The Staff and Student Experience and Expectations (SSEE) project surveyed over 16,000 students from three universities in South Australia. These were the University of Adelaide (Adelaide), Flinders University of South Australia (Flinders) and the University of South Australia. (UniSA).The research outcomes of this project have been disseminated through workshops to university staff, high school teachers, and more broadly through journal articles, conference papers and via this website.
Below is a Glossary of terms to complement the SSEE Project and its publications. The glossary also indicates how different universities may use terms in a variety ways, although referring to each University’s glossary (linked from the bottom of this page) will provide greater insight into these differences.
The glossary is not exhaustive and was accurate at the time of publication (August 2014), please contact us if you would like clarification of a term.
Follow this link for a PDF version Glossary
ATAR stands for Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank. The ATAR is a number (not a grade) that indicates a student’s position in relation to other students. The ATAR is reported as a number between 0.00 and 99.95, in increments of 0.05. It is used as the basis for entry to most degrees at university. It is used in all states in Australia except Queensland who use what is called “Overall Position”. For more information about ATAR follow this link to the SACE website.
According to its website the “Australian Technology Network brings together five of the most innovative and enterprising universities in the nation”. The UniSA is a member of the ATN.
Basis of Admission
A Basis of Admission is the main criterion on which the applicant is granted their offer to university. This is sometimes referred to as a Pathway. It can take the form of completion of secondary school and calculation of ATAR for school leavers, STAT results for non-school leavers (for example mature age students), completion of Foundation Studies/Courses, membership of Australian Defence Force, and previous Professional, University or VET/TAFE qualifications.
For the purpose of our study commencing students is the label used to describe those students who participated in the surveys administered during or during the week prior or post orientation week during their first year of study. The surveys were administered in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
For the purpose of our study continuing students is the label used to describe those students who participated in the surveys administered after the beginning of second semester. Any student at the university was welcome to participate in the survey, although it was promoted to first year students. The surveys were administered in 2010 and 2011.
Defined simply, cultural capital acts in a similar fashion to monetary exchange, but draws on assets that are not financial such as knowledge, skills and qualifications. We acknowledge that there are many more complex and detailed definitions of this term.
We are defining first in family as those students who are the first member of their immediate family to attend university. This means the student’s siblings, parents or primary care-givers have not participated in any form of university education.
Foundation studies, also known as Pathway or Preparatory programs, provide a method of entry or pathway into undergraduate degree programs. Foundation studies programs are provided by various universities and secondary educational institutions and are designed to help prepare students who have not attended university previously, have been out of study for some time and/or feel they require additional preparation before commencing further study. These programs build on existing skills and knowledge and can often be studied on-campus or at home on a full or part-time. They usually run for a 12 months.
Some students choose to take a year off study when they finish high school and before they go to university. This is known as a gap year. The gap year provides a chance for potential students to work, to save some money, to travel or to gain new experiences by volunteering.
The Grade Point Average (GPA) is an internationally recognised calculation used to find the average result of all grades achieved during university study. If a student is enrolled in more than one program/degree, there will be a program/degree GPA for each, calculated using the final grades for the courses associated with each program/degree.
According to its website the “Group of Eight” is a coalition of leading Australian universities, intensive in research and comprehensive in general and professional education and distinguished by depth and breadth in research. The University of Adelaide is a member of the GO8.
Higher education, also called tertiary education, is a term used to describe university education. Universities are the main institutions that provide higher education. Universities offer students an opportunity to study for qualifications such as undergraduate degrees, honours degrees, postgraduate degrees, masters degrees, graduate diplomas, graduate certificates and doctorates.
IB stands for International Baccalaureate and is a program run by the International Baccalaureate Organisation. There are four different internationally recognised IB programs which challenge students to learn and excel. The programs which range from primary to senior high school are offered through select schools. They provide students with a Basis of Admission to university. For more information follow this link to IB Australia http://www.ibo.org/country/AU/
According to its website the “Innovative Research Universities” is a network of seven comprehensive universities conducting research of national and international standing. Flinders University of South Australia is a member of the IRU.
Mature age entry refers to those students for whom a number of years pass between the end of secondary education and entering university. Our study defined students 21 years of age and older as mature age. This differs slightly from the Australian Government definition which identifies three age categories as follows:
• “school leaver cohort” which includes students who are 19 and under;
• “non-traditional age” which includes students who are aged 20 to 24 years; and,
• “mature age” which includes students who are 25 years and older
For more information see Department of Education, 2014, p 6 at http://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/undergraduate_applications_preliminary_report_2014_2.pdf
Metropolitan is a term used to describe those students who live the area defined as within the Metropolitan Adelaide Boundary by the Ministry for Planning and Development (1993). For further information visit www.atlas.sa.gov.au/resources/metropolitan-adelaide-boundary
The Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT), as part of the Department of Education, promotes and supports change in higher education institutions for the enhancement of learning and teaching.
Orientation activities, for example those held in Orientation Weeks, include library tours, mentoring programs, and introductory lectures as well as a variety of on campus and online activities that are designed to support students as they begin their university studies.
Overall position (OP) is a form of Basis of Admission that is used in Queensland (and is the Qld equivalent of an ATAR). The OP is a number which indicates a student’s state wide rank order. Students are placed in one of 25 OP bands from OP1 (highest) to OP25 (lowest). For more information follow this link to the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority www.quaa.qld.edu.au/630.html
There are many pathways into university education. These are sometimes referred to as the Basis of Admission. They can take the form of completion of secondary school and calculation of ATAR for school leavers, STAT results for non-school leavers (for example mature age students), completion of Foundation Studies/Courses, membership of Australian Defence Force, and previous Professional, university or VET/TAFE qualifications.
Rural and Remote
Rural and Remote is a term used to describe those students who relocated from an area outside the Metropolitan Adelaide Boundary as defined by the Ministry for Planning and Development (1993) or from areas in other states of Australia which also sit outside of their metropolitan boundaries. For further information visit www.atlas.sa.gov.au/resources/metropolitan-adelaide-boundary
In our study Relocation refers to those students who have moved to Adelaide from rural or remote locations, interstate or from overseas in order to study at university (in some cases this may also include a move from an outer metropolitan area).
SACE stands for South Australian Certificate of Education, the secondary qualification most South Australian school-leavers use to qualify for a place at university.
SATAC stands for the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre. SATAC processes and assess applications to South Australian universities, Charles Darwin University and TAFE SA.
School leavers are defined as those students who applied for and entered university directly after finishing school. In our study this refers to students who began university at the age of 19 and under.
Defined simply, social capital refers to the valuing of an individual’s ancestry, schooling and association and/or acquaintance with others. The way in which social capital is valued differs according to an individual’s position in society, and is reflected by the ability to appreciate the importance of being part of, form and maintain a social network. We acknowledge that there are many more complex and detailed definitions of this term.
STAT stands for Special Tertiary Admissions Test. The STAT is a test which provides a form of entry to university when secondary education requirements have not been met.
The Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER), now obsolete and replaced by ATAR, was a student ranking number derived from grades achieved through the SACE. It was used as an indicator of how well a particular student had performed relative to other students in the same cohort, and acted as a Basis for Admission for university.
Tertiary education, also called higher education, is a term used to describe university education. Universities are the main institutions that provide tertiary education. Universities offer students opportunity to study for qualifications such as undergraduate degrees, honours degrees, postgraduate degrees, masters degrees, graduate diplomas, graduate certificates and doctorates.
Undergraduate is a term used interchangeably for a student or program. When referring to a program, undergraduate is an academic program leading to a qualification such as an associate degree, diploma or bachelor degree. When referring to a student, an undergraduate is a student studying one of these programs.