Change cuts NZ intake

April 22, 2005

Early indications are that numbers of first-year enrolments have declined at New Zealand universities because many applicants have not met new entrance requirements.

According to figures from the examining authority, one in 11 pupils who would have been accepted under 2004 requirements missed out this year.

A spokesman for the authority said: "This is to be welcomed, as for some time the universities have been expressing concern that some students are attending university who should not be there."

But Luanna Meyer, convener of the Universities' Admissions Subcommittee, said no pupil should be disadvantaged during the transition phase to the new system, "where there is evidence that they could succeed in study despite being one to two credits short".

Last year marked the full implementation of the standards-based assessment system for senior school pupils, the National Certificate of Educational Achievement.

University entrance policy was also overhauled, and for the first time minimum standards of literacy and numeracy were required.

Professor Meyer said the literacy requirement was a contributing factor in the drop in the number of successful entrants. Another was that many pupils, rather than having a cohesive combination of subjects, appeared to have tried to cobble together two "failed" subjects to gather the required number of credits.

Overall, Professor Meyer said, too many pupils appeared to have failed to take good advice from schools or had perhaps been given inaccurate advice regarding how to qualify for entrance.

A review of the entrance standard will begin shortly, but because it will track the relationship between university admission and first-year success significant changes are unlikely before 2007.

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