Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families Written Evidence

Higher education admissions tests—Annex 3

National Curriculum

Writing Section
Short Essay (1)
  organise and express ideas clearly
En3 1d-o
  develop and support the main idea
En3 1d-o
  use appropriate word choice and sentence structure
En3 1b, c, e, f
Multiple Choice (49)
  improve sentences and paragraphs
En3 2a, b, c; 7a-e
  identify errors
En3 2a, b, c; 7a-e
Critical Reading Section (67)
Verbal and Plausible Reasoning (30)
Sentence Completion
  knowledge of meaning of words
En1 5; 6e; En2 1a
  understanding of how parts of sentences fit together
En3 7a-e
Passage Based Reading
  vocabulary in context
En2 1a, g, 3a, b
  literal comprehension
En2 1a, h, 3a, b
  extended reasoning
En2 1a-d, g, h, i
socio-cultural understanding
Critical Reasoning (30)
decision making
argument analysis
Mathematics Section (54)
Quantitative and Formal Reasoning (30)
Number and Operation
  arithmetic word problems
Ma2 4a
problem solving
  properties of integers
Ma2 2a-f
  rational numbers
Ma2 2 c-d
  logical reasoning
Ma2 1a-b
problem solving
  counting techniques
KS2 Ma2 2a
  sequences and series
Ma2 1j, 6a
  elementary number theory
Ma2 2a
Algebra and Functions
  substitution and simplifying algebraic expressions
Ma2 5
  properties of exponents
Ma2 6f
  algebraic word problems
Ma2 5 h
problem solving
  solution of equations and inequalities
Ma2 5e, f, i-m
  quadratic equations
Ma2 5k
  rational and radical equations
Ma2 5b, f, k
  equations of lines
Ma2 6b-h
  absolute value
  direct and inverse variation
Ma2 5h
  concepts of algebraic functions
Ma2 5
  newly defined symbols based on commonly used ops.
Ma2 5a
Geometry and Measurement
  area and perimeter of a polygon
Ma3 2i (KS2 Ma3 2e)
  area and circumference of a circle
Ma2 5g, Ma3 2h
  volume of a box, cube and cylinder
Ma3 2i
  Pythagorean theorem and special properties of triangles
Ma3 2b, f
  properties of parallel and perpendicular lines
Ma2 6c; Ma3 2a
  coordinate geometry
Ma3 3e
  geometric visualisation
Ma3 2i
Ma2 6c
Ma3 2g
Ma3 2g, 3b-d
Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability
  data interpretation
Ma4 1a 5
dealing with information
  statistics (mean, median and mode)
KS3 Ma4 4b, e, f
Ma4 4b, c, d, g, h

NB Key Stage 4 National Curriculum English and Mathematics (higher) references are used, unless indicated.
—  The SAT and uniTEST were developed independently and, whilst there are some areas of similarity, there are many areas of difference. One of the clearest differences between the SAT and uniTEST is that much of the SAT assesses knowledge of formal elements of Mathematics and English—something that is intentionally avoided in uniTEST. The focus of uniTEST is primarily on the assessment of the reasoning skills that underpin higher education studies. This reflects the different contexts for which the two tests were designed: the SAT is used in the absence of a National Qualifications Framework; uniTEST would be used in addition to the National Qualifications Framework.
—  The vast majority of the material covered by the SAT is included in the English and Mathematics programmes of study of the National Curriculum. The level of difficulty is roughly equivalent to Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework (eg higher tier GCSE). It might be expected that performance on the SAT could be affected by a candidate's educational background, and by extensive preparation. Since uniTEST relies less on candidates' knowledge it is expected that, beyond a limited amount of familiarisation with the test, performance will be less susceptible to "coaching".
—  Where there is overlap in the types of skills assessed by uniTEST and the SAT, the questions in uniTEST tend to be of a higher order of difficulty and complexity.

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Prepared 13 May 2008