As the UK government looks to reform the higher education admissions system, in all likelihood moving towards some form of post qualifications offers or admissions system, a new report considers the situation countries and what we can learn from them. Whichever way the government decide to go the report highlights how adequate information, advice and guidance will become even more important to support students to enter higher education. The report, “University Admissions: The international picture”, by NEON Director, Professor Graeme Atherton, was undertaken for the Sutton Trust and seeks to learn from global higher education admissions systems. It examines the systems of 31 OECD countries.
Out of the 31 OECD countries United Kingdom is the only one who operates a ‘pre-qualification’ system with several European countries operating university application timetables similar to that proposed by the PQA model outlined in the government’s consultation. Examinations that facilitate HE entry also differ with the United Kingdom being in a minority of countries using ‘individual subject-based examinations”.
The report also finds differences in terms of student access and success between the systems and admissions types, although the report states that the data does not demonstrate a clear advantage between post-qualification offers (PQO) or post qualification admissions (PQA) systems.
The report stresses the importance of looking closely at how other countries’ admission systems work to avoid any unnecessary pressure on either students or staff.