Widening access to Higher Education: an evaluative case study of a foundation year alternative to access

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Abstract

Universities are encouraged to widen access to a broad range of applicants, including mature students taking Access qualifications. Admissions tutors can find it difficult to compare and choose between Access and A-level applications, and Access applicants for popular courses may be disadvantaged relative to students with good A-levels. In this evaluative case study a foundation year designed to avoid Access selection problems and widen participation in psychology, biology, optometry and pharmacy is reviewed. Progression and success rates are compared to national averages for Access courses and issues in Foundation Year management considered. The Foundation Year is rejected as unsatisfactory and it is concluded that widening participation for mature students can be achieved through Access courses. Difficulties in achieving this for high-demand courses in leading universities are discussed.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology Teaching Review
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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Reproduced with permission from Psychology Teaching Review © The British Psychological Society 2008

    Keywords

  • universities, widen access, mature students, access qualifications, admission, a-level, psychology, biology, optometry, pharmacy, foundation year

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