Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Lessons learned from comparing admissions systems around the world

Lessons learned from comparing admissions systems around the world

Presentation at Westminster Higher Education Forum keynote seminar - The future of the UK university admissions system - unconditional offers, post-qualification admissions, and options for reform, 19 May 2020, online.


Dominic Orr

May 19, 2020


  1. Dr. Dominic Orr Adjunct professor, University of Nova Gorica Research

    lead at Kiron Open Higher Education Twitter: @dominicorr Lessons learned from comparing admissions systems around the world Westminster Higher Education Forum keynote seminar - The future of the UK university admissions system - unconditional offers, post-qualification admissions, and options for reform, 19 May 2020, online.
  2. Chapter 1 Higher education trends

  3. Trend 1 – Historical system growth Increasing numbers of graduates

  4. Trend 2 – Slow down in growth of BA students

    due to demographics
  5. Trend 3 – Search for online courses due to Covid-19

    International student search volume by study method on Studyportals.eu (April 2020) Difference in page views 2020 vs. 2019
  6. Chapter 2 How admission systems work

  7. European study on how admission systems work (Orr et al.2017):

    • Describing – developed a typology to describe how admission systems work • Analysing – reviewing impacts through data analyses and interviews with stakeholders Source: https://op.europa.eu/s/n6tT
  8. 3 Objectives for an admission system: ▪ Efficiency: An efficient

    admission system is one which achieves a beneficial match between the applicant to a higher education programme and the higher education provider ▪ Effectiveness: An effective admission system is one which enables changes in study patterns to reflect new demands of society and the labour market ▪ Inclusiveness (equitability): An inclusive (or equitable) admission system is one which focusses on students’ potential to succeed irrespective of their social background
  9. The admission system as architecture of structures and processes

  10. The admission system as an interplay between ‘agents’ following different

  11. A typology of admission systems, which brings both perspective on

    admission systems together Selection Streaming (Nearly all) HEIs can select with additional criteria HEIs cannot select with additional criteria (in normal circumstances) At least one pathway through the school system does not lead to a qualification enabling higher education entry (to some part of the system) Type 4: Double selection Croatia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain Type 1: Selection by schools Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia In general, all pathways may lead to higher education entry (in some part of the system) Type 2: Selection by HEIs Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia, United Kingdom Type 3: Least selection Albania, France, Greece, Ireland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Sweden, Turkey
  12. Type 1 – Selection by schools: These systems do well

    only on measures related to effectiveness. They tend to have low rates of unemployment among recent graduates and lower rates of growth in job mismatches. There are likely to be two factors contributing to this. On the one hand, this may be because early selection identifies students who are more likely to have a better transition to the labour market. On the other hand, it may also be because these countries have below-average enrolment rates which produce fewer graduates (and hence have less opportunity for “over- production”). These systems do have the lowest relative participation rates by students from low social backgrounds. In sum: while they are effective systems, they are only effective for those who have social advantages to begin with.
  13. Type 2 – Selection by HEIs: These systems do not

    stand out much on many measures. However, they tend to have slightly higher-than-average graduation rates, and are somewhat more likely to accept (but not necessarily graduate) students over the age of 30. Type 3 – Least selection: These systems do well in terms of equalising chances in higher education for students from more disadvantaged backgrounds, improving balance by gender and by socio-economic background. However, they are not particularly good at securing completion rates. These admission systems also tend to have relatively flexible allocation of study places across fields of study (in part perhaps because they are also systems that tend to have higher-than-average enrolments in private HEIs).
  14. Type 4 – Double selection: These systems seem to be

    the most efficient in terms of completion rates. This result may be partly achieved by excluding more disadvantaged students, but this does not seem to be the whole story. HEI selection seems to be linked with higher mature student enrolments (though not completions).
  15. Two central recommendations for the future 1 of 2 Improve

    the architecture of choices provided to students HEIs need to improve the system-wide choice architecture they present to students, simplifying the way choices are presented to students. The case studies highlighted current efforts in this direction, but the sheer complexity and number of possible permutations of study choice present a challenge for student decision-making.
  16. Two central recommendations for the future 2 of 2 Improve

    the information, advice and guidance available on higher education Efforts are being made to provide more information about individual programmes and careers. But this is just one part of the puzzle. Students require contextual information and advice which is personalised and goes beyond their own social-proximity network. This is lacking.
  17. Chapter 3 Looking ahead and looking behind

  18. 18 Digitalisation is everywhere! Political poster in Bavaria, 2018 –

    “Blockchain and brass bands”
  19. • the difference between being ‘in’ and being ‘out’ of

    a higher education institution, i.e. mainstream higher education erects high administrative hurdles to entering a full learning programme • the linearity of learning, i.e. the general idea that the foundational blocks of learning continue sequentially until a full programme of BA & even MA course is completed Higher education is broadly shaped by 2 limitations:
  20. Higher education Higher education High edu 2 … n Model

    1 - Tamagotchi (Status quo plus) Model 2 - Jenga Model 3 - Lego set Model 4 - Transformers er Higher education / Vocational training n … … Higher education + + + + + + + + 4 learning pathways through higher ed – AHEAD Foresight report For the full report see: http://bit.ly/AHEADreport The report is in German, but has an English executive summary (English language full version to follow shortly)
  21. More: https://hochschulforumdigitalisierung.de/en/news/ahead-study-landscape-2030 Orr, D., Lübcke, M., Schmidt, P., Ebner, M.,

    Wannemacher, K., Ebner, M., & Dohmen, D. (2019). AHEAD Internationales Horizon-Scanning: Trendanalyse zu einer Hochschullandschaft in 2030. Retrieved from https://hochschulforumdigitalisierun g.de/sites/default/files/dateien/HFD_ AP_Nr_42_AHEAD_WEB.pdf
  22. And be sure to check out our learning offers on

    Kiron Campus! Prof. Dr. Dominic Orr Research Lead dominic.orr@kiron.ngo