Admissions testing preparation effects

14th January 2019 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Public Seminar

Research Group: Higher Education

Speaker: Rebecca Surender (Chair), Jo-Anne Baird, Samina Khan and Alison Matthews (speakers), Karen O'Brien (response)

Location: The Auditorium, St John's College, University of Oxford

This seminar is number one in a five-part public seminar series on ‘Student Access to University’, led by the Department of Education and convened by Jo-Anne Baird (Director, Department of Education) and Simon Marginson (Professor of Higher Education, Department of Education). The series forms part of the department’s 100th Anniversary celebrations,  marking 100 years of leading research in education. The series will be held at venues across the University and aims to encourage public discussion and move access forward by bringing a research-based treatment to it.

Registration is required.

About the series

Access to higher education is a major social issue in the UK as in most countries. Overall participation in the UK is moving towards 50 per cent of the school leaver age group but non-white students, state school students and students from disadvantaged regions of the UK are under-represented in academically elite universities. This pattern affects entry, completion and outcomes in graduate labour markets. Access to the University of Oxford is a persistent debate. Must universities choose between high standards and socially equitable admissions, or can we have both? What is the scope for change?

Seminar abstract

Selection to higher education typically includes the use of information about students’ attainment, or predicted attainment, in school-leaving examinations such as A-levels .For selective universities and competitive undergraduate degree courses this information provides insufficient scope for discriminating between candidates, furthermore candidates are applying increasingly with qualifications from different international educational settings. To help provide a common point of reference across all candidates for a particular course, tests have been introduced as part of the admissions process in many courses at the University of Oxford. This project first explored the relationships between student characteristics and test performance with Oxford University admissions data before turning to study the effects of test preparation on TSA and BMAT for students applying to Oxford. How students prepare for admissions tests and whether this preparation has an impact on their performance in the test is an under-researched area.

Seminar speakers

This seminar will be chaired by Rebecca Surender (Pro Vice-Chancellor – Equality and Diversity, University of Oxford). The speakers will include, Jo-Anne Baird (Director of the Department of Education), Samina Khan (Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford) and Alison Matthews (Deputy Director of Undergraduate Admissions, University of Oxford). A response to the seminar will be given by Karen O’Brien (Head of the Humanities Division, University of Oxford).

To view the other seminars in this series see here.

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