Debates triggered as university entrance exam scores hit record

Hanoi resident Nguyen Phung Hung didn’t get into his first choice university, Hanoi Medical University, despite a high score of 29.25 points in the national high school exam. The number of top scorers was so high that admissions officials even had to add more criteria to facilitate their selections.

Nguyen Phung Hung, a Hanoian student, was not admitted to his first choice university, Hanoi Medical University, despite a high score of 29.25 points in the national high school exam. The number of top scorers was so high that admissions officials even had to add more criteria to facilitate their selections.

Debates triggered as university entrance exam scores hit record

High school graduates complete their applications to HCM City University of Technology. (source: VNA)

Hung was one of many students who scored high on this year’s national high school exams - that also serve as university entrance tests - but were still not admitted to their school of choice.

Associate Professor Nguyen Ngoc Khoi, head of the training department of HCM City Medical University said, “We predicted admission scores would be high. But the admission council was still surprised. The highest score was 32. It shows the tests this year did not classify students well. In fact, many students got maximum score (30) or 29.25. We had to use two extra criteria for admission.”

The university’s minimum score for the general practitioner major was set at the highest level of 29.25, 2.5 marks higher compare to last year. The lowest admission score was set at 22.25 for the public health major.

Pham Tan Ha, vice principal of the University of Social Science and Humanity under HCM City’s National University said that this year, multiple choice tests were used for the first time in all subjects except literature, making it easy for students to get high scores.

This year, for the first time also, Ministry of Education and Training allowed candidates to apply to as many as universities as they want.

However, candidates would have to list their priorities in order, so if they failed to get into their top choice university, they would be considered for the second option.

This has caused overloaded number of registration for some majors. In National Economic University, for example, 60,000 faculty options were registered by more than 29,000 candidates.

The admission scores in this university also hit record highs. 14 out of 25 faculties accept candidates with 25 marks and above. International economics and Accounting are two majors requiring the highest entrance score of 27, a surge of 1.5 mark compared to last year.

Due to the high scores this year, several universities have to refer to extra criteria besides admission scores.

Extra marks still work?

According to the exam rules, priority marks are given to candidates from rural, mountainous and disadvantaged areas and children of war invalids and martyrs. These marks range from 0.5 to 1.5 depending on the region.

Many educational experts proposed that region priority marks should be removed in the context of high scores this year. Others said that to ensure equality between rural and urban students, each school should set admission quota, for example, 80 per cent rural students and 20 per cent urban students.

Another opinion suggested that region priority marks are a good policy and should be maintained. However, the marks should be reduced to ensure equality, said Vu Khac Ngoc, a chemistry teacher in Hanoi.

/// Ảnh: Đào Ngọc Thạch

According to Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga, only one per cent among 4,000 majors have admission scores that surpass 30. (source: Thanhnien News)

Ngoc also added that nowadays, training and studying methods in localities have changed. Students can learn online and exams are held locally, which shrinks the gaps between rural and urban areas education.

“If we keep adding scores, candidates in urban areas will struggle to get into top universities. We will see a wave of “migration” as Hanoi’s students move to Thai Binh, Hai Phong while Thai Binh, Hai Phong students flock to Hanoi to study medicine,” he said.

According to Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga, only one per cent among 4,000 majors get admission scores that surpass 30.

“The (added mark) regulation specifies priority policy of the Party and State for candidates in disadvantaged areas. When this policy changes, added marks will also be adjusted. For example, if provinces which used to be in the disadvantaged list become more developed and be removed from the list, added scores for these localities will be deducted.”

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, Head of the Ministry of Education and Training’s Higher Education Department said that admission scores this year are not abnormal. Candidates who score full mark (30) but still fail for their first option were rare cases.

“We cannot look at this case to assess the whole exam,” she said./.

( VNF/VNA )

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