Admissions transparency information webinar - August 2017

Questions and answers

Department of Education and Training and TEQSA webinar

Q. The minimum ATAR required for consideration and minimum ATAR to which an offer is guaranteed are optional, is that correct?

Yes, a provider can decide whether to use the ATAR as a factor in determining eligibility. If admission is based on ATAR, Minimum ATAR required for consideration and Guaranteed Entry ATAR are optional for publication in the program/course admission information set in 2017. If relevant, they will need to be published from 2018.

Q. Will universities be compelled under these changes to publish data on "forced offers" below the published ATAR, which have traditionally gone unreported publicly?

From 2017, where ATAR was a factor in determining eligibility of a recent secondary education leaver, the lowest ATAR to receive an offer should be published in the program/course admission information set. If ATAR was not a factor in the offer being made, the student’s ATAR would not be included in the ATAR profile.

Q. In regard to reporting ATARs for forced offers, we were told that whether to report them "would be up to the institution".  Surely the whole system of transparency falls apart if this is the case?

If an offer is made to a recent secondary student that is not based on ATAR the institution is not required to report the ATAR of that applicant. If an offer is made that is based wholly or partly on the applicant’s ATAR, then the institution is required to report the ATAR of that applicant.

Q. Will universities be required to provide student profile/enrolment data for each program/course or is the university student profile sufficient?

Both are required. The student profile in the whole-of-institution gives a picture of commencing students across the whole institution. But this would not provide an applicant with information specific to the program or course they are applying to, unless the provider only offered one program or course.

The student profile in the program/course admission information set (Appendix D to the Implementation Plan) illustrates the peer cohort that commenced in in the specific course of interest in the most recent relevant intake period.

Q. Can both sets be combined? As some of the information required in both sets is the same

In general, information in the program/course admission information set should not repeat information that applies to all applicants and is covered in the whole-of institution information set.  However, it should be clear to the applicant that the information is the same for both. For example, the program/course admission information could provide a link to the whole of institution information where it is the same.

Q. If all student profile information at course level falls into the 'low number' category, is a provider required to publish a table that effectively has no data

If the course is being offered for the first time, there is no need to publish a table. If the course has previously been offered and the number of students in the most recent intake was less than 5 the table should be published using L/N to indicate low numbers.

Q. When will the desktop snapshots be taken in 2017?

The snapshots of provider websites will be taken between September and October 2017.

Q. Will we be notified of the snapshots?

Providers will not be notified of the snapshots. TEQSA may contact a provider for the purposes of clarification.

The evaluation that TEQSA will undertake is formative, not summative. That is, we are using the information to consider how best to support the sector in providing improved transparency in admissions information.

Q. We are providing Semester 1 2017 data for 2018 admissions. We expect to then update and provide Semester 1 2018 data for 2019. We do have a mid-year intake. Are we expected to update to full year in the future?

Data should be provided for the most relevant recent intake period. If you have updated full-year data ready to go by the time you are publishing information to support the mid-year intake, you could consider using that instead of data from the first semester of the previous year. But it is up to institutions to determine the most relevant data to use.

Q. Will we be told what level of compliance TEQSA considers occurred with the implementation for this year?

During the implementation process, TEQSA’s assessment of compliance with sector admissions transparency commitments will not affect providers’ registration. It is being used to assess the progress of the sector as a whole and to determine how TEQSA can best support providers to achieve best practice. Therefore a ‘level of compliance’ will not be reported to each provider. A whole of sector assessment and evaluation is the initial goal.

Q. Are we required to provide an explanation of what the data means?

The implementation plan details the minimum amount of information that is required to be presented. A provider may choose to provide further explanation or information.

Q. Are there going to be some public communications so that students understand the new information? There is now so much information there is the potential for more confusion among the transparency.

The Department of Education and Training has a communication strategy to support implementation and this includes providing students, schools and career educators with information. To support the phased implementation, the information communicated to stakeholders will also be staggered – with more information appearing in 2018 to support full implementation.

In 2017, some existing terminology like “ATAR cut-off” and “clearly in ATAR” will be used alongside the new agreed common terms and data definitions. While this may be a little confusing, it may also help users to understand the transition to the new approach.

Q. How would you recommend educating prospective students on how to interpret data, to make a decision about their likely competitiveness for entry into a course?

See above. A communication strategy is in place, with information products tailored to different stakeholders being developed.

Q. The student profile table distinguishes between students admitted on the basis of ATAR and international students. What is the preferred method of categorising international students admitted via an ATAR score?

The main focus of the information sets is admission requirements and data for domestic undergraduate students. The ATAR profile table and all except one line of the student profile table should only include data on domestic students.

The only data on international students, regardless of selection method, should be in the “international students” line of the student profile tables. International students admitted on the basis of an ATAR should not be included in the ‘recent secondary education’ data.

Q. When we say offshore students, does it mean international students studying in Australia or Domestic students studying in other countries under specific arrangement?

‘Offshore students’ refers to students studying in other countries. The current implementation relates to domestic undergraduate students studying in Australia.

Q. Is it recommended we publish ATAR thresholds after each TAC offer round?

Data should be provided for the most relevant recent intake period. Based on stakeholder feedback during consultation it seems likely that, to inform applicants for the following semester one intake, most providers would use data covering the most recent entire semester one intake period – including all offer rounds that were part of that intake period. The data would likely be needed at the latest by mid-year to support publication timelines so full-year data would be unlikely to be available for the current year; and using full year data from the previous year might be considered out of date.

To support mid-year intake rounds, some providers may be in a position by then to have data for the previous full calendar year available. Updating the data used in information sets would be a choice for the institution.

Q. Where we only have students, who are not included in the datasets (e.g. only postgrad) is there a specific way we should note or clarify this to our applicants?

At this stage, the admissions transparency information plan only applies to courses available for domestic undergraduate applicants. If you do not offer courses for domestic undergraduate students, you do not have to provide information in the ‘information set’ format.

Q. Can you clarify requirements if all our students are UG and internationals?

If you have courses that have both domestic and international undergraduate students, the international students should be included in the data for ‘international students’ in the student profile.

Q. Do we need to publish data sets for 1-year Honours programs (i.e. a 1-year add on after completion of a UG degree)

If the honours program is offered as a postgraduate course, the ‘information set’ approach to publishing admission requirements and student data is not required. An institution may use the ‘information set’ approach to publish postgraduate course information if they wish.

Q. What about a Graduate Diploma which is equivalent to an Honours year course?

A Graduate Diploma is a postgraduate course; therefore the ‘information set’ approach to publishing admission requirements and student data is not required. An institution may use the ‘information set’ approach to publish postgraduate course information if they wish.

Q. Where an applicant was accepted on the basis of secondary studies at school two years previously and then deferred a year would they still be including in the 'recent secondary school' applicant group?

In accordance with the HEIMS data definitions, commencements data in the student profile covers students admitted in the most recent intake period who have passed the course census date. Offer data in the ATAR profile covers all offers made in the most recent relevant intake period.

As a general principle, the offer made to the recent secondary student would be included in the ATAR profile data soon after the offer is made. The commencement would appear in the student profile after the deferment has concluded, and once the student has commenced and passed the census date.

Q. Do we need to publish information sets for pathway students leading to undergraduate studies?

The information sets are not required for enabling, bridging or other non-award courses; only undergraduate programs open to domestic students.

Q. Is it still okay to include international students in the data profile now?

Data on international undergraduate students should be included in the student profile in both the whole-of-institution and program/course admission information sets. Admission requirements for international students are not required in the information sets as the initial focus is on domestic undergraduate students studying in Australia.