There has been a sustained drive by government and higher education institutions to improve the fairness of admissions procedures. Many leading universities have introduced new policies, which use measures of social and educational disadvantage as relevant factors in the admissions process. Concepts such as disadvantage, achievement, aptitude, potential, under-representation and social class have variously been used to justify such approaches. These practices raise three inter-related questions for the conference:
1) Normative questions: who should be admitted to leading higher education institutions?
2) Empirical questions: who is admitted?
3) Policy questions: how can fair admissions be pursued in practice?
All too often, these three questions are answered by distinct groups – namely philosophers, empirical researchers and policy makers/practitioners respectively. This conference bridges these divides and brings all three perspectives together. The conference will be attended by empirical researchers, policy-makers and theorists, including those with a comparative or international perspective.