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HE panel to crack down on university admission standards

 
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:28 pm    Post subject: HE panel to crack down on university admission standards Reply with quote

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham will direct the nation's top education panel to focus on university admissions after a Fairfax Media investigation revealed that the practice of admitting students with lower than the minimum ATAR into university courses was endemic.

The move, due to be announced on Wednesday, will see the Higher Education Standards Panel examine options for improving the transparency of student admissions policies. The panel will have up to a year to work on a new university standards framework, which will take effect from January 2017.

"I want the panel to explore how to ensure incoming students are 'uni-ready'," Senator Birmingham said. "That means having a clear understanding of what they need to do to get into their course of choice and realising what will be expected of them through their further study."



http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/atar-crackdown-higher-education-panel-to-crack-down-on-university-admission-standards-20160208-gmp1s2.html#ixzz3zqXGxdx6
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Tarrasque



Joined: 09 Aug 2010
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That did seem to make little sense - a number of the big name unis (particularly, UNSW and USYD) potentially jeopardising the apparent "prestige" (if you will) that some associated with those particular institutions.

In my case, the Sydney-based uni I'm doing my Master of Applied Linguistics and TESOL at now wasn't named on the list in the article (although, with a sample of only 4 unis, it wasn't really a big chance to be). I had read elsewhere (but can't find the article) that the University of Newcastle was also guilty of the same thing, but not on the same scale as the ones listed in the article. The whole MyMaster scandal that was unearthed last year though...
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tarrasque wrote:
The whole MyMaster scandal that was unearthed last year though...


I hadn't heard about this MyMaster scandal. More info here:

Two university students have been expelled and a further 70 are facing severe penalties, including expulsion, from five of NSW's most prestigious universities after being identified in connection with a widespread cheating scandal centred around an online essay writing company.

The students were identified using data provided by Fairfax Media, following an investigation last year that revealed up to 1000 students from 16 universities had hired the Sydney-based MyMaster company to ghost-write their assignments and sit online tests.


http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mymaster-essay-cheating-scandal-more-than-70-university-students-face-suspension-20150312-1425oe.html

Many of the international students entering degree programs don't have the English-language skills to navigate a degree. This is well-known and has been going on for a long time. The universities are complicit in this because education today is not about academic ability but the ability to pay. If you have the money, you can graduate. Definitely a worrying trend. No wonder employers are having difficulty recruiting staff with the skills necessary to do the job.
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Tarrasque



Joined: 09 Aug 2010
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ That's the one.

I think the more updated end of the 2 expelled 70 under investigation, was that some international students who had used the MyMaster service risked having their degree retracted and voided as a result.

From memory (I recall seeing a graphic breakdown of the disciplines most affected by it), Business Accounting Engineering and Law were within the top faculties that had these students caught up in it across all the universities mentioned in the article (USYD, UNSW, MQ, UTS, UoN).

I think we can see that NSW universities in particular are having a rough time in the last 12 months, as the MyMaster scandal was mostly relevant to international students, and the ATAR admission in your original post being more applicable to domestic students, so it does begin to make you question just what is going on with the perceived "quality" of a degree from some of these places, with a handful supposedly having such strong reputations prior to these scandals.
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Tarrasque



Joined: 09 Aug 2010
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for bumping this, but it appears there's been a bit of an update on the matter: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/universities-agree-to-publish-real-atars-20160531-gp7vim.html

A few key snippets from the article:

For the first time, the Go8, which represents Australia's oldest universities including the University of Sydney and Melbourne University, has also suggested compelling universities to publish progression, pass and drop-out rates for courses on a nationally regulated website.

‚ÄčAt present universities only advertise one ATAR cut-off and are not compelled to publish progression statistics, limiting their public accountability.


So that could be something new - not just the entry requirements, but how many applicants then drop out or withdraw from each course. Only thing is, it sounds like it's limited to the Go8 unis - not necessarily every other one in the country. I'd presume that, given time, all universities would likely be mandated to do the same.

Last Friday, a new report from the Department of Education revealed that three times as many students were being admitted with ATARs below 50 compared to four years ago. The median rank of the more than 55,000 ATAR eligible students in NSW last year hovered around 70.

So that could be concerning for employers taking on grads from within these years of admission straight from Year 12 - don't get me wrong: I'm not saying they couldn't become capable in the discipline they're studying, but if they've effectively being gifted the place in the course, one has to wonder if it was really deserved.

Additionally, there's a little search tool showing the results they obtained: the only one that really stood out was Macquarie's B Sph Hearing Language Sciences as being closest to our profession (primary/secondary/early childhood do appear under the 6 that data was collected from, so I'll leave that to your discretion as to whether they are relevant), and even though the results seem to show most of WSU's as being on the naughty side (their B Physiotherapy had a 100% rate of admission below the 99.70 ATAR), it does give an overall view that something's not quite right with these processes at present.

In my case, I was a mature aged student (24) when I began my course at UTS that I completed last year, so the ATAR (or UAI when I did my HSC in '06) wasn't applicable for my application.
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