Research Developments


Marita MacMahon Ball explains how aptitude testing can provide universities with more sophisticated tools for selecting students for admission to higher education degrees. Historically, entrance to university in Australia over the last 50 years has been determined by: achievement in curriculum-based examinations, the subsequent award of a state certificate and the calculation of a tertiary entrance score. Initially the results of public exams held at the completion of the final year of high school provided the only information used to determine end of school achievement; since the 1980s work completed during the senior years of school was included and variously weighted. Subsequently in some states and territories, the public exams disappeared and a system of aptitude testing was introduced as a means of informing the value of the school-assessed tasks. Aptitude testing also became, for entrance to certain courses, a discrete measure that alongside academic achievement and possible other attributes, helped decision-makers process applications.