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HEPI Conference – 7 October 2008
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  1. HEPI Conference – 7 October 2008 • Developments in Higher Education Applications and Admissions: • Implications for Universities, Schools and Colleges • Anthony McClaran • Chief Executive

  2. Overview • Fair Admissions – The Schwartz Report • Principles of Fair Admissions • Contextual Data • UCAS’ Role • Admissions: The Current Context • Parity of Esteem? • The UCAS Tariff • Conclusion

  3. Fair Admissions • Schwartz Report 2004 • Issue –differing interpretations of merit and fairness • What is fairness?‘The Steering Group believes a fair admissions system is one that provides equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of background, to gain admission to a course suited to their ability and aspirations.’

  4. Fair Admissions • Schwartz’s principles of fair admissions • Transparency • Selection for merit, potential, diversity • Reliability, validity, relevance • The minimising of barriers • Professionalism

  5. Contextual Data • ‘The Group does believe that it is fair and appropriate to consider contextual factors as well as formal educational achievement.’ Professor Schwartz March of the social engineers Now pupils might miss out on a place at university if their parents have good jobs Middle classes are 'whipping boys of Labour's dumbed-down education' Middle class lose out as colleges pick by postcode

  6. Contextual Data • “HEIs should continue to use, and where possible expand the use of, all the information available to them to identify the best students with the greatest potential and ability to reach the highest academic achievement.” National Council for Educational Excellence – Recommendation 6

  7. UCAS’ Role “Theadvantage for both applicants and institutions is that it eliminates duplication of effort, and provides a fair and consistent framework within which both applicants and institutions can compete.” • UCAS – responsibility to provide fairness and equity to all applicants • UCAS Tariff • Entry Profiles • Contextual data • UCAS CPD Programme • Collaboration with SPA • Source: www.wikipedia.org

  8. Admissions: The Current Context • Delivery Partnership Steering Group • Universities UK ‘Admissions: the higher education sector’s plans for change’ • Entry profiles: the drive for transparency • Entry profiles working group – 100% coverage Sept 2009 • UCAS – standard template drafted • 2009 entry: 77.5% coverage (38,876 of 50,153 courses) • 95% in applicant survey say EPs ‘helpful’ or ‘extremely helpful’

  9. Admissions: The Current Context • Admissions tests: supporting fairness or additional burden? • SPA report (June 2007) analysed use of tests • Checklist of good practice – to clarify why tests are used • Adjustment period • August 2009 –A Level results day to 31 August • Attempt to address key area of perceived unfairness

  10. Admissions: The Current Context • Feedback to unsuccessful applicants • SPA –statement of good practice • Recommendation that HEIs provide feedback, on request, to unsuccessful applicants • Electronic delivery where appropriate • Information, advice and guidance • Appropriate, high quality, timely advice is essential

  11. Admissions: The Current Context • Art and Design courses • Simplification of current dual route • International, mature and part-time applicants • Impact of admissions reforms • PQA?

  12. Parity of Esteem? • Vocational qualifications – invisible? • Entry requirements • 93% mention A Levels • 81% mention Advanced VCE • 24% mention OCR National Extended Diploma • 21% mention OCR National Diploma • Many universities fail to provide clear guidance to vocational applicants

  13. Parity of Esteem? • UCAS Tariff • Inclusion of vocational and new qualifications • ‘The provision of the UCAS Tariff appears to have had a positive effect on the acceptance of qualifications other than GCE A Levels – VCEs in particular – by admissions staff’ Action on Access 2006 • Current Tariff activity: • A* • Pre-U • Scottish qualifications

  14. The UCAS Tariff • A challenging context: • Link between qualifications and issues of fairness (HEPI report) • Competitive qualifications environment • Reflecting current practice or shaping future decisions? • Reception of Tariff by HE admissions staff

  15. Conclusion “If we have a fair admissions system then success will not depend on connections, money or influence but on talent and motivation. This is a goal worth working towards.” Professor Steven Schwartz - September 2004

  16. Any questions ? • Anthony McClaran • Chief Executive, UCAS • Tel: 01242 544990 • Email: a.mcclaran@ucas.ac.uk