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How should universities select students?

Jake Anders

No 8, CEPEO Briefing Note Series from UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities

Abstract: British universities select the students to whom they offer places, generally drawing on the following pieces of information: a 'personal statement', prior attainment, predicted grades, and contextual information about the applicant. A smaller group of institutions also use information based on aptitude tests and interviews. However, all such sources of information have the potential to be biased, including by factors such as gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. This raises the question of which of these sources of information universities should prioritise, and which they should use at all.Britain is almost unique in using predicted grades, as discussed in briefing note 7 (Wyness, 2020), but even beyond this different countries approaches differ substantially, for example the US relies far more extensively on aptitude testing than is the case in the UK, partly due to its lack of national terminal examinations. In this briefing note, we assess the evidence on the strengths and weaknesses of using these sources of information about students' suitability for different higher education courses.

Keywords: university admissions; prior attainment; aptitude test; contextual admissions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 I24 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 6 pages
Date: 2020-11, Revised 2020-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ore
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) First version, 2020 (application/pdf)

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