Wednesday, 31 Oct 2007

MEDIA RELEASE For immediate release Wednesday 31 October 2007 Aptitude test trial to proceed The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has been contracted to conduct stage one of the Federal Government’s pilot Student Aptitude Test for Tertiary Admission (SATTA). ACER will use uniTEST, which was developed in conjunction with Cambridge Assessment, during the trial. The Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) will subsidise universities’ participation in the trial by providing funding for universities to test up to 20,000 students, as well as providing up to $10,000 to each participating Australian university to promote the scheme. The pilot of uniTEST will provide universities with additional information on prospective students and provide alternative pathways to university for some students who may otherwise have not gained a university place. uniTEST assesses candidates’ generic reasoning and thinking skills, which are considered necessary for successful university study. The candidates’ results may then be considered alongside their academic achievement scores to help determine their suitability for university study. ACER’s chief executive Professor Geoff Masters says the test is not designed to replace the current university admission system, but to complement it. A high uniTEST result is not a guarantee of a university offer but a supplementary opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability. “Selecting worthwhile candidates for highly sought after university places is a difficult and time consuming process. Choosing candidates based solely on academic results can be restrictive,” Professor Masters said. “uniTEST will allow universities to select candidates based on their general ability as well as their academic achievement. This will assist to identify any potential candidates that may have been overlooked using the current system, such as those with an ENTER score just below the course requirement.” Originally developed to assist in the selection of students into UK universities, a number of Australian universities have already implemented the test, with more expected to follow. The Australian National University and Monash University have used the test, with Macquarie University holding a test session on 8 December to support their 2008 student intake. Enquiries have been received from a number of other institutions which are looking to apply the program. For information about participating in a pilot program or attending uniTEST information sessions please contact Ms Tanya Williams, Project Director, ACER on (03) 9277 5736 or williams@acer.edu.au For further information about stage two of this pilot programme, please contact Ms Jo Groube, Director, School and Student Reporting Section, DEST, on (02) 6240 7811 or joanne.groube@dest.gov.au. ****************ENDS*************