Initially, research regarding student admission to fields of study at tertiary training institutions focused primarily on a search for mechanisms to decrease the number of at-risk students significantly – an extremely
complex matter. Recent changes in South African society compel tertiary institutions to reflect on their own character and aims in an innovative way. At the moment the focus is mainly on possible ways of giving the traditionally disadvantaged
part of South African society a fairer chance of gaining access to, and achieving success at tertiary institutions. The pressure on tertiary institutions to ensure that the demography of the student population becomes more representative of the
population in general is increasing dramatically. Since the ratio black : white students who are admitted to these courses is still totally unsatisfactorily (to the disadvantage of black students) and not at all in line with the aims of the
government, student selection in fields of study such as Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering and Psychology will probably remain in the firing line in the foreseeable future. In this article, the researchers investigate the achievement of
senate-discretionary students at the Education Faculty of the University of Pretoria and arrive at the conclusion that neither a minimum M score of 11, nor an admission test score accurately predicts success at a tertiary institution.
Outcomes-based Education and changing ways of assessing and ‘scoring’ in Grade 12 create an even more complex situation. In order to facilitate the escalating challenge of fair selection and admission to tertiary institutions, a national two-year
strategy is advocated.