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New report examines 'fair admissions' to universities 

Report published by Universities UK

Techniques to help admissions tutors identify the potential for success among a wider range of applicants to university are outlined in a new report to be published by Universities UK next week.

The report, Fair Enough? Wider access to university by identifying potential to succeed, outlines the findings of a two-year project carried out at six higher education institutions across England. Focusing on 15 subject disciplines, the research identified criteria which universities and colleges could use to develop ‘fair admissions’ policies for all applications to higher education, and make the university admissions process more open and objective.

The Fair Enough? report indicates how these criteria may be used to identify borderline applicants who have the potential to benefit from undergraduate study. Such criteria could be used in tandem with existing A-level scores and other current admissions entry information. It is hoped these will assist admissions tutors and administrators in the context of the current debate over the role of exam results in admissions and the use of ‘differential’ offers at subject level. The criteria identified in the report may also be useful in developing a framework for interview questions and recording interview performance for non-traditional applicants.

A conference to launch the report will be held next Wednesday, 22nd January, at the New Connaught Rooms, London WC2. Margaret Hodge, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning and Higher Education, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers will include Dr Tessa Stone, Director of The Sutton Trust, John Dunford, General Secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, and Elaine Sinclair, Director of the Fair Enough? Project.

Wider issues surrounding higher education admissions and highlighted in the report will also be explored at the conference. These will include current policies to widen participation and the development of Entry Profiles by UCAS. The conference will also address the legal implications of ‘fair admissions’ practices.

Diana Warwick, chief executive, Universities UK, said: "Universities want to ensure that as many people as possible who can benefit from higher education are given the best opportunity to do so. The ultimate aim is to make the admissions process less of a potential barrier to entry, and encourage participation of more young people from backgrounds under-represented in higher education. There is a continuing debate about the many routes through which this can be achieved.

We welcome this report, and the conference, as a valuable contribution to that debate."

Notes

The report Fair Enough? Wider Access to Higher Education by Identifying Potential to Succeed is published on Wednesday January 22. Hard copies will be available at the conference and from Universities UK from that date. Advance copies of the report in pdf format are available from the Universities UK Press Unit under embargo 17.01.03.

The conference to launch the report and explore admissions issues will be held at the New Connaught Rooms, London WC2 on Wednesday January 22 2003. Keynote speaker will be Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Minister for State for Lifelong Learning and Higher Education, who is due to speak at 10.50am. Journalists wishing to attend the conference should contact Catriona Coyle at Universities UK on 0207 419 5411.

The Fair Enough? Project has been funded by the Department for Education and Skills. It was carried out on behalf of Universities UK by a team of independent researchers, the majority of whom have experience in HE and are also occupational psychologists.

The six participating HEIs were Kingston University, St Mary's College, and the Universities of Leeds, Southampton, Manchester and Sussex.

Universities UK Media Release, January 17, 2003

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Last updated: 24 January 2003 10:55
Created by: Rachel Tunstall

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