University of Helsinki: Vice presidents for education outlined on the development of entrance examinations and scoring of certificate-based admissions

The needs for development were identified jointly by the universities particularly as a result of admissions carried out over the course of the national state of emergency. The development work will be discussed at universities during the autumn.

It was jointly recognised that the number of examinations should be reduced as the current system is too cumbersome for both applicants and universities. As numerous entrance examinations test the same knowledge and skills, combining examinations will lighten the admission process for applicants, examiners and organisers alike. Furthermore, the role of entrance examinations as part of student admissions has changed as approximately half of new students are admitted based on certificate-based admissions. In addition, reducing the number of entrance examinations and digitalising the remaining examinations will expedite the assessment process. This enables organising the examinations at a later date than currently which allows more time between certificate-based admissions and the actual entrance examinations. Consequently, applicants admitted based on certificates will not have to prepare for the entrance examinations.

By 2025, common digital tests containing field-specific sections will be organised for various subjects of study. Cooperation on entrance examinations will be increased already by 2023. At present, Finnish universities have many functional joint admission systems and entrance examination collaborations. As a rule, their proven practices are utilised in the development of entrance examinations in all branches of science.

Digivision 2030, a joint project of higher education institutions, creates a learning ecosystem that covers application services. Over the course of the autumn, plans will be made on the extent to which the development of entrance examinations will be linked to the Digivision project.

Digital examinations to be implemented as part of numerous joint applications already in 2022
Spring 2022 marks the first time that entrance examinations will be implemented digitally in the joint application systems for the medical fields and biomedicine, biochemistry and molecular biosciences as well as psychology and logopedics. Moreover, joint application systems to involve digital examinations similarly to last spring include those of biology and environmental sciences, pharmacy, geography, forest sciences and computer science. Any changes to the implementation of entrance examinations of joint application systems and university programmes must be announced by the end of the year.

The validity of certificate-based admissions criteria extended until 2025
At their August meeting, universities’ vice presidents for education outlined that the validity of the scoring model for certificate-based admissions will be extended by one year. This means that the model will be applied up to the admissions of spring 2025. The vice presidents consider it important that reliable data on the impacts of the current criteria for certificate-based admissions is obtained before any changes are made to the criteria. Data on the impacts of the criteria has only been obtained from 2021 as the state of emergency resulting from the covid-19 situation affected the implementation of certificate-based admissions in 2020. As the certificate-based admission quota of certain programmes was increased remarkably in 2020, the data of that year do not reflect the normal situation. In addition, the possible impacts of certificate-based admissions on the study subject choices of upper secondary school students will be examined.

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