Monday, 31 October 2011

UCAS Admissions Process Review Consultation

One of the groups I've been going to London to sit on recently is the UCAS Admissions Process Review Steering group. Not been able to say much about it until now, but today the consultation report has been published, so everything now out in the open!  It's been an interesting process - the review has been very evidence based, as it should be, and you can see some of the evidence collected here, including some interesting facts and figures about the amount of transactions which take place in HEIs to place applicants (over 9million), and an indicative cost of those transactions (about £26m).  The group set out to review the whole process of admissions, and took feedback from all interested parties - schools, colleges, students, parents, teachers, universities etc.

The review discovered a number of issues, not least the complex nature of the current process, which many students found difficult to understand - the diversity of different type of student, courses and qualifications means that a one size fits all approach has become unrealistic. In addition, the combined effect of predicted grades, clearing and the insurance choice has resulted in a system which is complex, not necessarily transparent to applicants, and inefficient for HEIs to administer. The timescales also mean that many applicants have to make important choices before they are ready.

The report proposes major changes in two phases - changes to the process to improve efficiency and prepare for a post results system to be in place for entry in 2014, and a move to a a post results admissions system for entry 2016.  This is the radical change, and one which will generate a lot of debate. The Steering Group  - which was made up of representatives of all of the stakeholders  - had a lot of debate about the findings, and  fully endorses the recommendations.

At the very first meeting of the group, we saw a copy of the UCCA, (that's what UCAS used to be), handbook from nearly 40 years ago. What struck me was how little things have changed since then - even the language is just the same - insurance offers, clearing, unconditional offers. The process may have moved from being mainly paper based to mainly electronic, but not a lot else has changed, so the review was timely.

The report  is here, and the consultation open until mid January.

No comments: