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SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
SPA - Janet Graham
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SPA - Janet Graham

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SPA Janet Graham, Director, Supporting Professionalism in Admissions

SPA Janet Graham, Director, Supporting Professionalism in Admissions

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  • Its about providing a education for life as well a trainingWhat is SPA doing? Working with HEIs/ HE in FEStudent number controls and policy changes impacting admissions in EnglandQAA UK Quality Code for HE - Chapter B2: Admissions (2013)Advice to UCAS on the new Admissions Process implementation and New Qualifications Information System (NQIS) Fair admissions input into the national strategy for widening participation in (i) England and (ii) Northern IrelandPre-HE curriculum and routes into HEEquality guidance impacting on admissionsSPA Framework of good practice and toolkitUpdate existing good practice as required
  • 1. HE White Paper (England 2011)“The use of contextual data to identify candidates with the ability and potential to succeed on a particular course or at a particular institution is not a new phenomenon. Many institutions have been using such information on the basis that there is good evidence that for some students, exam grades alone are not the best predictor of potential to succeed at university. The Government believes that this is a valid and appropriate way for institutions to broaden access while maintaining excellence, so long as individuals are considered on their merits, and institutions’ procedures are fair, transparent and evidence based.” 2. University Challenge: how higher education can advance social mobility - Millburn (2012): “The sector as a whole should make the use of contextual data – such as the type of school attended by applicants, their parents’ education level, and their family’s income – as universal as possible in admissions processes”“...it would be helpful if the various bodies representing universities could agree a common statement of support for the appropriate use of contextual data”3. National Strategy for Access and Student Success -OFFA/HEFCE, England is being formulated and will go to BIS this autumnThe strategy will provide a framework to help co-ordination of work in this area and encompass work that was already being led by others. The SPA contextualised admissions report has been submitted to HEFCE and OFFA.4. OFFA - How to produce an access agreement for 2014-15:“Some use this data to ensure that such applicants are made offers and some make slightly lower offers than they would normally – for example, levels of average attainment in an applicant’s school, or other indicators of disadvantage. Some also use it to better inform their targeting and outreach activities”“We welcome and encourage the use of contextual information so long as you consider individuals on their merits and your procedures are fair, transparent and evidence-based.”
  • 5. Outcome Agreement Guidance 2013-14 ScotlandThe outcome agreement process will capture progress through the combination of national key indicators – which will be consistent for all universities – and by contextualised indicators – which will be tailored to institutions or groups of institutions.More even patterns of participation by Scottish learners from areas of deprivation the 20% and 40% most deprived postcodes (SIMD 20 and SIMD 40)More even patterns of participation by Scottish learners from different protected characteristic groups (including those from care backgrounds)More even patterns of retention and achievement by different groups of Scottish learners6. HEFCW - Fee Plan Guidance 2013/14Promotion of equality of opportunity in access to HE includes:activities to promote and safeguard fair access to HE, including indentifying individuals with the greatest potential from disadvantaged backgrounds;measures to attract and retain prospective students from under-represented groups, including from less advantaged backgrounds, with disabilities and from minority ethnic groups;activities to support and increase student retention and completion, particularly those from low participation neighbourhoods, looked after children and care leavers
  • Too few students from state schools are opting for STEM or have the option to do single science subjects at GCSE and advanced level.However, it is encouraging over the last couple of years to see more students taking and achieving good passes in A-level sciences and maths. - we don’t yet know the impact if any of the curriculum changes on widening access. With reforms and changes coming in more research will need to be done to keep the evidence base up to date.Clearly where you have pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and or with low cultural capital, having access to IAG is vital.  HEIs are keen to support schools in providing IAG and other measures to improve access to higher education for people from low-income backgrounds and other groups that are currently under-represented in higher education. The essence of the case for a contextual data approach, is that the university degree potential of students from under-represented groups might itself be underrepresented by their end-of-school academic grades, and that unless this is taken into account by higher education staff admissions staff, the profile of those they admit will not be a faithful reflection of those with the academic potential to succeed at their institutions. This is not dumbing down, as the press so often report it, but rather is about linking entrance criteria to the academic potential to succeed.
  • HEIs looking for efficiencies and new unique selling points (USPs) for quality of offering and service, while enhancing access for disadvantaged students and ensuring fair admissionsIncreasing competition between HEIs, and with HE in FE and new alternative independent providers
  • What a person achieves at school or college is influenced by a range of factors such as their background, where they live, the school attended and subjects taken. If a university is to maintain excellence by recruiting the best applicants it cannot simply rely on A-level results or their equivalents as shorthand for ability and potential. When selecting applicants, this means that admissions staff in universities make use of a range of additional data so that they can put achievement in the context of the circumstances in which it is has been obtained: currently mainly educational, geo-demographic and social economic background data.  A strong argument can be made to say that failure to recruit high achieving applicants at the top of each year group, from low performing state schools or those living in a disadvantaged neighbourhood, is an opportunity that the higher education sector simply cannot afford to miss – particularly within the current economic climate.  
  • Support available from SPA
  • Transcript

    • 1. SPA and fair HE Admissions in the new competitive environment Access to HE summit 3 December 2013 Janet Graham, Director of SPA
    • 2. What is SPA?  Set up in 2006 following the Schwartz Report Fair Admissions to Higher Education: Recommendations for Good Practice 2004 “ The Group recommends the creation of a central source of expertise and advice on admissions issues. Its purpose would be to act as a resource for institutions who wish to maintain and enhance excellence in admissions. Such a centre could lead the continuing development of fair admissions, evaluating and commissioning research, and spreading best practice.”  UK‟s independent, fully funded (normally free at the point of delivery) and objective voice on fair HE admissions  Small team, but with practical and relevant experience
    • 3. What is Fair Admissions? 1. be transparent 2. enable institutions to select students who are able to complete the course as judged by their achievements and “Equalpotential their opportunity for all individuals, assessment methods that are reliable and 3. strive to use regardless of valid background, to gain 4. seek to minimise course admission to a barriers to applicants 5. be professional in every respect and underpinned by suited to their ability structures and processes and appropriate institutional aspirations.”
    • 4. Fair admissions and fair access: what’s the difference?  If fair admissions covers the five principles, is fair access about getting more disadvantaged students into „top‟ universities? Supporting the most able but least likely to apply?  Yes, but that‟s only part of the issue  Raising aspirations and encouraging and supporting all students with potential to aim higher for an HE course that is right for them at an institution that can provide what they need, when they need it - full-time, part-time, flexible or distance learning etc
    • 5. External policy drivers impacting admissions
    • 6. External policy drivers impacting admissions Increasing divergence in the HE policy frameworks round the UK but HE providers recruit UK-wide
    • 7. External policy drivers impacting admissions  Changes and developments to the Pre-HE curriculum  Issues round advice and guidance for potential students  Tuition fees and student finance – policy varies round UK  Demographics - Fewer young applicants until 2020
    • 8. Fair admissions in a competitive landscape Competition between HE providers is growing. There is an increasing need to seek out students with potential from a wider range of backgrounds.
    • 9. What is contextualised admissions? Contextualised admissions is defined as contextual information and contextual data used by HE providers to assess an applicant‟s prior attainment and potential to succeed in higher education in the context of the circumstances in which their attainment has been obtained.
    • 10. Why is contextual data used? Academic Excellence  Competition  Evidence-base  Increase applicant pool  External policy drivers  Diversity as pedagogical value Fair admissions “We are very aware of the differences out there, and it’s obvious when students come to study with us that the brightest sparks do not always come with the best grades.”
    • 11. Contextualised admissions and holistic assessment
    • 12. Fair admissions in a competitive landscape So does this mean moving away from academic rigor and high standards? No.  It is about supporting the delivery of fair admissions and maintaining high academic standards.  It is about seeking excellence by identifying the „best‟ applicants with the greatest potential and likelihood of a successful degree outcome.
    • 13. Strategic importance of contextualised admissions: Facilitates reaching targets Helps identify applicants who may benefit from additional support Improves calibre of entrants through identifying potential Helps delivery of fair admissions Supports the applicant experience Widens participation and enhances diversity of the student body Helps assess applicants for financial support Could aid social mobility
    • 14. Evidence 1: What matters for measuring academic potential? Area  Scientific „Gold standard‟: good, individual-level data Caveats: School  Data availability Household  Expertise and cost  Limitations (often young, UK domiciled HE applicants) Individual  Outreach or / and admissions
    • 15. Evidence 2: Same grades same potential  Students from different types of school perform differently.  In the majority of research, those from state schools outperform independent school students or those from poorer performing schools outperform those from higher performing schools (Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff, HEFCE, Scottish institution)  This is not confirmed in one case study where school did not affect degree results (Cambridge)  Studies use different ways of thinking about and measuring disadvantage as well as attainment.
    • 16. Recommendations for HE admissions Rationale and understanding  Conceptual clarity – from SPA  Sharing expertise, good practice and networking  Communication Data and indicators  Centralised data provision  Data transfer Research  Long term comparative research  Other admissions  Different provider contexts
    • 17. Initial basket of data for HEIs, free, via UCAS for 2014 Educational Background  School performance: % of students achieving 5+ GCSEs A*-C including English and Maths (or equivalent in Scotland) Socio-Economic Background  % of students entitled to free school meals by School (historical data only by Local Authority)  % of students entitled to EMA (not England)  Average point score by school “best 8” GCSEs (or Standard grade SCQF Basket of  Lives in a low progression to higher Data level 4 equivalent performance) education neighbourhood (POLAR 2  mean QCA points per A level and per and 3) derived from postcode student (or equivalent in Scotland)  SIMD Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SFC version) Supplied by UCAS, if universities and colleges sign up to take it.
    • 18. SPA College HE Community of Practice Group  Building an evidence base of current practice seeking out existing good practice;  Assessing practices and procedures in HE admissions and adapting SPA‟s existing good practice if appropriate and/or developing new practice for FE College use;  Raising awareness of the Group‟s work with FE Colleges offering HE in their regions;  Disseminating relevant information to FE Colleges offering HE in their regions;  Promoting the professionalism of admissions with FE Colleges offering HE in their regions and with the wider College HE admissions community.
    • 19. Part-time admissions – fair admissions and good practice  Review Thomas report and implications for SPA‟s work  Input to sector bodies and other stakeholder groups with regard to PT admissions  Build mailing/contact list of PT admissions practitioners within HE providers, with potential to develop into community of practice  Update SPAs Good Practice Statement and Checklist on PT admissions  Produce guidelines on PT admissions – e.g. data to be collected and rationale for doing so
    • 20. The applicant experience  Built under four broad stages, as part of student journey preapplication  www.spa.ac.uk/applicant-experience postapplication application Adopted a behavioural view of „experience‟ Interactive participation and engagement, not a passive journey  Linked and underpinned through effective information, advice sing and guidance transition
    • 21. The applicant experience www.spa.ac.uk/applicant-experience A good applicant experience A poor applicant experience is mutually beneficial to both the is mutually beneficial to applicant and the higher education provider both the applicant and the  prepares, informs provider prepares, informs and provides higher education and equality of equality to provides opportunityof enter higher accurately match shouldeducation enter higher opportunity to  the student‟s aims, the should accurately match education thereforeaims, aspirations student‟s improves and abilities and abilities student aspirations andthe character with enhances retentioncharacter of theof the with the institution the strategic mission of the  institution therefore improves student retention institution the strategic mission and enhances of the institution   is inherently detrimental to both the is inherently detrimental to applicant and the higher education both the both lose out the provider – applicant and entry perpetuates barriers to  higher educationto entry perpetuates barriers provider disengages potential both lose out  disengages potential applicants and applicants and their advisors their advisors risks incongruence between  risks incongruence between student student expectations and therefore embeds an character expectations and institutional  institutional character therefore embeds an enrolment strategy enrolment strategy leading to leading to unfulfilled potential unfulfilled potential and and increased drop-out increased drop-out
    • 22. Building an applicant experience strategy institution mission and values monitor pre-application stage processes policies application stage processes post-application stage processes transition stage processes key interactions linking interactions key interactions linking interactions key interactions linking interactions key interactions IPG integrated IPG integrated IPG integrated IPG integrated IPG integrated IPG integrated IPG integrated practitioner groups / communities practitioner groups / communities practitioner groups / communities practitioner groups / communities practitioner groups / communities practitioner groups / communities practitioner groups / communities enablers (staff; systems; funds) measure strategic aims
    • 23. The Applicant Experience Strategy  Strategic leadership in admissions is integral to an institution‟s learning and teaching strategy, management and planning.  SPA‟s view is that an applicant experience strategy underpins the student experience, it supports the management and processes of both academic and professional staff.  The benefits for the institution should be     more integrated ways of working, with possible efficiency gains enhanced staff professionalism and understanding of strategy improved quality practices and procedures which may give competitive advantage, enhance reputation and aid retention ability to take advantage of external changes quickly  The benefits for the applicant: transparency, a better experience
    • 24. Thank you. Questions and discussion. Janet Graham www.spa.ac.uk

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