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Australia: TEQSA issues transparency note

Australia’s higher education relator, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, has issued a good practice note to give providers better guidance in adhering to the principles of admissions transparency.

The guidance note comes after work to improve admissions transparency for students. Photo: Jordan Encarnacao/UnsplashThe guidance note comes after work to improve admissions transparency for students. Photo: Jordan Encarnacao/Unsplash

"A potential student might be deterred from applying"

The latest in its series of good practice notes, Making higher education admissions transparent for prospective students supports the work of the Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group.

“Providers were operating on scores which were higher than the ones they had admitted students on”

“The note is part of a whole range of measures that we’ve been taking in relation to admissions transparency,” TEQSA chief executive Anthony McClaran said.

“That was the sector working together to find ways to improve the visibility and transparency requirements to Australian universities.”

Primarily focused on domestic admissions, the note and working group do have implications for international students, particularly those who use Australia’s high school system to enter university.

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, which gives students an overall position relative to other students within their state, was a particular of contention, McClaran said.

“We wanted to make sure that it was clear that providers were being transparent about the actual ATAR scores that they’d admitted students on previously,” he told The PIE News.

“In some cases, providers were apparently operating on scores which were higher than the ones that they had actually admitted students on. Therefore, a potential student might be deterred from applying to a particular university or other higher education institution.”

McClaran added the good practice note also sought to help providers clarify alternative routes into higher education, such as those that had gone through a vocational provider, or had left formal education for some years.

While focussed on domestic students, he added that the broader principles of admissions transparency applied to all students.

“Anecdotally, there was a feeling that there was already a considerable degree of transparency around international students because if you want international students, you’re going to make a very strenuous effort to make sure that they understand,” he said.

In early 2019, TEQSA also released a guidance note on English language pathways.

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