Summary

NEW RULES, NEW TOOLS: PREDICTING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

A. S. M. NIESSEN

Since 2017, admission to higher education programs in the Netherlands happens through selective admission for programs with a fixed number of places, and through non-binding ‘matching’ procedures for open admission programs. This research project aimed to answer the question on what methods to use to predict academic performance within such admission procedures. Scales for noncognitive characteristics such as motivation and personality traits yielded moderate predictive validity when administered in low-stakes conditions, but predictive validity was attenuated when they were administered in a high-stakes context, and were not perceived favourably by applicants. Scores on a curriculum-sampling test, a test that mimics the study program in preparation and content, analogous to work samples in personnel selection, showed high predictive validity, favourable applicant perceptions, and little or no predictive bias based on gender. Hence, curriculum-sampling tests seem to be the best fitting method to use in admission procedures to higher education in the Netherlands.

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Sinds kort worden studenten op basis van selectie- en matchingsprocedures toegelaten tot het hoger onderwijs. Sociaal wenselijke antwoorden maken van scores op motivatie en persoonlijkheid echter slechte voorspellers van studie succes. Proefstuderen zou de meest geschikte invulling van toelatings procedures zijn, concludeert Susan Niessen. Proefstuderen had een hoge predictieve validiteit, werd positief gewaardeerd door kandidaten en liet weinig predictieve bias zien op basis van geslacht.

Introductie

Tot voor kort waren bijna alle studieprogramma’s in het hoger onderwijs toegankelijk voor iedereen die de juiste vooropleiding had voltooid en werd de toelating tot programma’s met een numerus fixus bepaald door een gewogen loting, waarbij de cijfers uit het voortgezet onderwijs de kans op toelating bepaalden. Na enkele jaren van experimenteren worden alle kandidaten voor numerus fixus-studies nu geselecteerd via selectie, waarbij de onderwijsinstellingen de toelatingscriteria bepalen. De overige studieprogramma’s organiseren een verplichte matchingsprocedure of ‘studiekeuzecheck’ die resulteert in een niet-bindend studiekeuzeadvies. Het doel van deze maatregelen is ‘de juiste student op de juiste plaats’ krijgen. Dat zou moeten leiden tot betere studiekeuze, minder uitval, snelle studievoortgang en betere studieprestaties. De vraag is welke instrumenten en procedures het beste ingezet kunnen worden om dit doel te bereiken. In Europa is het meest voorkomende toelatingscriterium de prestatie in het voortgezet onderwijs, meestal in kaart gebracht via het gemiddelde middelbare schoolcijfer. Dat schoolcijfer wordt ook vaak genoemd als de…

Dit artikel is geschreven naar aanleiding van Susan Niessen haar proefschrift New Rules, New Tools: Predicting academic achievement in college admissions, onder supervisie van prof. dr. Rob R. Meijer, dr. Jorge N. Tendeiro en mr. dr. Jaap J. Dijkstra.

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