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Admissions transparency

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Admissions transparency means that prospective domestic undergraduate students can easily find good quality admissions information that allows them to compare courses and providers and make informed study choices.

Background

2016

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.

2017

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 (July 2017) 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 are:

  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

The initial focus is to support the choices of prospective domestic undergraduate students, including applicants for diploma, advanced diploma, associate degree and bachelor degree courses.

Implementation of objectives

The Admissions Transparency Implementation Plan sets out specific actions for higher education providers, Tertiary Admission Centres, the Department of Education and TEQSA in three stages between 2017 and 2020. The information on this page focuses on the actions for higher education providers and TEQSA. 

Stage One

For higher education providers

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, using the agreed terminology, as shown in the Implementation Plan and appendices. 

Stage Two

The IWG reviewed and further developed the implementation plan, 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.

In July 2018 the IWG released an updated phase two common terminology and information sets specification document for materials intended to assist prospective students and applicants to study in 2019 and beyond. The update defined two additional terms and refined the ‘Essential requirements for admission’ section in addition to including the revisions made in December 2017 (revised common admissions terminology and admissions information sets).

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 also produced quick reference documents explaining the changes to admissions information. These documents are intended for different audiences. They are available from the Department of Education and Training's website:

For higher education providers

By May 2018, providers were to adopt the agreed full ‘information sets’ as detailed in the final implementation plan and the phase two common terminology and information sets.  Online information should be available about institution-wide and program/course-specific admission options and entry criteria applicable to prospective students for the 2019 academic year. The same information should also be available for inclusion in CourseSeeker, the national admissions information platform, and the relevant Tertiary Admissions Centre website.

For TEQSA

October 2017

We undertook a formative evaluation of sector implementation by assessing all provider websites in scope and reported to the Implementation Working Group and the Minister. 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.

TEQSA has developed a number of supports to guide the sector in implementing the admissions transparency actions, as outlined below. 

TEQSA’s advice on admissions transparency

In February 2018, we released our Advice on Admissions Transparency, 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. The Good Practice Note extends the Advice on Admissions Transparency.

TEQSA’s Good Practice Note: Making higher education admissions transparent for prospective students

TEQSA engaged Janet Beard, an expert in higher education admissions policy and practice, to review provider implementation of the admissions transparency requirements and identify examples of good practice in April 2019.

TEQSA’s Good Practice Note: Making higher education admissions transparent for prospective students provides background information, links to key resources, and suggestions illustrated with examples of good practice (current at the time of publication) that providers have put in place.

Checklist

In response to provider requests, we have developed a checklist (PDF, 128 KB) (DOCX, 146 KB) to support the implementation of admissions transparency.

Capital city forums

In March and April 2018, TEQSA held forums in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane for administrators responsible for the implementation of admissions transparency.

The forum PowerPoint presentation and questions and answers are available for reference.

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.

20 February 2018

30 August 2017

Stage 3

TEQSA’s summative evaluation of admissions transparency actions

TEQSA is undertaking a summative evaluation of the sector’s success in improving the transparency of higher education admissions and responding to the recommendations of the Higher Education Standards Panel from September 2019. 

This summative evaluation follows on from the formative evaluation conducted by TEQSA in 2017. 

In March 2020, following the summative evaluation, TEQSA will be required to report the results to the Minister for Education. This report will include recommendations to government on the need for further reforms to embed greater transparency in provider admission policies and processes.

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 2443.

    Admissions transparency mailing list

    All information and updates about the Admissions Transparency Project will be emailed to higher education providers’ 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.