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Tertiary Comparison Guide IELTS Reading Answers

Updated on 24 January, 2023
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Solving several practice passages is the key to acing the reading section of the IELTS exam. Develop your skills and prepare for the examination with the Tertiary Comparison Guide reading answers.

‘Tertiary Comparison Guide’

After purchasing a house and a car, the next major life expenditure is almost certainly the cost of tertiary education. The question is, are prospective university students getting value for money? Paying up to $25,000 for a university education, they need reliable information in order to compare institutions and courses.

There are now two official guides comparing universities, but not courses. As a result, academic controversy has arisen over their adequacy, and because of concerns about comparability and accuracy of data. When comparing universities, one should be aware of what exactly is being measured, and whether the information is useful. Professor Brian Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney, says, "There is as much variation within one university as between universities; no university has all the best activities, and no university is without its strengths".

It makes little sense for prospective students to choose to go to a university simply because it has an excellent reputation. It is wiser to look first at the overall characteristics and reputation of a university, and then at the faculty or discipline desired. To do this one must have access to quality data for each discipline.

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Let us look at three ways we can now rank universities. A government-appointed Quality Review Committee made the first ranking of universities in 1993. It divided the 35 universities in Australia into six quality bands based mainly on research and teaching outcomes. In the top band, only two universities were represented: one from NSW (the University of NSW) and the other from the ACT (the Australian National University).

Sydney and Wollongong universities were both in the second ranking. Wollongong was the only newer university to make such a high grade. Macquarie and the University of Technology, Sydney, were in band four; Charles Sturt, Canberra, New England, and Newcastle were in band five. In band six were the Australian Catholic University and the University of Western Sydney.

This ranking has drawn much criticism, since it was based on what universities spent on research, and not on the quality of teaching. However, it should be stated that this was the first year of a continuing quality review. Next, the Quality Review Committee will assess the teaching record of universities.

The Department of Education Employment and Training (DEET) has published 50 indicators of diversity and performance of Australian universities. This lists comparative data on everything from academic staff ratio and percentage of staff with PhDs, to expenditure on library grants. The document says it does not rank universities, and is designed to assist students to make informed comparisons. But the universities can be ranked by each measure using a key indicator of success - positive graduate outcomes - which combines the percentage of recent graduates in full-time work and/or full-time study.

Here, the University of Technology, Sydney, emerges as the leader in NSW, with 83.2% of its graduates in work and/or study, just behind the ANU with 83.5%. Sydney has 79.8%, Charles Sturt 75.5%, Wollongong 74.1%, Macquarie 73.2%, UNSW 73.1%, Newcastle 72.5%, New England/Southern Cross 72%, and Western Sydney 69.7%.

Professor Gannicort, a Professor of Education at Wollongong University, has developed his own "performance table", ranking Australian universities using some of the DEET data - including the number of government research grants and grants from industry, as well as the number of recent graduates in full-time work or study. This time the University of Queensland tops the league. Sydney is third, UNSW fifth, ANU sixth, Macquarie 10th, Newcastle 15th, and all the other NSW universities well down in the rankings. He says this shows that the key factors which determine better university performance are what has always been supposed: that is, high quality students, numerous well-qualified staff, and nonproliferation of courses.

Interestingly, Ms. Barbara Bell, the National Recruitment Manager for the Institute of Chartered Accountants, claims employers are not so much interested in the university as in the skills and all-round quality of graduates. Those graduates who lack communication skills, for example, are at a big disadvantage. Ms. Bell quotes a recent survey that found a quarter of employers of graduates chose not to rank universities "because they said there was no correlation between the university and performance".

Dr. Michael Dack, Public Affairs Director of the Institution of Engineers, has commented that the prestige of a university does not count. The smaller universities are tailoring courses and products to the marketplace better than the large universities. They are trying harder to produce graduates who are acceptable to industry and employers. Traditional universities are often more academic and less industry-linked. He argues strongly the case for more broadly educated graduates. For example, the trend in engineering was to produce graduates with a broader education, communication and financial skills, and knowledge of the environmental and political context. Engineers with other skills were able to weather times of economic recession much better.

Read more about: Tips For Reading in IELTS Exam | IELTS Academic Reading | IELTS Reading Tips And Tricks | IELTS Reading Band Score IELTS General Reading Test | IELTS Reading Section

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Questions 1-8

Refer to the Reading Passage "Tertiary Comparison Guide", and look at the statements below. Write your answers in boxes 1- 8 on your Answer Sheet.

Write

A - if the statement is Accurate

I - if the statement is Inaccurate

N - if the information is Not Given in the text

Guidelines/Tip for Answering These Types of Questions: Candidates need to read through the passage carefully and then write whether the answer is accurate or inaccurate.

1. Prospective students should consider the reputation of the university before choosing the faculty.

2. The university ranking system by the Quality Review Committee was well-received by students.

3. The Quality Review Committee's basis for determining the ranking was the quality of tuition.

4. The Committee will next review the amount universities spend on research.

5. The DEET study was conducted to assist students to compare information about universities.

6. More than a third of the universities in the DEET study have 75% or more of their recent graduates in work and/or study.

7. According to employers, the ranking of universities does not assist in the determination of performance.

8. In order to compare disciplines or faculties, students need access to quality data.

Question

Answer

Explanation

1

A

The third paragraph of the passage mentions that students must first consider a university's overall characteristics and reputation and then the faculty or desired discipline while choosing a university. So, the statement is accurate.

2

I

The sixth paragraph of the passage mentions that the ranking by the Quality Review Committee drew lots of criticism owing to the fact that the ranking was based on how much money universities spent on research rather than the quality of their teaching. So, the statement is inaccurate.

3

I

The sixth paragraph of the passage mentions that the Quality Review Committee's basis for determining the ranking of universities was based on how much universities spent on research rather than the quality of their teaching or tuition. So, the statement is inaccurate. 

4

I

The sixth paragraph of the passage mentions that the Quality Review Committee will next review or evaluate universities' teaching records. So, the statement is inaccurate. 

5

A

The seventh paragraph of the passage mentions that the Department of Education Employment and Training (DEET) study does not rank universities but was intended to help students make informed comparisons about universities. So, the statement is accurate.

6

A

The eighth paragraph of the passage mentions the data of the DEET student, which shows that 4 universities out of the total 10 universities have 75% or more of their recent graduates in work and/or study. So, the statement is accurate.

7

A

The tenth paragraph of the passage mentions that Ms. Bell quoted a survey in which it was discovered that a quarter of employers of graduates felt there is no relation between the ranking of universities and the performance of students. So, the statement is accurate.

8

A

The third paragraph of the passage mentions that students need access to reliable data from each discipline to compare the disciplines and faculties. So, the statement is accurate. 

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Questions 9 - 13

Complete the sentences below with words or phrases from Reading Passage "Tertiary Comparison Guide". Write your answers in boxes 9 - 13 on your Answer Sheet. Note that each answer requires a MAXIMUM OF THREE WORDS.

Guidelines/Tip for Answering These Types of Questions: Candidates need to carefully read through the passage and then write the correct answer in not more than two words.

9. University courses were not compared, which was one reason why the two official comparison guides caused __________.

10. The government-appointed Quality Review Committee ranked Australia's universities within __________.

11. In order to rank universities, some of the DEET data was used by Professor Gannicort to produce a __________.

12. The ANU scored highest when positive __________ were used as the key indicators of success.

13. Employers are unlikely to employ graduates who ___________.

Question

Answer

Explanation

9

academic controversy

The second paragraph of the passage mentions that the two official guides compare universities but not courses which gave rise to academic controversy over their inadequacy and concerns about data comparability and accuracy.

10

six quality bands

The fourth paragraph of the passage mentions that in 1993, the government-appointed Quality Review Committee published the first ranking of universities. It classified Australia's 35 universities into six quality bands based primarily on research and the outcomes of teaching.

11

performance table

The ninth paragraph of the passage mentions that Professor Gannicort, a Professor of Education at Wollongong University, used some of the data from the DEET study to develop his own "performance table" to rank Australian universities.

12

graduate outcomes

The seventh paragraph of the passage mentions that universities can be ranked based on a key indicator of success, that is, positive graduate outcomes - which combines the proportion of recent graduates working or studying full-time, and ANU scored the highest with 83.5%.

13

lack communication skills

The tenth paragraph of the passage mentions that employers are more interested in the skills and overall quality of graduates rather than university rankings and are unlikely to employ graduates who lack communication skills.

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