Testing the effectiveness of student selection



Design Education Research


  • student selection


In South Africa places in higher education programmes are valuable yet perilous for both the students enrolling for studies and for the institutions enrolling the students. For both, any studies which are unsuccessful or not completed are an increasingly costly misuse of time, money, resources and reputation.

On the part of the institutions, one of the actions intended to minimize this risk is rigorous student selection.

This paper analyzes the effectiveness of the selection methods used by the Industrial Design Department at University of Johannesburg. By comparing the selection assessments of individual applicants with their subsequent performance in the programme, the effectiveness of each of the selection criteria at indicating a likelihood of good (or weak) performance is determined. Some surprising and challenging results emerge.

Many of the selection assessment criteria evaluated in this investigation are common to other design disciplines. Applicants are required to submit matriculation subject results; prepare art/design portfolios; present themselves for interview at the institutions…. For design educators who are eager to review their own practice of selection in order to achieve optimal levels of success and throughput, this paper should provide some valuable and useful insights. For those who wish to conduct their own investigation of effectiveness, the method that is described in this paper can also be re-used fairly easily.

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