Gate-keeping into the knowledge society : have we got it right?
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Jeyaseelan SomasundaramJeyaseelan Somasundaram, Patrick DanaherPatrick Danaher, Donald BowserDonald Bowser
University admission is generally a competitive process, with more applicants seeking entry to programs than places available. The undergraduate selection process typically requires the processing of large numbers of students, and the process needs to be transparent and efficient. Usually admission is primarily, if not solely, based on grades, obtained at school and/or in an external exam. Existing studies indicate that admission grades, while the strongest predictor currently available, are at best able to predict approximately 40% of the subsequent university grades (Adelman, 1999).This paper reports on the correlation between the grades used for admission and their subsequent university grades for approximately 7000 students admitted between 2003 and 2005 to a particular Queensland university in Australia. The paper reports that there are significant differences in the correlation between these grades and subsequent university performance across disciplines. Engineering and the physical sciences, for example, have a higher correlation than the social sciences. In addition, Queensland’s school certificate provides supplementary measures of five generic skills. The paper also examines the value of these measures in predicting university performance. University graduates are arguably the lynch-pins of a knowledge society. Selection methods must be good predictors of success at university and also continuation in careers that deliver optimum benefits for both the individual and the society that subsidised their study. The paper concludes that, while purely grades based admission is transparent and efficient for a university, it may not be particularly fair or effective.