You are here
How is contextualised admissions used?
Contextualised admissions, both information and data, can be used at different stages of the application and admission process as part of holistic assessment:
There are many ways in which contextual data is used, including:
- for widening participation - to target aspiration raising and fair access activities
- to establish who to interview
- to inform a decision on an application
- to identify applicants who may need additional support or advice during the application process, transition or when registered as a student
- to help assess applicants eligible for financial support
- for statistical and qualitative monitoring and reporting purposes
Triangulation or intersection of contextual data
SPA suggests that ‘triangulating’ or ‘intersecting’ the data helps here. The aim of using contextual information and data in admissions is to form a more complete picture of the characteristics of an individual applicant. Our ‘gold standard’ will therefore be data that relates directly to the individual. However, the data that is actually available in admissions is often less granular, relating to household, school or area/neighbourhood. Using this less granular data runs a risk, however - we cannot be certain that the characteristics of the neighbourhood (for example) accurately reflect the disadvantage experienced by the individual. The aim of triangulation (or intersectionality) is to mitigate this risk by combining data from several sources to reduce the likelihood of false positives.
Principles for the use of contextual data in admissions
Principles for the use of contextual data and information in admissions were produced in consultation with HE providers, schools and colleges and approved by the SPA Steering Group. They provide a good practice reference point for HE providers considering or using contextualised admissions, including for decision making. Contextualised admissions must be evidence based, justifiable, valid and reliable to ensure it adds value to the admissions process.