Oxford University Implements Changes Following Technical Issues with Online Admissions Tests

Oxford University has announced that it will not use the results from its recent online admissions tests to award places on next year’s English courses. This decision comes after students and schools across the UK experienced numerous crashes, freezes, and other frustrations while using the new system. Issues with the online tests included incorrect questions, repeated crashing, and failure to record answers. Concerns were raised that these technical difficulties would negatively impact students’ chances of admission as undergraduates.

In response to the problems faced by students, Oxford University assured that this year’s English literature admissions test (Elat) scores will not be used in any formal shortlisting calculation. No candidate will be deselected based on their Elat score. Bill Watkin, the chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association, expressed concern that the technical problems may have affected the performance of some candidates while others remained unaffected, potentially leading to some students missing out on their university dreams.

Oxford University acknowledges the difficulties and disappointment faced by UK students due to the technical problems with the online admissions tests run by a new provider. The university plans to use a range of information, including candidates’ individual circumstances, to assess their potential and ensure that no one is disadvantaged by these events. Oxford University will also hold further talks with the provider to understand why the problems occurred and to seek assurances that similar issues will not recur in the future.

It is important to note that online testing is becoming a more popular option in education, with the AQA exam board planning to introduce online assessments for several GCSE subjects starting in 2026. However, the recent experiences at Oxford University serve as a reminder that there is still progress to be made in refining and improving online testing systems.

FAQ:

Q: Will Oxford University use the results from the botched online admissions tests for next year’s English courses?
A: No, Oxford University has stated that the results from the online admissions tests will not be used to award places on next year’s English courses.

Q: Were students and schools across the UK affected by technical issues with the online tests?
A: Yes, students and schools reported multiple crashes, freezes, and other frustrations when using the new online admissions test system.

Q: Will students be disadvantaged by the technical problems?
A: Oxford University has assured that it will use a range of information, including candidates’ individual circumstances, to assess their potential and ensure that no one is disadvantaged by the technical problems experienced with the online admissions tests.

Q: How does the recent experience at Oxford University impact the future of online testing?
A: The technical issues at Oxford University serve as a reminder that there is still progress to be made in refining and improving online testing systems, especially as online assessments are being considered for broader implementation, such as in GCSE subjects.