Changes to university admission for poly graduates: What you need to know

Changes to university admission for poly graduates: What you need to know
PHOTO: Lianhe Wanbao

The Ministry of Education is introducing more changes to the university admission scoring system, which will come into effect in 2020.

The changes will see the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University dropping the 20 per cent weightage given to O-level results for polytechnic graduate applicants.

Polytechnic graduates will be assessed primarily based on their polytechnic Grade Point Average, which the ministry said provides a better and more current reflection of the knowledge and skills that they have gained during their polytechnic education.

Here's what you need to know about the changes:

1. Why is MOE changing the computation of the polytechnic UAS?

The profile of polytechnic upgraders has become more diverse with the expansion of multiple pathways in our education system.

Today, close to a quarter of all students enter the polytechnics without O-Level qualifications.

For example, the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) allows students to progress to the polytechnics with their N-Level qualifications.

A number of ITE graduates, including students from the Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP), also have the option of pursuing a diploma without having done O-Levels.

Furthermore, significantly more polytechnic students have articulated into the AUs over the years, and the AUs have developed aptitude-based admissions practices to assess polytechnic students more holistically beyond academic grades.

For example, AUs today assess the relevance of the applicants' polytechnic diplomas, and the specific courses/modules that they have taken in polytechnic, to assess their subject competencies and suitability for the university courses they have applied for.

Therefore, there is no longer a need to hardcode applicants' O-Level grades into the UAS framework.

With the simplification of the computation of the UAS, polytechnic upgraders would be assessed based on their latest qualification.

This would better recognise late-bloomers, and those who flourish under the applied learning pathway or after discovering their interest when they are older.

2. Does this mean that O-Level results will no longer be relevant for university application?

Similar to students taking the A-Level today, polytechnic students can continue to submit their O-Level results as additional information to support their applications if they wish to.

In addition, the AUs can continue to impose subject-specific pre-requisites, or refer to subject- or module-specific O-Level and polytechnic grades, to ascertain applicants' suitability for the course they are applying for.

For example, polytechnic students who wish to apply to Computer Science courses at NUS need at least a B3 grade in O-Level Additional Mathematics.

Other forms of assessments, such as interviews and aptitude tests, may also be conducted where relevant, including for students without O-Level qualifications.

3. How will NUS and NTU evaluate their applicants once the computation of the polytechnic UAS is simplified?

Polytechnic graduates will be assessed based on their polytechnic GPA. In addition, NUS and NTU may also consider other forms of assessment, such as interviews or aptitude tests, where relevant.

For example, NTU requires applicants to their Arts, Design and Media programmes to submit a portfolio of work. NUS and NTU will release more information on the application process for polytechnic graduates in due course.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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