Unified admission systems for universities: fundamental principles, exemplars from Eastern Europe, and potential lessons for the UK

Speakers: George Bethell and Dr Algirdas Zabulionis (Anglia Assessment)
Date: 13 Feb 2013 Venue: Hughes Hall Mortimer Road Cambridge CB1 2EW
Type: Seminar Fee: Free to attend

Since 1990, many former socialist states in Europe have developed new exams at the school/university interface. Recently, some have gone further and introduced 'unified admission systems' to allocate university places according to clearly defined procedures in which applicants' wishes are given due recognition. Such systems are transparent and allow the 'correctness' of outcomes to be demonstrated - both important where the perception of corruption is great.

Speaking at a Cambridge Assessment Network seminar, guest speakers George Bethell and Dr Algirdas Zabulionis from Anglia Assessment described the key features of these systems and explored the principles underpinning the algorithms used to allocate places. 

The characteristics of such unified systems are in stark contrast to those of the decentralised and somewhat idiosyncratic procedures which applicants to universities in the UK currently have to endure. At a time when admission procedures, and the exams that underpin them, are in a state of flux, policymakers should consider whether revolution, rather than more evolution, is needed. The presenters argued that current admission procedures in the UK serve neither the best interests of applicants nor those of universities, and that some useful lessons may be learnt from countries where radically different approaches have been adopted.

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Mortimer Road Cambridge CB1 2EW