admissions test
Image Credit: Audrey Davidson-Houston

Oxford ends TCS contract after admissions test issues

Oxford University has recently announced that it has ended their contract with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) after the wide-spread criticism resulting from their attempt to work with them to digitise many of the admissions tests in 2023.

The University’s website reads that this decision has come “following the technical problems experienced by some candidates” and that the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Martin Williams has written to all test-centres to inform them of the “end of our relationship with Tata Consultancy Services ”.

In the most recent admissions test cycle, many candidates, test-centres, and schools reported serious issues with the new attempt at modernisation resulting in delays, crashes, and incorrect questions being displayed. 

All but two of the admissions tests, the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) required for courses such as PPE and the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) were held online for the first time last year. 

Despite attempts to progress through online admissions testing, it instead caused significant hindrance to the admissions system with Maths students being offered a chance to take an additional test if they desired, and both the English (ELAT) and Geography (GAT) tests being entirely disregarded. 

The University stated in response that “no candidate will be deselected on the basis of their ELAT score”.

The contract with TCS was introduced with the University’s attempt to move away from its previous relationship with Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing from which it withdrew last year. 

However, according to the Admissions page on the Oxford website, the University “now working on alternative options for 2024 and beyond” about which it will communicate “no later than the start of the new admissions cycle in early Spring”.

Image Description: the Sheldonian theatre

Image Credit: Audrey Davidson-Houston for The Oxford Student