Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether Taiwan’s “Stars Policy” for university admission can fulfill its major aim to promote educational equity. Implemented by the government, the policy relies on student within-school ranks to admit high achievers to top universities or departments, mainly in medicine.
Design/methodology/approach Open data were collected from the government, universities, high schools, and news reports. High schools were identified as having benefited from the Stars Policy if more students were accepted into medical departments in the first year of the policy than one year before its implementation. χ2 tests and logistic regression were used to examine how the benefit status interacted with school types and regions.
Findings The results indicated that the Stars Policy benefited 25 high schools, namely, 9 community public schools (not top achieving in a region) and 16 struggling private schools (especially vocational). Contrary to expectations, private schools were three times as likely and private school students seven times as likely to have benefited from the Stars Policy. Schools located in disadvantaged regions did not benefit.
Originality/value The Stars Policy is unique given its centralized and school-based system. The design, however, increases educational equity in a manner that fails to benefit disadvantaged students seeking admission to the top-achieving medical departments in Taiwan.
Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol.10, No.2, pp.140-154