Students invited to participate in nationwide trial of new university admissions test

20 March 2006

This week, students from thousands of schools and colleges across the country will be invited to participate in a full-scale study of uniTEST, a new generic admissions test designed to help universities in their selection processes.

The test has been developed by Cambridge Assessment in collaboration with leading educational research provider the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The test will be delivered in May 2006 and, with seven leading UK universities participating in the study, Cambridge Assessment and ACER are looking forward to exploring the potential of uniTEST.

Paul Lewis, Director of New Developments at Cambridge Assessment, commented: "This is an exciting time for uniTEST - the study will build on what we have already learnt from the extensive and rigorous test development validation that we carried out in a smaller-scale pilot in September 2005. The results of the May test will be released to students in October 2006 via a secure website. Then in 2007, once students have completed their first year examinations, we plan to carry out a comparison study to explore the predictive validity of the assessment."

The test has been designed to assess the kinds of generic reasoning and thinking skills that underpin studies in Higher Education and that are needed for students to be successful at this level. Students from a wide range of disciplines have been nominated by universities to take part in the year long validity trial. Whether they plan to study Maths, English, Zoology or Nursing, everyone will take the same test.

uniTEST will provide extra information for hard-pressed admissions tutors to base their very important decisions on. It will help tutors seek out potential which is not being uncovered through the current system - such as those students who have been, for whatever reason, unable to demonstrate their abilities at A-level or Highers. The test could also help students decide what type of degree to study, for example, if they excel in verbal and plausible reasoning they could be better suited to a degree in arts, humanities or social sciences.

The universities who have agreed to take part in the trial are: University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Durham, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Hertfordshire and University of Warwick.