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Admissions transparency

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Background

The Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP) released its report Improving the Transparency of Higher Education Admissions in October 2016. They found an increasing variety of application pathways and admissions processes in higher education, with many inconsistencies in the way admissions requirements are expressed.

A sector-led working group, the Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group (IWG), was established in early 2017 to develop a practical response to the HESP’s recommendations, which includes changes to the way ATAR and other academic requirements are presented.

The Admissions Transparency Implementation Plan sets out six objectives and timeframes to implement the HESP’s recommendations, agreed to by key stakeholders in the Australian higher education sector.

The implementation plan’s six objectives include:

  1. Standardised presentation of admissions information
  2. Adoption of common admissions terminology
  3. Revised ATAR-related thresholds and definitions
  4. Tertiary Admission Centres adopt more consistent approaches and reporting and streamline interstate application processes
  5. TEQSA monitoring and guidance on admissions transparency
  6. New national admissions information platform

Implementation of objectives

A staged approach to the Admissions Transparency Implementation Plan’s objectives is being taken. By the end of August 2017, higher education providers were required to deliver a limited set of information in the new format to inform students entering study in 2018. The implementation plan explains what information should be provided and if the information is not hosted on the provider’s own website, links to the full provider and/or course set should be prominent and easily found by prospective students looking for information.

We undertook a formative evaluation of sector compliance and reported to the Implementation Working Group in October 2017. In December 2017 the IWG released an updated specification for phase two implementation (required by May 2018) for products intended to assist prospective students and applicants to study in 2019 and beyond. The update includes common admissions terminology and revised admissions information sets.

This updated specification has been developed and agreed by the IWG, incorporating input from providers, peak bodies, students and career advisers, including feedback on the experience and outcomes of the publication of phase one information sets in August 2017.

The document contains:

  • a broader set of agreed common admission-related terms for adoption across the higher education sector
  • a public glossary of common admission-related terms that providers can use to clarify the definitions adopted across the sector to information users.

The IWG has released quick reference documents regarding the changes that prospective higher education students will see over the next year. The changes will affect admissions information aimed at applicants who will study higher education in 2019 and beyond. There are two documents intended for different audiences. They are available from the Department of Education and Training's website:

TEQSA’s advice on admissions transparency

Following the first phase of implementation of the Admissions Transparency Project, TEQSA conducted a formative evaluation by surveying all provider websites. Recognising that full implementation was not required in the first phase, we observed a number of things that might prevent prospective domestic undergraduate students from easily finding the information they need to make a decision about applying for a course.

Our Advice on Admissions Transparency is informed by findings from our formative evaluation of the implementation of admissions transparency and feedback from the IWG, providers, tertiary admission centres, students and peak bodies.

Capital city forums

TEQSA will hold forums in capital cities for administrators responsible for the implementation of admissions transparency to further explain what is required of providers. Places will be limited so we will accept up to three registrations from each provider and priority will be given to admissions transparency contacts. 

To register your attendance at a forum please visit the link relevant to you:

Providers in regional areas and other states are encouraged to contact the Admissions Transparency Team if they have any questions, by admissions [at] teqsa.gov.au (subject: Admissions%20transparency%20forum) (email )or by calling (03) 8306 2463.

Future work

Learning from the formative evaluation, we are now preparing advice on how best to implement admissions transparency, for release in March 2018. We will also commence monitoring and reporting of admissions transparency in the higher education sector, and in 2020 will complete a comprehensive review and evaluation of the sector’s response to the HESP’s recommendations.

Need help?

We are here to help administrators with the challenges of implementing admissions transparency. Please contact us with any queries about the project by email admissions [at] teqsa.gov.au or phone 03 8306 2463.

Admissions transparency information webinars

From time to time, the Department of Education and Training and TEQSA co-present webinar information sessions. Links to the recordings from previous webinars are provided below. If you would like to be advised when the next webinar is on, please subscribe to the mailing list.

20 February 2018

30 August 2017

Admissions transparency mailing list

All information and updates about the Admissions Transparency Project will be emailed to higher education provider’s principal contacts. If you are not a TEQSA principal contact and would like to be added to the mailing list, please enter your information in our online form.