New entry test for UK independent schools

06 May, 2014

A new entry test for international students planning to study in an independent school in the UK has been developed by Gabbitas Education and GL Assessment.

The website of the UKiset test

The test, called UKiset, is due to be officially launched in September after a six-month pilot phase and has been developed in order to streamline the current expensive and time-consuming system where students sit multiple tests and attend interviews for each individual school application.

Jennifer Britton, International Business Development and UKiset Manager, explained that the test has been designed to improve the admissions procedure for all stakeholders. "It is an extremely competitive market and our schools want to know they are selecting the most suitable candidates when offering a child a place."

UKiset provides evidence to parents and agents that can be used to help them make realistic school choices when applying. No registration fees are paid to a school unless the school wishes to pursue an application after seeing their UKiset results.

The UKiset package consists of a detailed student profile form, an online reasoning test, Cambridge English's placement test and a hand-written free writing piece. The results are published in reports, and are distributed to parents and schools.

The highly selective schools will maintain their own entrance tests but only suitable candidates filtered through by UKiset will take them. Non-selective schools will still require students entering Year 12 to take subject specific tests but will use UKiset as a stand-alone entrance test for Years 7-to-10.

Britton added, "UKiset in no way replaces the personal interaction our schools pride themselves on when meeting new families. It simply assists them with spending that time with the right ones. UKiset is fast and effective and all schools involved agree it is a welcomed addition to the current system."

The test currently costs UK£150 (US$254) and will rise to UK£200 (US$339) from September when many schools will start to use it. This includes the invigilation of the test, a parent report and the distribution of the school report to up to three schools. Further schools can be selected at an additional charge of UK£50 (US$84) per school.

Currently, over 200 of the top schools across the country have expressed interest in the new test and many have already adopted it as a stand-alone entrance test or as a filter to screen applications.

Catriona Redding, Head of International Admissions at Oundle School in Peterborough, said that they would be using the test as a method of screening pupils wanting to sit the school’s own entrance exam. “The UKiset test provides us with tangible information as to the potential of a student and their underlying ability rather than their current academic position. We would still use a battery of other assessments to ensure that a student is a right fit for the school and able to keep up academically. Previously, we assessed pupils informally by conversations with families and agents. UKiset will provide a level playing field for international students wanting to study at the school.”

The test can be taken in centres throughout the world in British Council Offices and Cambridge English test centres.

As a promotion for the full launch, UKiset is offering two bursaries for international students that register to take the UKiset test: a two-year bursary for Caldicott Preparatory School for entry into Year 7; and a two-week all-inclusive summer course bursary in the UK, including assistance for university applications.

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