 

However, certain complications arise, especially when the social class of the female students concerned is considered. Women students also tended to be:  unusually well-qualified (45 per cent had 'high qualifications' in the year the Discrimination Indices were constructed); drawn largely from 'middle class' occupations (49 per cent teachers, 19 per cent 'professions and arts' , 22 per cent 'clerical and office'); and, when considering parental class, only 36 per cent of the females for that year came from 'working class' homes (50 per cent of men). 89  The interactions between these variables and gender differences per se have not been established with any clarity, but some of the policy implications have been pointed out: 'If the Open University had been less successful in attracting women, it would have appeared more successful in attracting those with low initial qualifications. ' 90

Similar problems arise when considering the outcome of graduation for female students. As argued above, the early optimism about beneficial effects for graduates were grounded in assumptions about a continuing expansion of service class occupations which made the 'demand' factors invisible. In the 1970s there was also more optimism about the implications for women's work: the perceived beneficial effects for males was seen as just transferrable directly to females. Since then, however, there is evidence that female careers are different from male ones, and in general worse. Thus even graduate females do not achieve parity with males in career terms. 91 Although this is a large and complex area again, it is possible to summarise the reasons for such 'underachievment' in a simple way: in Britain the careers of married women are also heavily influenced by the occupation of their husbands 92 and discrepancies exist between the kind of career that offers promotion following qualification, and typical patterns of women's employment. 93

Different outcomes are possible for the future if large numbers of female graduates are produced. On the one hand, females in occupations might find it easier to consolidate their position as 'core' members again, and certainly 'In the climate of recent legislation and opinion. . . it [will be] difficult to reject a female applicant if her qualifications are better than those of a roughly equivalent male'. 94 On the other hand, in current conditions, producing large numbers of female graduates might only add to a future excess of skilled labour, in particular as a 'qualified and flexible "reserve" - thus relieving organizations of some of the need to retain a full- time skilled "core" labour force'. 95 In both cases, real improvements in the position of female graduates will have been achieved only at the expense of some 'counterbalanced' real decline in opportunities for non-graduates and for men. It is possible to argue that the 'upward' drift in class terms in recruitment  to desirable occupations mentioned above would affect even part-time or 'discontinuous' employment. Whether this development would be made more tolerable by moves towards minimizing the differences between 'middle class' men and women generally is not at all clear, however. 

The implications for the 'housewives' in the system are likely to be different from those of their waged counterparts. An important effect for those who are likely to be unwaged for some period might concern 'status' outcomes again, this time in the sense of personal feelings of prestige or worthiness. No direct evidence exists to help here, but Hopper and Osborn found that feelings of 'status discrepancy' were high in the list of motivating factors among the younger females in their group of adult students. 96  Whether graduation at the OU is likely to assuage fully these feelings is not known. 

Certainly, the social, motivational, personal, and transferrable (to other members of the family) results of graduation on family life might well be comparable to those identified by Stanworth, 97 and it would be interesting to examine any 'cross-class' cases in particular. 

The notion of lots of 'housewives' pursuing 'education for its own sake' is an image of the OU that was never particularly to be encouraged officially, especially by those who believed in 'vocational' education, 'education as investment' and the like. However, there are clear possibilities here for the resurrection of the old radical belief in 'knowledge as power', this time in a feminist variant. 

There is a dark side to the considerations of status outcomes too, however, concerning some of the paradoxes about status and subjectivity in educational systems. It is not at all clear, for example, that it is a progressive move to further tie personal status to the possession of credentials, since one outcome might be the development of rational hierarchies of status as well as of income, and the incorporation of even status into a 'prestige economy', 98 with credentials as the currency. 

These points are discussed in general in (later files -- 1 and 2). Enough has been said, perhaps, to support the original point made at the beginning: open-ness is not a simple matter to define abstractly or to engineer, and many considerations have been omitted from the discussions and the practices of open-ness at the OU. In particular, opening educational access produces specific results for adults, making generalizations from conventional experience unreliable. These specific effects are variable, contradictory, and not all irretrievably 'bad',of course. Nevertheless, the Open University has not yet managed to overcome what one early commentator described as the 'paradox in its title'. 99


1  For example see Irwin, M. (1973) 'An Academic Cuckoo in the Nest' in New Statesman, 12 October. 
'A University of the Air' (1966) London, HMSO. 
3  An internally circulated document for the Admissions Working Party meeting 26 August 1969. 
4  Ibid p. 4. 
5  Ibid p. 4. 
6  Ibid p. 9. 
7  Another internally circulated document, Lewis, B. (undated) 'Further Thoughts on Admissions and Counselling Policy', p. 7. 
8  Lewis, B. 'A Re-Think on Admissions and Counselling Policy' (November 1969), internally circulated, p. 4. 
9  Ibid p. 5. 
10 Internally circulated, undated, a paper for the Admissions Policy Working Group 
11 Lewis, B. 'Further Thoughts. . . ' op. cit, p. 1 
12 Lewis, B. (1970) internal memorandum, p. 3. 
13 According to a paper circulated to the Open University Admissions Working Party (untitled), August 1969. 
14 A paper tabled at an Admissions Committee meeting of 14 August 1970. 
15 See Perry, W. (1976) Open University, Milton Keynes, The Open University Press, pp. 135-43. 
16 Ibid, p. 144. 
17 Kennedy, D. and Powell, R. (1976) 'Student Progress and Withdrawal in the Open University' in Teachimg at a Distance, 7. 
18 Woodley, A. (1979) 'How Open is Open?', a paper presented to the SRHE Annual Conference, Brighton, 19-20 December. 
19 Perry, quoted in Woodley, A. (1981) 'The Open University of the United Kingdom: A Case Study in Policy Development and Implementation', published by the Institute of Education of the European Cultural Foundation, available from the SRD as Paper 193, p. 5. 
20 Ibid, p. 59. 
21 Hoult, D. (1975) 'The Open University: its origins and establishment September 1967 - June 1969', unpublished M. Ed. thesis, Hull University. 
22 Ibid 
23 Ibid. There is an interesting discussion of how initial costs came to be calculated in favourable ways in Perry, W. (1976) op. cit. 
24 Scupham, J. (1975) 'The Original Brief for the Open University' in Teaching at a Distance, 2. 
25 Hoult, D. op. cit 
26 See, for example, Birnbaum, N. (1974) 'The Open University:A View From New England', in Tunstall, J. (Ed) The Open University Opens, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, pp.  34-43. 
27 Perry, W. (1973) 'Report of the Vice-Chancellor January 1969 - December 1970', Milton Keynes, Oxley Press, p. 117. 
28 Hoult, D. op. cit 
29 Perry, W. (1970) 'The Open University', a Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution, 6 November, in Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 44, 203, p. 96. The Discourse, although obscurely published, is very informative about the early 'political' background, the commercial interests, and the general air of pragmatism among the early senior staff - for example: 'None of the staff has been, or is, concerned to justify the creation of the Open University: all are concerned to show that this new system of teaching can, and will, work' p. 97. 
30 MacArthur, B. (1974) 'An Interim History of the Open University' in Tunstall, J. (Ed) op. cit, p. 6. 
31 Ibid, p. 6. 
32 Hoult, D. op. cit. The point is emphasised in Perry (1973) op. cit, p. 117. 
33 'A University of the Air' op. cit 
34 Perry, W. (1970), op. cit, p. 106. 
35 Ibid, p. 107. 
36 Kelly, P. (1980) 'How Open is the Associate Student Programme?' in Teaching at a Distance, 18. 
37 Perry, W. (1970) op. cit, p. 105. The OU has been in the forefront of plans for newtorks of continuing education ever since. These plans have been closely linked with proposals for flexible 'credit transfer' schemes for students moving between different institutions of higher education. See issues 6 and 7 of Teaching at a Distance, June and November 1976, for a discussion. The OU was to be in the forefront of these schemes because of its own flexibility and its advanced 'credit exemptions' system, where much work had been done already in ordering different qualifications, and reducing them to a common standard to permit equations, conflations, and the other manipulations necessary for a national scheme. 
38 Lee, J. (1973), a speech given at the first OU degree ceremony, reported in Open University Gazette, 2, 5, December. 
39 Lee, J. at a public meeting in Cardiff 1971, quoted in Woodley, A. (1981) op. cit. 
40 Finn, D. , Grant, N. , and Johnson, R. (1980) 'Social Democracy, Education and the Crisis' in CCCS (Eds) On Ideology, London, Hutchinson, pp. 144-95. Finn et al. still see the potential for some opposition between notions of 'social justice' and 'efficiency'. However, the two ideas were always perfectly compatible in principle, united in the notion of 'meritocracy' for example. At the political level, we now know, since the Oxford Mobility Studies, that the education system was 'just' enough to win genuine consent. The new schemes of vocational training also seem adequately 'popular' to prevent much support for a campaign of reform of schooling in the name of 'social justice'. 
41 Arguments in British Utilitarian thought also offer a reconciliation between apparent opposites. In brief, it could be argued that Utilitarian concepts of justice, freedom, equality, and open-ness were always limited to a small, and increasingly abstract and formal, stage in the reproduction of social  life. To emphasise this stage, at the expense of the subsequent domination and inequality, once social institutions, like markets or 'civil society' in general, had been entered, represents a misleading abstraction, but manages to unite the two opposed phases in the one description. Marx's famous critique of Bentham makes this point succinctly - see Marx, K. Capital, Vol. 1, London, Lawrence and Wishart, p. 172. 
42 Perhaps the closest link is found in the work of Antony Crosland - see, for example, Crosland, C. (1980) The Future of Socialism, London, Jonathan Cape. Young describes the split in terms of sociologists opting to 'make' rather than 'take' problems: Young, M. F. (1971) 'Introduction' in Young,  M. F. (Ed) Knowledge and Control:New Directions for the Sociology of Education, London, Collier-Macmillan, p. 3. 
43 McIntosh, N. (1973) 'The Use of Survey Research in the Planning of Higher Education', a paper given to the ESOMAR Congress, Buda-Pest, September 1973, available from the SRD as paper 43. McIntosh says of the work of the SRD 'In fact, in industry, it would all happily find a home in the market research department'. The same piece also points out that there is no obligation for such research to be 'value free'. The junior members referred to include A. Woodley and J. Holmes, whose work is invaluable in providing at least the basis of a critical grasp of the institution. 
44 McIntosh, N. , Calder, J. , and Swift, B. (1976) 'A Degree of Difference. A Study of the First Year's Intake to the Open University of the UK', available from the SRD as paper 87, and published by SRHE, London. 
45 'Social Class of Undergraduates at the Open University and Elsewhere' (1984), Information Sheet 7, available from Information Services Department, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA. 
46 McIntosh, N. and Woodley, A. (1975) 'Excellence and Equality at the Open University', a paper read at the Third International Conference on Higher Education, Lancaster University, September, 1975 , available from the SRD as paper 83. An edited version was published in The Times Higher Educational Supplement , 19 December. The paper provides an excellent, if slightly cosmetic discussion of the dilemmas faced by the OU in terms of emerging conflicts between open access and the maintenance of cost effectiveness. 
47 'Social Class of Undergraduates. . . ' (1984) op. cit 
48 Halsey, A. , Heath, A. , Ridge, J. (1980) Origins and Destinations. Family, Class and Education in Modern Britain, Oxford, Clarendon Press. (see also online files)
49 Woodley, A. (1981) op. cit. , p. 35. 
50 McIntosh, N. and Woodley, A. (1975) op. cit 
51 Ibid 
52 Woodley, A. (1981) op. cit.
53 McIntosh, N. and Woodley, A. (1975) op. cit. p. 25. 
54 McIntosh, N. (1972) 'Working Papers on Student Progress and Withdrawal', 4, internally circulated. 
55 Woodley, A. (1981) op. cit. . These figures are based on the 1971 intake. In 1981, it looked as if 'discrepancies will be greater among the later intakes', p. 36. 
56 McIntosh, N. (1971) 'Working Papers on Student Progress and Withdrawal', internally circulated. McIntosh suggests that 'It is desirable to make basic distinctions between factors personal to the  student and factors which the University can affect'. Among the former were 'academic reasons' for withdrawal: in 1971, these turned out to be the largest single set of factors, producing about 20 per cent of drop-out. This early and official work on drop-out is typical of the market research orientation of the SRD, involving the initial prediction of certain 'difficulties' which students were likely to face (on a very 'commonsensical' basis), followed by questionnaires attempting to test out which of these difficulties were rated the highest by drop-outs. Later work is more critical (see Chapter Five). 

57 Davis, K. and Moore, W. (1945) 'Some Principles of Stratification' in American Sociological Review, X, 2. 
58 The phrase is from the Oxford Mobility Studies - see Goldthorpe, J. , Llewelyn, C. , and Payne, C. , (1980) Social Mobility and Class Structure in Modern Britain, Oxford, Clarendon Press. 
59 Swift, B. (1980) 'Outcomes of Open University Studies:Some Statistics From a Survey of Open University Graduates', available from the SRD as paper 197. 
60 See Crompton, R. and Sanderson, K. (1986) 'Credentials and Careers:Some Implications of the Increase in Professional Qualifications amongst Women' in Sociology, 20, 1, pp. 25-43. 
61 Reported in The Times 26 October 1984. 
62 'Professional Development in Education' (1984), Information Sheet 11, available from Information Services Department, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA.
63 Swift, B. (1980) op. cit
64 Annual Abstract of Statistics 1984, London, HMSO. 
65 Barbalet, J. (1982) 'Social Closure in Class Analysis: a Critique of Parkin' in Sociology 16, 4, pp. 484-97. 
66 Parkin, F. (1974) 'Strategies of Social Closure in Class Formation' in Parkin, F. (Ed) The Social Analysis of Class Structure, London, Tavistock Publications. 
67 Goldthorpe, J. et al. (1980) op. cit
68 Halsey, A. et al. (1980) op. cit
69 Goldthorpe, J. et al. (1980) op. cit
70 Halsey, A. et al. (1980) op. cit, p. 200. 
71 Goldthorpe's Conclusion suggests that closure theory has much to offer provided it is rephrased so as to fit patterns of outflow from classes of origin, rather than inflow, for example. Critics have seen little difference between Goldthorpe's approach and that of closure theory - see Hindess, B. (1981) 'The Politics of Social Mobility' in Economy and Society, 10. 72 Murphy, R. (1986) 'Weberian Closure Theory' in British Journal of Sociology, XXXVII, 1. 
73 Barbalet doubts the use of the theory in explaining intra-class divisions in the same way as inter-class ones, for example, while Murphy objects to the analysis of the Party in State Socialist Societies. 
74 Murphy, R. (1986) op. cit
75 MacDonald, K. (1985) 'Social Closure and Occupational Registration' in Sociology 19, 4, pp. 541-56. 
76 Swift, B. (1980) op. cit
77 Hopper, E. (1981) Social Mobility, London, Basil Blackwell. 
78 These irregularities arise from the 'inefficiencies' and 'structural dilemmas' identified in the earlier analyses of the education system - see Hopper, E. (1972) 'Appendix II: Educational systems and selected consequences of patterns of mobility and non-mobility in industrial societies: a theoretical discussion' in Hopper, E. (Ed) Readings in the Theory of Educational Systems, London, Hutchinson and Co. 
79 Hopper, E. and Osborn, M. (1975) Adult Students: Education, Selection and Social Control, London, Frances Pinter Ltd. 
80 Hopper, E. and Osborn, M. (1974) 'Research into Open University Students', unpublished, internally circulated, to members of the E352 course team. 
81 Hopper, E. (1972) op. cit
82 Barbalet suggests that closure is either a matter of groups enforcing their own criteria of exclusion, or taking advantage of criteria made available by the State - see Barbalet, J. (1982) op. cit
83 See Raffe, D. (1979) 'The Alternative Route Re-Considered: Part-Time Further Education and Social Mobility in England and Wales' in Sociology, 13, 1.
84 Bourdieu argues that 'cultural capital' can be 'handed over' 'in the pedagogic communication itself'. See Bourdieu, P. (1973) 'Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction' in Brown, R. (Ed) Knowledge, Education and Cultural Change, London, Tavistock. 
85 Griffiths, M. (1979) 'Women in Higher Education - A Case Study of the Open University', available from the SRD as Paper 161.
86 Ibid
87 Ibid
88 See Arnot, M. (1983) 'A Cloud Over Co-Education' in Walker, S. and Barton, L. (Eds) Gender, Class and Education, Barcombe, Falmer Press, for a critical discussion. 
89 McIntosh, N. (1975) 'Women at the Open University', available from the SRD as Paper 78. 
90 Woodley, A. (1979) op. cit
91 Kelsall, R. , Poole, A. , Kuhn, A. (1972) Graduates:the Sociology of an Elite, London, Methuen. 
92 There are disputes here, partly because data used by the opponents varies - Goldthorpe uses follow-up data from the Oxford Mobility Studies, while Britten and Heath use General Household Survey data, for example. See Goldthorpe, J. (1983) 'Women and Class Analysis:In Defence of the Conventional View' in Sociology, 17, 4, pp.465-88, and Heath, A. and Britten, N. (1984) 'Women's Jobs Do Make a Difference' in Sociology, 18, 4, pp. 475-90.
93 Crompton, R. and Sanderson, K. (1986) op. cit
94Ibid, p. 41.
95Ibid, p. 40. 
96 Hopper, E. and Osborn, M. (1975) op. cit
97 Stanworth, M. (1984) 'Women and Class Analysis: A Reply to Goldthorpe' in Sociology, 18, 2, pp. 159-70. Stanworth hints at a number of ways in which women's work can 'enhance' the family in general, and the position of the male 'head of household' in particular. It would be interesting to speculate about the effect of mixed status as well as mixed class households, where the female was the graduate. There is some dated material on the beneficial effects of maternal education on children's attainment, of course. 
98 Leiss discusses some implications of modern prestige economies, in ways which extend and repair some of the work of Marcuse. Credentials as tokens are not discussed specifically, however. See Leiss, W. (1978) 'Needs, Exchanges and the Fetishism of Objects' in The Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, 2, 3.
99 Halsey, A. et al. , (1980) op. cit. , p. 216. 

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