Campus view in Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. NTU is one of the two largest public universities in Singapore from Shutterstock.com

Simplification of UAS Computation for Polytechnic Graduates

The Ministry of Education (MOE) on Thursday (8 November) has announced that the University Admissions Score (UAS) for polytechnic students applying to all Autonomous Universities (AUs), including National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), will be simplified by only referring to their polytechnic GPA. The current requirement is for their ‘O’-level results to comprise 20 percent of their UAS.

This will commence in February 2020 for the Academic Year (AY) 2020 admissions cycle.

In a press release, the ministry said that it can better recognise late-bloomers and those who have done well in polytechnics, or after discovering their interest when they are older, by assessing polytechnic graduates primarily based on their latest academic qualification, i.e. their polytechnic GPA. This is in line with the current treatment of students with A-Level or International Baccalaureate qualifications.

MOE notes that close to a quarter of all students who enter polytechnics do not possess O-Level qualifications (e.g. Polytechnic Foundation Programme students, and ITE graduates including those from Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme).

All AUs, including NUS and NTU, 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 that they are applying for. For example, polytechnic students who wish to apply to Computer Science courses at NUS would 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, MOE added.

The ministry stated that the UAS is a framework adopted by the AUs to benchmark and rank applicants’ academic abilities for admission to university.

The University Admissions Score (UAS) is a framework adopted by the Autonomous Universities (AUs) to benchmark and rank applicants’ academic abilities for admission to university.

For polytechnic graduates who had previously taken the O-Level examinations, MOE said that the NUS and NTU compute their UAS as a composite of their polytechnic Grade Point Average (GPA) (80%) and their O-Level results (20%) on Thursday.

It also stated that O-Level results serve as a measure of polytechnic graduates’ academic readiness for a university education, which is traditionally more academic in nature compared to practice-based learning in the polytechnics. Polytechnic graduates with no O-Level qualifications are assessed based on their polytechnic GPA.

Meanwhile, it noted that the other four AUs currently do not hardcode O-Level results when evaluating polytechnic applicants. Instead, they consider a basket of factors such as polytechnic GPA, aptitude tests and interview performance, and take into account O-Level results only where relevant.

More details on changes to the application process for polytechnic students will be released by NUS and NTU closer to the AY2020 admissions exercise.