Improving the Competitive Selection of Students Accepted to Ukrainian HEIs was discussed at the L’viv University

Thursday, 27 September 2012

 

A seminar entitled How to Improve the Competitive Selection of Students Applying to Establishments of Higher Education in Ukraine was held on September 26, 2012.  The seminar took place in the Hall of Mirrors of the I. Franko National University of L'viv.  In attendance were representatives from leading establishments of higher education (HEIs) in the L'viv region and partners of the Alliance for the Development of the Ukrainian Standardized Testing Initiative Partners (Alliance USETI) which includes the Franko National University of L'viv.  Seminar participants discussed equal access to higher education, perfecting the admission campaign and shared relevant proposals with the government and the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine.  According to the event's moderator Yarema Bachynskiy, Director of American Councils for International Education in Ukraine such meetings, held in various corners of Ukraine, have become an annual tradition.

 

In his welcoming address, Ivan Vakarchuk, Chancellor of the Franko National University noted that it is the fifth year in a row that external independent testing (EIT) scores have determined who gets accepted to HEIs.  "Despite resistance in the first two years that EIT was introduced, the system is now established and running smoothly," noted the Chancellor "and today's seminar gives us a chance to discuss how to further improve it.  This is a positive trend considering the changes that are being made in education today based on decisions made by a handful of people without public discussion."

 

Roman Krokhmal'nyy, Vice-chancellor of scientific pedagogical work and Oleh Bovhyra, Executive Secretary of the Admission Commission analyzed the admission campaign at the Franko National University and presented a constructive and meaningful report.  Krokhmal'nyy and Bovhyra analyzed the 2012 admission campaign from different angles and illustrated them with statistics and diagrams.  Having identified the main problems of this year's admission campaign (for example how SSEED created more problems than it solved for admission commissions; or the problems applicants faced when their EIT scores were inconsistent on individual HEI sites and Konkurs), representatives of the Franko University proposed changes to the 2013 Rules of Admissions.  Some of the proposals sent to the relevant Ministry at the end of August this year included:

 

1. Considering the fact that "privileged" applicants are largely a distraction to applicants, we propose creating a database which contains documents for this category of applicants. This would relieve admission commissions of verifying these documents.

 

2. Reduce the weight of the secondary school grade point average in the total admission score (because they tend to be inflated).

 

3. Fix Ukrainian Language and Literature as a mandatory EIT subject and allow HEIs to choose up to another 2 subjects for each major they offer.

 

4. Reduce the application period to three weeks as the majority of applicants submit applications in the first week.

 

5. Allow applicants to apply to a maximum of 2 HEIs.

 

6. Offer admission during two, not three, periods during which applicants can recall and submit original documents for enrollment.

 

Serhiy Rakov, Director of the Department of Scientific Support at the UCEQA analyzed how successful a single criterion is in determining which applicants should be offered admissions.  His report cited a study conducted on the prognostic validity of criteria used to select applicants and using weighed coefficients for increasing the effectiveness of the HEI applicant selection process.  Many experts worked on this study including representatives from Alliance USETI; it used statistical methods.  Note that predictive validity determines the degree of confidence that the assessment test will predict future achievement of students; weighing factor is the relative numerical index that characterizes the degree of difficult (importance) of a test question.  "The effectiveness of the admission process," noted the speaker "is best evaluated by its ability to predict the successful future of the applicant in the HEI."  The researcher assessed the future success of students based on EIT results (a qualitative criterion for students), secondary grade point averages, sex, place of residence, etc.  It was practically impossible to assess the success of students based on results of creative testing because creative tests are not administered by HEIs and are therefore not analogous.  This did however raise the issue of whether criteria need to be developed to standardize creative tests.  According to this study, we can create a formula that would ensure applicants with the best chance of success are chosen for each major which in turn would allow HEIs to choose the best applicants.  The speaker also paid specific attention to factors which affect the fairness of the selection process (fairness indicators for gender categories, location of residence, etc); studies on these factors will continue to be conducted in the future.

 

Volodymyr Kovtunets, an Alliance USETI expert, shared the results of a study conducted on the admission campaign in various HEIs using information from the Konkurs information system and the results of piloting and implementing scholastic aptitude testing (SAT) in 2010-2012.  SAT assesses a student's ability to learn, it is a measurement of mental abilities developed by a group from the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences back in 2009.

 

Participants also discussed pressing issues such as: determining how fair "competitions" are that determine the popularity or prestige of majors (determined by the number of state scholarships); whether or not secondary grade point averages should be included in the admission score, because they are not a good indicator of an individual's knowledge as they are easily inflated and awarding privileges during the admission campaign to those who won various places in Olympiads and Small Academy of Sciences competitions.  Experts believe that the last should not receive any privileges.  The final major issue discussed was the importance of applicants specifying their first choice HEI and major and the subsequent importance of educational establishments offering career guidance.

 

At the end of the seminar Mr. Bachynskiy encouraged all HEIs to cooperate in developing and promoting changes to the Rules of Admissions and providing more information to applicants because the opportunities for improving the system are limitless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Official web site of the I. Franko National University of L'viv

 

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