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Greater insight for tertiary admissions decisions
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Greater insight for tertiary admissions decisions

ACER news 4 minute read

Using the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) to assist with candidate selection has just become easier, following the addition of proficiency band descriptors.

Developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), STAT has been helping institutions gain an understanding of applicants’ aptitude for tertiary study for over 20 years. ACER has recently introduced four band descriptors to each of the STAT Multiple Choice test scales for quantitative and verbal reasoning.

STAT band descriptors

The new STAT band descriptors identify the range of reasoning, critical thinking and analysis skills regularly demonstrated by candidates performing at each level of proficiency. Candidates whose scores are located at the bottom of a proficiency band can be considered as having some proficiency in the skills encompassed by that band. Those at the top of the band can be considered to have mastery of those skills.

The band descriptors provide clarity around the skill sets of candidates in a particular STAT scale score range, enabling academic and selection staff to set course cut-off scores with confidence.

Why use STAT?

STAT complements traditional university selection processes based on prior academic achievement. Indeed, Australian Government-commissioned research has found that aptitude test results are a better predictor of success at university than Year 12 results, but using the two measures in combination provides an even more powerful means of predicting performance.

While Year 12 examinations measure specific knowledge, STAT measures innate and acquired skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, non-verbal reasoning and scientific reasoning.

STAT’s verbal reasoning questions assess candidates’ interpretation and understanding of ideas in language. The quantitative reasoning questions test candidates’ ability to interpret and apply information presented in scientific and mathematical contexts. Scores for individual parts of the test can be weighted to suit the needs of individual courses and faculties.

STAT is rigorously designed by ACER’s experienced higher education assessment and content experts. Each test question is carefully developed, scrutinised, trialled and analysed before being included in the test, which is delivered online over a secure internet connection under live (webcam) supervision.

All scoring is undertaken at ACER and analysed by experienced psychometricians. Together this ensures that STAT is relevant, valid and reliable.

Contact the STAT team for further information on how aptitude testing can support institutions to make informed selection decisions. ■

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