Admissions Transparency Forums - April 2018
Q. Why is May 2018 the due date when advertising for potential applicants for the following year does not commence until August?
The Phase Two Common Terminology and Information Sets document is for ‘adoption by end May 2018’. This means the information should be ready for transfer to the TACs, but providers need not publish the information (on websites or in reports) by May unless it is a publication that will be used by applicants considering study in 2019. Providers should publish, on their websites and in other documents, information for applicants considering study in 2019 at the very least, by the time the provider holds an Open Day, and for many providers this is August 2018.
Q. Does the information for courses with a midyear intake in 2018 need to comply with the criteria for 2019 entry?
No. For the 2018 midyear entry the old admissions information is acceptable, but for the 2019 cycle it needs to comply with the new admissions information requirements.
Q. We are a member of a TAC but we also receive direct applications, so the data that TAC has is not complete.
The data that you provide in your student and ATAR profiles should include students that applied via the TAC plus students that applied directly. In the main, though, it seems likely that ATAR-based applications would generally be included in TAC data.
Q. If a provider does not supply their data to the TAC by the due date, what will happen?
The data will not be included in the TAC’s publication.
Q. Why is the cut off for recent secondary education in the last two years?
The basis of admissions transparency is to provide information that is most relevant to applicants of different backgrounds. A person who has left school more than two years ago may have study, work or other experience that could contribute to their chance of admission in addition to evidence that a person who just finished secondary school may have to offer. Past school results may be relevant to an applicant of any age. But guidance on including information about other work and life experience is more likely to be relevant to an applicant who completed their secondary education some time ago. If a mature age applicant has recently completed secondary subjects through a TAFE or other education provider and was using those results to apply, they would likely fit into the recent secondary education group.
Q. If a provider uses secondary education results as the basis of admission for applicants that finished school more than two years ago, how should they be reported?
The evidence and process through which a provider assesses and determines admission for each course is a decision for the provider and may not be directly related to the applicant groupings in the information sets.
If the admission of all students is based on their secondary education results (and neither subsequent study or work experience are taken into account) then the provider could choose either to describe those requirements under the heading of “essential requirements for admission” or repeat the information under each student background heading.
Note: The ATAR profile should only include data for applicants that finished school in the two years prior to their application.
Q. How is this information transparent if we select applicants one way but report them in another category?
The purpose of the student profile is to provide applicants with information about the background of their potential student colleagues, regardless of the basis on which they were admitted.
Q. Is there a hierarchy for the background groups?
All applicant groupings are equally valid. Providers are free to order their admissions information in the way that best meets the needs of their stakeholders. For some that may mean listing work and life experience first, for others it may mean highlighting the requirements for school leavers more prominently.
In a strict logical sense, though, there is an implicit decision-making hierarchy as to which grouping an applicant would fall into. Students who have undertaken any higher education since leaving school are reported in the higher education category. If they don’t have higher education but they have undertaken VET study since leaving school they are reported in the VET category. If they don’t have higher education or VET study and have never completed year 12 or completed their secondary education more than two years ago they are reported in the work and life experience category. All students who completed their secondary education within the last two years (including, for example, mature age students who studied at TAFE) are reported in the recent secondary education category.
Q. What if an applicant falls under more than one category?
An applicant can only be reported in one category and that category is the first one they fit into according to the logical hierarchy explained above. The provider may wish to indicate to potential applicants which qualifications and experience will form the basis of their admission.
Q. Can we modify the format or add additional information to the student profile and ATAR tables (for example, can it be shown as a graph)?
The ATAR table and the student profile are templates and should not be modified. Providers may choose to present the information in a graph or graphically in addition to the template, but the templates should be shown as per the implementation plan so that students can easily compare across providers.
Q. Does there need to be a correlation between the HEIMS data and the admissions transparency data?
The data that is requested for the purposes of admissions transparency should be in line with data provided for HEIMS.
Q. We have a minimum ATAR/OP across all our courses in our institution and do not collect the applicants’ actual ATAR. Should we still report this in the ATAR/OP table?
In order to determine whether an applicant has the minimum ATAR/OP you would need to collect the applicant’s ATAR/OP. If that is not currently recorded and some of your applicants fall into the recent secondary education applicant group, then it should be going forward so that meaningful data can be entered into the ATAR/OP profile. If you use the TAC, then the TAC is likely to have that data.
Q. Can we report data from the last complete year (for example, 2017 instead of 2018 which is still in progress)?
The student profile should indicate the most representative cohort. The provider can decide whether to update the profile for the second semester or not. The recommendation is to use the most recent period for which a complete data set exists. Data for semester 1, 2018 or the full 2018 calendar year (if available) is likely to be the most relevant for applicants to be admitted in semester one 2019. Please ensure that the table shows which time period the data is from.
Q. How can applicants compare student profile data from different providers if they are from different years?
Student profiles are representative of the typical cohort which is unlikely to change much from year to year. Further, the difference in student profiles from adjacent time periods would seem unlikely to invalidate a potential applicant’s decision. Providers who have a large intake of one particular cohort in second semester (for example, international students) may wish to consider using profiles that cover a full calendar year to ensure the data are fully representative.
Q. Will the selection rank always be higher than the ATAR?
In some courses, the person who gained entry with the lowest ATAR may not have had an adjustment so their selection rank will be equal to their ATAR. Further, some providers use selection ranks that are quite different to the ATAR.
Q. Some providers have selection ranks that represent a combination of ATAR and other admission criteria. For example, the resulting ranks might be numbers from 0 to 356. Should these be reported?
Reporting of the selection rank is optional. However if admission to the course is based on a selection rank that includes admission criteria in addition to the ATAR it would be useful to present the selection rank data. An explanation of how the selection rank is prepared should be included so the potential applicant can understand the reported data.
Q. How can we represent the number of international students when the majority of them commence in semester 2?
Consideration should be given to using full calendar year student data in the student profile to ensure it is fully representative of the likely student cohort. If necessary, the provider could update the student profile prior to applications for second semester.
Q. How do we deal with changing course information in general?
Changes in course information that are required during the application and offer period should be updated on provider websites and any changes identified.
Q. Can providers revise the minimum ATAR and publish it?
Yes. However, it is important that applicants be able to have confidence in such a threshold if a provider chooses to set one. Once a minimum ATAR is set, it should not be revised within the relevant intake or offer period. That is, a potential applicant who has decided to change their preferences because their ATAR was below the minimum should not later find out that the Lowest ATAR to which an offer was made was below the published minimum that they relied on to make their decision.
Q. We have small numbers of students in our courses, so our student profiles will have ‘less than 5’ or ‘N/A’ in most categories. How should we manage this?
If your courses have small numbers and there are a number of courses within the same faculty you could aggregate the courses in order to provide a student profile that is useful to potential applicants. That is, provide the total number of students in each course but provide a student profile for the faculty. If all the figures presented are ‘N/A’ they would be of little use from either perspective.
Q. Some providers offer the same course in a number of states and the admissions information set differs. How should the information be presented?
TEQSA can provide assistance in working out the best way to present admissions information when courses are provided in different locations. If the same course is delivered in a number of states the course information is likely to be similar and could be shown in one information set. If the ATAR profile is different for each campus it may be useful to show them separately or as a table with a column for each campus. Depending on how many students take the course in each state it may be useful to aggregate the data and provide a student profile for the course as a whole. Please ensure that it is clear which campuses are included in the data presented. Please contact TEQSA if you require further advice.
Q. We have small numbers of domestic students (and in some courses we have none) but we would like to increase the numbers of domestic students. We are concerned that presenting the student profile will dissuade domestic students from applying.
You will need to present the data as it stands in your student profile. There are likely to be a number of reasons the cohort of domestic students is small and the presentation of a student profile will not change the fact that you do have a small cohort of domestic students.
Q. We run courses for another provider and admissions information for these courses is shown on our website. Do we need to report the admissions information set including the Student and the ATAR profiles?
If a potential applicant can access admissions information on your website this should be the same as the admissions information available on the other provider’s website. If you do not include the full admissions information set then you should include a link to the other provider’s website where the full admissions information set should be available.
Q. Are the new terms expected to be included in the provider’s information that is delivered to the TACs?
Yes, the new terminology needs to be included in the TACs’ publications as it pertains to the 2019 entry cohort.
Q. We have enabling courses that do not quite match the definition of enabling courses or bridging courses. How do we report on those?
The definitions of enabling courses and bridging courses are provided in the common terms. A bridging course provides specific knowledge (for example, calculus mathematics) that will be needed to successfully undertake a particular course. An enabling course develops study-related skills (such as study techniques or English language proficiency). Please contact TEQSA if you are unsure whether a course should be described as a bridging course or an enabling course.
Q. What is the definition of ‘undergraduate’?
As per the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) ‘undergraduate’ includes AQF levels 5 (diploma), 6 (advanced diploma, associate degree), 7 (bachelor) and bachelor honours degrees (which are designated AQF level 8) qualifications.
Q. Should information for admission to Bachelor Honours courses be included?
As an undergraduate award, Bachelor Honours is in scope for admissions transparency. However, information on Bachelor Honours courses is only required if it is already being provided to your TAC for inclusion in its information products.
Q. If we have low numbers of domestic students, do we need to provide the information?
If a provider does not accept applications from domestic students, the implementation of admissions transparency at this point is not required. If you do accept applications from domestic students you would be expected to have admissions information available in the new formats.
Q. Can TEQSA please give insight to providers of the evaluations that were done in 2017?
TEQSA conducted a formative evaluation of provider websites at a point in time which is not representative of where providers are at this point in time. The formative evaluation was conducted so that the Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group and TEQSA could identify the challenges the providers were having in implementing the requirements. That information fed into the development of TEQSA’s Advice on Admissions Transparency.
TEQSA welcomes enquiries from providers and is happy to answer questions and provide verbal feedback on provider publications and website in relation to admissions transparency. TEQSA used an excel spreadsheet which lists the requirements of the admissions transparency implementation plan. Based on this spreadsheet, upon request, TEQSA has developed a checklist (PDF, 128 KB) (DOCX, 146 KB) which may help providers to implement the requirements of admissions transparency.
Information about the HEAIP will shortly be sent to all providers by the Department of Education and Training (Department). If you have any questions about the HEAIP please email AdmissionsInformationPlatform [at] education.gov.au
If you have a question that has not been answered please email the TEQSA Admissions Transparency team at admissions [at] teqsa.gov.au.