‘Name-blind’ admissions project launched

Liverpool will be one of four UK universities to introduce ‘name-blind’ processes for some courses next year.

The process, which has been designed to test whether masking students’ names can aid fair admissions, is being co-ordinated by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) with help from Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA).

The UCAS’ evidence gathering exercise published today (Thursday, 8 September) states that universities have a high level of awareness of the risks of potential bias in admissions decision-making and are employing a wide range of strategies to combat these.

The report recommends evaluating the effectiveness of a name-blind approach alongside better training about unconscious bias and the sharing of good practice.

‘Fully committed’

Gaynor Glover, University of Liverpool’s Head of Admissions, said: “The University is fully committed to increasing participation in higher education from disadvantaged and under-represented groups.

“We are delighted to be taking part in a project that could have a significant positive impact on the sector.”

The project will not result in extra work for potential students when they are completing their applications.

‘Fair for all’

Helen Thorne, UCAS’ Director of External Relations said: “Managing university admissions is a complex business. Universities use different technology systems and many use a number of different admissions processes for individual subjects.

“Admissions professionals are concerned that if UCAS were to mask names centrally this could affect their ability to maintain relationships with students and undermine efforts to widen participation.

“The projects being undertaken in 2017 will enable universities to evaluate the effectiveness of a name blind approach and how it could complement existing approaches used to ensure that admissions are fair for all.”

The other universities involved in the project are Exeter, Huddersfield and Winchester.

Leave a comment