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Cambridge Admissions Office

 

Much of our admissions and related research is undertaken or supported by a research unit within the Cambridge Admissions Office, which was expanded significantly in 2016/17.

The research and evaluation remit of this unit can be summarised under two broad and inter-related themes:

  1. Efforts to continually assess and improve the fairness of our admissions, including informing our use of contextual data in the admissions process and our admissions targets (and also the targeting of some of our outreach activities). More specifically:
  • Profiling the national pool of potential applicants with high prior academic attainment by characteristic and background using data from UCAS, HESA and the DfE (insofar as their data policies allow);
  • Making comparisons between Cambridge and the wider HE sector;
  • Assessing the predictive quality and impact of contextual data, and other characteristics and circumstances, for example on admission and then in terms of student success (such as degree outcomes) once admitted;
  • Assessing the predictive quality and evaluating the impact of our recently introduced admissions assessments in our admissions process;
  • Researching the proxies that Cambridge and the wider HE sector utilise to identify individuals who have characteristics, circumstances or backgrounds that are typically associated with disadvantage or under-representation in highly selective HE
  1. Conducting and developing the evaluation of widening participation and outreach activities, including:
  • Developing a comprehensive evaluation framework for these activities, complemented by evaluation plans for individual activities (for more information, see our 2019-20 Access and Participation Plan, https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/files/publications/university_of_cambridge_app_2019_20.pdf, from page 32);
  • Coordinating and supporting the monitoring and evaluation of widening participation and outreach activities across the collegiate University, in part through an institutional rollout of the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT);
  • Tracking the HE progression outcomes of participants in our widening participation and outreach activities, as part of our evaluation of these activities (where progression to Cambridge or to HE more generally is an intended outcome or interim evaluation measure).

For further information on our Admissions Research, please email: caoresearch@admin.cam.ac.uk.


Latest research

Office for Fair Access (OFFA) Access Agreement 2017-18: Re-evaluation of POLAR3 Q1 and Q2 admissions target

Research Date: 01/10/2016

Researcher: Dr Alexa Horner, Research Officer, Cambridge Admissions Office

This paper details our 2015-16 re-evaluation of the University of Cambridge’s POLAR3 admissions target, which informed the collegiate University’s decision to retain an ultimate target of 13% in our 2017-18 Access Agreement.

Office for Fair Access (OFFA) Access Agreement 2017-18: Admissions target based on Output Area Classification 2011

Research Date: 01/10/2016

Researcher: Dr Alexa Horner, Research Officer, Cambridge Admissions Office

This paper details the 2015-16 research which informed the collegiate University’s decision to introduce a new OAC-related admissions target into the University’s 2017-18 Access Agreement with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), and which determined an appropriate target.

Office for Fair Access (OFFA) Access Agreement 2017-18: Use of Output Area Classification 2011 (OAC2011)

Research Date: 01/10/2016

Researcher: Dr Alexa Horner, Research Officer, Cambridge Admissions Office & Dr Catherine Sumnall, former Research Officer, Cambridge Admissions Office

This paper details our 2014 assessment of OAC2011’s ability to identify those applicants to the University of Cambridge whose circumstances we know to be associated with relative disadvantage, and the evidence-based selection of the specific OAC2011 subgroups that should receive the OAC “flag” in our admissions process.

Destinations of first degree graduates from the University of Cambridge using data from 2011/12 and 2012/13 DLHE returns: A comparison of bursary recipients and non-bursary recipients

Research Date: 01/07/2015

Researcher: The University of Cambridge Careers Service

This paper briefly compares the employment and salary outcomes of recent Cambridge graduates that received a bursary with those that did not.

ANOVA on A*s at A-level and Tripos performance

Research Date: 01/07/2015

Researcher: Dr Catherine Sumnall, Research Officer, Cambridge Admissions Office

This paper provides an assessment of the relationship between the attainment of A* grades in GCE A-levels and Tripos performance. It builds on previous work, which demonstrated a clear positive relationship between the total number of A* grades attained at A-level, and performance in first year Tripos examinations.

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Undergraduate Study:
+44 (0)1223 333308
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+44 (0)1223 760606
pg.admissions@admin.cam.ac.uk