Contextualised admissions in the competitive environment Applicant Experience in Wales SPA event - 4 J une 2014 Janet Graham, Director of SPA. External policy drivers impacting admissions 1.
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Contextualised admissions in the competitive environmentApplicant Experience in Wales SPA event - 4 June 2014Janet Graham, Director of SPA
Competition between HE providers is growing.
There is an increasing need to seek out students with potential from a wider range of backgrounds.
Increase applicant pool
External policy drivers
Diversity as pedagogical value
“We are very aware of the differences out there, and it’s obvious when students come to study with us that the brightest sparks do not always come with the best grades.”Why is contextual data used?
Evidence 1: What matters for measuring academic potential?
Scientific ‘Gold standard’: good, individual-level data
Expertise and cost
Limitations (often young, UK domiciled HE applicants)
Outreach or / and admissions
In the majority of research, those from state schools outperform independent school students or those from poorer performing schools outperform those from higher performing schools
(Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff, HEFCE, Scottish institution)
This is not confirmed in one case study where school did not affect degree results
Studies use different ways of thinking about and measuring disadvantage as well as attainment.Evidence 2: Same grades same potential
Positive benefits for individual providers (recruitment, conversions, PIs)
“…can only work if you get the applicants…. to do that you have to change the perception that the university is ‘not for me’.”
Comparative research into performance of contextualised students supports the approach
Research into outcomes achieved by WP outreach groups confirms performance (e.g. PARTNERS, LEAPS)
Building commitment to those who enterEvidence 3: Positive progress where students admitted using contextual data
‘Formal’ application of contextual data into holistic decision making
‘F’ – flagging; ‘T’ – triangulation; ‘‘A’ – adjusting scores (i.e. calculating adjusted grades to reflect relative performance as well as using actual grades).
‘I’ –highly likely or guaranteed interview; GO –guaranteed offer;
AO/MO–adjusted offer on individual basis/ modified offer - at lower end of range
Contextual data conversions, PIs)for HEPs, free, via UCAS for 2014
Basket of Data
Using multiple datasets conversions, PIs)
Dealing with missing data (N.B. standardisation)
Using multiple indicators
Checking information - particularly self declared, e.g. follow up ‘in-care’
Using ranked data for decision making
Using additional information for marginal decisionsUseful practices
Contextual data can be a helpful part of holistic admissions
Senior management buy-in and pro-active support
Good record keeping
Linked systems for widening participation, admission, planning, student progression, graduation and beyond – student lifecycle
Create / use HEI own ‘baseline’ evidence baseFrom the report to practice:
Know missionwhat data is out there and how to use it
Appropriately trained staff
Transparency about how and when contextual data is used
Integrated approach to outreach/WP and admissions
and ideally to support the student experience, retention, and graduation
‘Access without support is not opportunity’
If possible, sharing of expertise, creation of a comparative evidence-baseFrom the report to practice:
Facilitates reaching targets
Helps identify applicants who may benefit from additional support
Supports the applicant experience
Improves calibre of entrants through identifying potential
Widens participation and enhances diversity of the student body
Could aid social mobility
Helps delivery of fair admissions
Helps assess applicants for financial support