Training Surprise in the entrance exams of Finnish universities: “Feminization” stopped, more and more places were opened for men

Last spring’s student choices were confused in many ways by a coronavirus pandemic, but now efforts are being made to keep the experiments on campus in the most normal way possible.

Women the share of those who received a place in a university decreased slightly last year, according to preliminary results from a study conducted by the State Economic Research Center (Vatt) and the Wage Earners’ Research Institute PT.

The selection of students for colleges based on certificates alone expanded last year. The increase in the proportion of men in the place of study is a surprise: on the contrary, it was suspected that the female domination of higher education institutions was accelerating as selection reform increased selection based on evidence alone.

“One explanation may be that conscripts, for example, now find it easier to apply when they don’t have to prepare for exams,” says the research professor. Tuomas Pekkarinen Vattista.

Another explanation may relate to the additions of starting sites, which were made especially in the technical fields. Especially in polytechnics, the proportion of men increased and now was 48 per cent of those who received a place, compared to 41 per cent in universities.

The laborious selection tests used to cause the majority of applicants to focus on only one application, but now the applicants have sought more and at the same time more places and also different fields, Pekkarinen says.

Research into the effects of student choice reform is still ongoing, but preliminary results suggest that changes other than the halt in female empowerment can be seen.

Election reform the aim is to speed up access to higher education by cutting back on intermediate years and long preparation for entrance exams. Indeed, laborious selection tests have encouraged aspirants to tact and pursue their favorite field from year to year.

The coronavirus pandemic changed the choices of spring in many ways, which makes it difficult to separate the effects of the reform itself from the changes caused by the pandemic. For example, the number of starting places was increased by about 7,000, and an increase is promised for this spring as well.

At least one of the goals of the reform already seems to have been achieved to some extent, as the share of the youngest accepted increased from the previous spring, although the number of applicants over the age of 25 increased the most.

In universities in particular, the proportion of people aged 20 and over who received a place to study increased, while in polytechnics the increase was more evenly distributed in different age groups.

In universities certificate selection means the grades of a student certificate and, in polytechnics, as an alternative, the grades of a vocational undergraduate degree.

The reform of university student selection was to culminate last spring, when about half of the starting places were to be filled on the basis of certificates.

Indeed, more than half of those admitted to universities were selected last spring on the basis of certificates, compared with less than a quarter in the previous two years. The proportion of those selected to experiment remained at about one-third.

The so-called common point selection, which used to be the most common way of assessing a candidate’s skills, was removed from the selection of selection methods. In addition to the starting points of the yo-certificate, it took into account the results of the entrance examinations.

The share of those selected on the basis of certificates in polytechnics also more than doubled, but was still less than half.

Studies at the Open University are also one, gradually expanding but so far quite narrow path to become a degree student. Open studies are mostly paid.

Non-receipt of a place of study has become more common.

Applicant can apply for up to six study places at a time. He can only take one study place from an education starting in the same semester.

According to Pekkarinen, increasing the choice of evidence is a strong incentive to apply to the university even more according to one’s own preferences, when the applicant does not have to think about search costs and tactics, for example.

On the other hand, the reform has been criticized for shifting pressure and tactics to high school as the importance of subject choices is emphasized and the long-term math board in particular is rewarded in a number of areas. Student exams can also be renewed even more.

“After all, high school is an educational institution, so is it a bad thing if the grades of student exams can be raised?” Pekkarinen asks.

On the other hand, part of the tactic is delayed, ie it moves to the stage when a person who has sought several targets weighs the seat offer he or she has received: is it worth accepting a less preferred option while losing his place in the so-called first-time quota.

Fresh indeed, statistics show that it is increasingly common not to receive a place of study.

“The increase in the choice of certificates has resulted in applicants also receiving less favorable seat offers that they would not have received in previous years. Of course, they are less likely to be received than places of priority, ”explains the education counselor Ilmari Hyvönen from the Ministry of Education.

“It’s still not a problem because, however, a seat abandoned by an applicant is always offered to the next one, to whom it will soon be valid. The big picture is that due to the additional places, 7,000 more applicants accepted the places than last year, ”Hyvönen sums up.

Hyvänen points out that the position of first-time students, ie those applying for their first place of study, has also gradually improved.

Last spring, more evidence was added due to the corona epidemic than planned.

Applicants last spring’s joint application for university undergraduate degrees was a record number, or about 152,000, but starting places were also increased significantly, by about 7,000 due to the corona. A total of 52,500 seats were filled in last spring’s selections.

The biggest upheaval in choices brought about by the epidemic was that conventional mass trials were not held at all because of the risk of infection. The annoyance was that the changes were not announced until after the application deadline.

Instead of entrance examinations, for example, two-stage electronic distance examinations were organized and / or a larger proportion of students were selected on the basis of certificates than originally intended.

Evidence selection was increased beyond what was planned even in areas such as medical training for which there was nothing previously relevant without an hourly entrance test requiring pressure tolerance and a descent head.

In the spring of 2020, as many as 75 per cent of new medical districts were eventually selected on the basis of certificates, but the corresponding figure this spring is “only” 51 per cent, which was originally the target last year as well.

In contrast, in the fields of mathematics, science and technology, evidence grades have long been chosen by the vast majority of new students.

In jurisprudence the certification pathway was opened in 2019 to about one-fifth of starters. Last spring, 40 per cent of law starting places were filled on the basis of certificates, as was originally intended. The share will remain the same this spring as well.

The most disappointed with the surprising expansion of the choice of evidence in the middle of the corona were the aspirants of the starting points of medicine and also, for example, psychology, because these are the so-called search pressure fields. It is enough for them to penetrate and prepare for years.

There is still enough demand for coaching courses in the fields of search pressure, although for example, the medical exam has for years focused mainly on high school chemistry, physics and biology courses, when previously a large work leading directly to medicine was under study. Preliminary material for the experiment is scheduled to be published this spring in April.

Indeed, a key part of the student selection reform has been that, while entrance examinations remain an important route to higher education, examinations are lightened so that preparation no longer requires an indestructible amount of time, work and money.

Spring selection tests will be conducted as normally as possible.

This spring selection tests will be conducted as normally as possible, ie on university campuses or other physical facilities, if pandemic constraints allow – in smaller groups if necessary.

Should there be any changes in the way the selection tests are carried out due to the coronary pandemic, the universities have jointly committed to informing them before the start of the main spring application, ie by 16 March.

Alternative ways of conducting examinations in such a way that students’ legal security is not compromised and fraud does not occur are also being considered.

“In physical experiments, surveillance is most likely to be arranged. If we have to carry out experiments remotely, fraud can be prevented by constructing the experiments in such a way that the pace and nature of the questions and tasks are such that they require not only fact control but also the application of data, ”says Unif’s Vice President of Education Petri Suomala.

In polytechnics It has been decided to organize the spring selection tests from 31 May to 9 June. as a single-stage, supervised proximity test.

There are eight selection test days, during which 15 test sessions will be held.

“The applicant chooses the place and time of the selection test as part of the joint application, which reduces the applicants’ travel,” says Arenen, Executive Director of the Rector’s Council of Polytechnics Petri Lempinen.

According to Lempinen, the trial arrangements take into account the health and safety guidelines related to the coronavirus situation, which is why trial days have been added.

Health instructions mean, for example, adequate safety distances and the use of masks. “These were already practiced in the autumn trials,” Lempinen says.

The application ends at the end of March

The first application for foreign language courses at universities and at the University of the Arts Helsinki and the University of Tampere for theater studies was already in January.

The broader joint application is March 17-31.

The results of the certificate selections will be published no later than 31.5. and other results 9.7.

Receipt of the place of study must be announced no later than 16.7.

Approval from reserves ends on 2.8.

More information can be found at Opintopolku.fi, for example on the scoring of certificates in various fields.

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