Source: The Mercury, 31 January, 1995, p.2
by Kim Sweetman in Canberra Female students should be given preferential university entrance over males, a report from the Department of Employ- ment, Education and Training recommends. The report said that females' tertiary entrance scores should be boosted by a "bonus" 10 per cent to increase their chances of entry. Females consistently did far better than males at uni- versity and should be given pre- ferential treatment by admission centres. The performance gap did not show up in high school, but of two students who entered uni- versity with the same tertiary entrance score the female was likely to outperform the male, it said. "Some female applicants are being denied access to univer- sity - or to the course of their choice - while others with a lower likelihood of success [males] are being admitted", the report said. "Less capable students, on average, are taking up the places of students with more potential". The report was drafted by Donald Lewis, of the University of Wollong- ong and already has been used as the basis for increasing funds for some groups. "To achieve equality in admissions at the margin, female school leavers should be admitted who have a tert- iary entrance score which is 10 per cent less than that required of males", the report said. Females school leavers achieved results almost ten per cent better than males. "The superiority of females is large in first year and the gap increases in subsequent years of study", the report said. The report said the implications of a policy favouring females were beyond the scope of the study, but the option needed wide discussion and debate. National Union of Students women's officer Michelle McDonald said the union supported affirmative action but the recommendation seemed to go too far. "It could discriminate against individ- uals and statistics can't be relied on in every case", she said.
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