Differentiation for Entry to HE • Use this slide presentation as an exercise with your tutor group • The content is based on applications to LSE and Bristol Universities where they differentiate at the top end • BUT…….all universities will adopt similar methods!
Differentiation for Entry to HE These slides are based on a lecture given by Linda Hamer (LSE)Angela Milln (University of Bristol) and attended by NCB Why do universities need to differentiate? Facts and figures The challenge facing admissions tutors Tools for differentiation What are the options available to admissions tutors? What are the issues associated with them? Implications for applicants 2
Group task Working in groups of 5-6 people, try to rank the following subjects in order of popularity: • Architecture • Aural/Oral Science • Chemistry • Classical Greek • Dance • Dentistry • Drama • Latin • Media Studies • Medicine • Nursing • Nutrition • Operational Research • Scandinavian Studies • Social Work • Veterinary Science
Male, aged 18 on entry. Good profile of GCSEs. Predicted 3 As at A-level. Head Boy at School Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold award Work experience in local GP surgery Female, aged 19 on entry. Good profile of GCSEs. Predicted 36 points in IB Young Leader with Brownies Gap year through Operation Raleigh Work experience in local hospital Imagine… You’re an admissions tutor Who do you choose?
Female, aged 21 on entry. Lives within 3 miles of the University, with childcare needs. Good profile of GCSEs. Recently completed access course with glowing reference from college. Personal statement full of life experience. What about… • Male, aged 18 on entry. • Good profile of GCSEs. • Predicted A grade overall in Diploma and A in an A Level as ASL. • Captain of local football team. • Relevant work experience within Diploma programme.
Group task for tutor groups Working in small groups, try to identify the criteria which an admissions tutor might consider to help differentiate between applicants.
Some possible tools for differentiation • GCSE and/or ASgrades • ‘A’ Level predicted grades – including A* • Unit grades • UMS marks • Diploma transcript • Extended Project • Subject combination – suitability • Personal statement and reference – holistic assessment • Interview • Generic Admissions tests – SAT/ACER/UNITEST • Subject-specific Admissions tests
Subject-specific admissions tests • BMAT – Medicine and Veterinary Science • UKCAT – Medicine • ELAT – English, Oxford • GAMSAT – Medicine • Health Professions admissions test – Medicine – Ulster • HAT – History, Oxford • LNAT – Law • MML – Modern and Medieval languages – Cambridge • Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) admissions test – Oxford • STEP – Mathematics, Cambridge • Thinking Skills Assessment – Computer Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering and Economics – Cambridge • Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA Oxford) – PPE, Economics and Management - Oxford
Admissions tests - issues • Confusing picture – no national consensus • No regulator • Evidence of validity? • Additional burden for applicants • Financial burden • Tests taken away from home centre • Timing of additional tests • Issues of preparation/coaching and differential opportunities • Possible unintended bias • Impact on widening participation
More general Issues for considerationWhat do YOU think? • Limited number of places available. • Transparency of criteria for differentiation. • Issues of fairness: • Are there any robust, validated and proven tools for differentiation that have no built-in bias? • Is it fair to require a qualification that is not universally available? e.g. extended project. • Achievement as indicator of potential? • Role of contextual data? • Expectation management.
Approaches to Differentiation – Two examples Bristol adopts a holistic approach, including: • GCSE grades • A-Level grades • Unit grades (for some subjects at Confirmation) • LNAT (for Law) • Evidence drawn from personal statement and reference • Educational context (school performance) • LSE adopts a holistic approach, including: • Educational Profile (prior achievement) • Unit grades (for some courses) • Evidence drawn from personal statement and reference • Educational context (school performance)
Implications for applicants • It is critical that applicants (that is you!): • Research • The market • The course • Pay attention to • The selection criteria – NOT just standard offer grades • The ‘rules’ of the UCAS scheme (closing dates etc) • Read around the subject • Motivation/commitment • Tailor their applications • EVIDENCE of close fit with selection criteria • Are realistic • Is the application a non-starter? • Is there a back-up plan? • Are they prepared for disappointment?
Looking Ahead (relevant to staff only) • Increased use of A* grades • Wider range of entry qualifications • Self Selection (the Adjustment period) • PQA (Post Qualification Application) • Change of Government? • Grades vs Skills? • Enrolling is NOT the end – it is the beginning ….