In the spirit of William Georgetti: scrutiny of a prestigious national scholarship selection process

Philip J. Schluter, Lucy Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Postgraduate scholarship programmes are increasingly important for supporting gifted students from diverse backgrounds. Systems and processes in the application, determination and delivery of scholarships must be robust, transparent, accountable and equitable. However, they are rarely evaluated. One of the most prestigious scholarships in New Zealand – the William Georgetti Scholarship – is investigated here for the impact of student’s grade point averages (GPAs) and sex on applicant’s progression, the level of agreement between Scholarship Board member rankings, and whether applicants or members’ sex is material to any outcomes. Data from 2007 to 2015 were extracted, and contained 301 applicants considered for shortlisting, 78 who were shortlisted and 60 successful recipients evaluated by 17 Scholarship Board members (5 female, 12 male). Mean GPAs significantly increased over time amongst applicants, those shortlisted, and those successful. While 60% of applicants were female, only 49% of those shortlisted were female; however, this was explained by GPA differences. Some 52% of successful applicants were female. Ranking discordance amongst members was relatively high, but no differential sex biases were noted. The empirical results suggest that current systems and processes are consistent with the scholarship’s deed, although the difference in GPA scores between female and male applicants is of concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-328
Number of pages13
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


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