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Halesowen College
Image of Halesown College's logoHalesowen is a tertiary College located in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley to the west of Birmingham. The college has over 9,000 enrolments. Most of their work is with full-time students in the 16-19 age group studying a wide range of subjects at all levels.

Image of learner taking a test at Halesowen“We found the Sherwood Ability Screen very robust and easy to use and were very impressed with the ability to get the results so quickly. What’s more, student satisfaction questionnaires indicated that they enjoyed the process!

Academic staff thought the testing process was effective and efficient while technical staff liked the scalability and ease of installation. We rolled out the software in less than half a day for both server and client installations! Our technical staff made great use of the advanced features and imported and exported data with ease. We even designed our own group and individual reports using the templates provided so that we could tailor the data to meet our specific requirements. Sherwood’s technical support also responded quickly to any issues.”

“All students identified by screening as needing support were given a diagnostic assessment to focus in on their needs. In the majority of cases the diagnostic confirmed the need for support. We also looked carefully at whole groups to see what the trends were.”

“Overall we feel the test is good value for money and has saved us hundreds of hours of hand scoring traditional tests.”

Halesowen College


  • 1,700 learners tested during two induction days in the first week of September. Over the course of the academic year approximately 150 additional students have been tested
  • Tested groups of between 200 and 300 simultaneously in up to 11 different locations college-wide during the main testing period
  • Each location had a personal tutor for the group and a member of technical staff. Next year we will have a learning assistant and a technician in each room
  • Central database using Microsoft SQL Server held all test and administration data
  • Course lists and student registration details were imported into the SAS from our MIS system (Microcompass QLS).
  • Students were mainly tested in “Pre-registered Mode” where they entered their college registration number and were then tested. This meant they would appear on any course-wide group reports as the SAS “knew” they were registered on multiple courses. Around 9% were tested in kiosk mode
  • Group testing sessions took between 30 and 50 minutes although we allowed up to one hour
  • On average students took about 25 minutes to complete the test
  • Students age ranged between 16 and 45 with the majority around the 16 year mark.
    Courses ranged from pre-foundation to advanced level
  • Reports were printed off within one or two days. Personal tutors had reports available for the first tutor group meeting the following week
  • We made extensive use of group reporting and exporting group reports so they could be analysed further in Excel
  • As reports are generated in HTML we saved the report files for longer-term storage
  • We made use of the advanced features of the SAS and designed our own custom format report to accompany the default ones provided by Sherwood. This was based on the Sherwood “traffic light” report which flagged students as being red, amber or green depending on their level of predicted support need relative to the comparison group

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