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Enhancing equal opportunities in higher education: A new merit-based admission model

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Author(s): Boaz Shulruf | John Hattie | Rolf Turneraq | Sarah Tumen | Meisong Li

Journal: Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences
ISSN 1305-9076

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Merit-based admission model | Higher education | Students’ ethnicity | University entrance

ABSTRACT
This study investigates predictive correlations between the New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement(NCEA) system (the new standard based assessment for secondary schools) with university first year Grade Point Averagesachieved by students in one large New Zealand University. It evaluates alternative models for determining criteria for UniversityEntrance using various attributes of the qualification and ascertains the implications of the best models for different groups ofstudents. The most appropriate alternative model gives greater emphasis to ‘Excellence’ and ‘Merit’ in NCEA results and lessweight to credit accumulation and minimum pass rates. A combination of this alternative model and the current modelprovides a merit-based admissions system which could potentially increase the number of under-represented students (Maoriand Pacific ethnicities and students from schools in lower socio-economic communities) at university, with no associateddecline in the success rate during the first year of university study. The second part of this study considers an application ofthese quality models on three consecutive cohorts. The findings from this provide further support for the robustness of the newmodel. Implications for policy makers are discussed.
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