TREY’s statement regarding the points system draft for certificate-based admission

Tampere University requested a statement from TREY regarding the points system draft for certificate-based admission, that is used in student admissions for Finnish students. Reforming the certificate-based points system is part of the student admission development project, which also aims to reform entrance exams. TREY’s statement will be considered as part of Tampere University’s statement. The statement has also been sent directly to the Otakantaa statement service.

Primarily, we endorse the idea that the weight of the native language exams in certificate-based admission be increased. As was reasoned in the draft, they are mandatory for all participants of matriculation exams, and they greatly prepare one’s critical thinking skills, which are fundamental in university studies.

We are happy with the re-examining of the mathematics exams’ weight in this points system draft. We also appreciate the recognition of the differing roles between basic and advanced level mathematics. We endorse the points system aiding in directing applicants towards the level of mathematics studies which best support their educational objectives. It is also justified that, regarding mathematics and natural science degree programmes, the points system carries a larger difference between basic and advanced level mathematics.

For the most part, we support equalising the points system when it comes to subjects outside of mathematics and language. It is logical that, in some of the tables, there are differences between natural science subjects and humanities and social sciences – but, on the other hand, the division is not always so clear-cut. For example, economics (table H) should show the field’s requirement for societal competence and know-how more visibly than the natural sciences knowledge highlighted in it currently. In the field in question, one would benefit from social studies or philosophy more than from studying biology.

We also endorse the points system for languages. We especially deem it justifiable that the weight and value of basic level language studies be better recognised in the scoring tool. This will surely do its part in encouraging the studying of languages in upper secondary school which, in turn, supports our national language reserves. Then again, the relative increase in the weight of advanced level language exams encourages one to continue language studies started in comprehensive school and to participate in the subject’s matriculation exam.

We deem the threshold conditions mostly justified. However, we would re-examine the intentionality of the threshold condition of an M-grade in the native language exam regarding logopedics (table A) and literary studies (table E). We suggest that the threshold condition be lowered to grade C. This would set the condition at the same level as in communication sciences. When comparing to, for example, pharmacy (table I), where the threshold condition for chemistry and mathematics is completing the exam with a passable grade, we deem the draft’s threshold set for logopedics and literary sciences unnecessarily harsh from an applicant’s perspective. We also wish that, in tables A and E, there would be an explanation as to what the native language threshold condition means in practice. If and when native language includes Swedish and Saami as native languages as well as S2 and R2 exams, the threshold condition cannot expect an M-grade in the Finnish language exam. The condition simply creates unnecessary obstacles for the applicant, and it might encourage an otherwise competent applicant to take a leap year and attend matriculation exams again. We feel that a C-grade in the native language exam would be sufficient.

We also agree with the model for criteria in the event that two or more applicants have equal points. The criteria remain logical when applicants are graded according to subjects’ weights in the points system. We also appreciate the basis of accepting into the degree programme all applicants who are in equal standing even after applying said criteria. Counting on the luck of the draw should really be a last resort to differentiate between applicants.

Lastly, we wish that, in the following stages of the project, the value of paths that do not count on an applicant’s study performance in upper secondary school be considered more heavily. We feel that these paths should be the primary road to university studies. We hope that more consideration be given to paths taken by those who have completed vocational training and, on the other hand, those who are pursuing a new degree. Changing fields should be easily accessible, without the pressure of no longer being a first-time applicant.


More information about the statement:

Jenna Rantanen

Specialist in educational and international affairs

Telegram: @treyjenna