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Finland: Changes suggested to the grade scoring system in university admissions

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Finland: Changes suggested to the grade scoring system in university admissions

06 October 2023
Country news

Completion of upper secondary education, both general and vocational, gives students eligibility to continue to higher education. Higher education student selection was reformed in Finland in 2018. In the reformed admission system, a majority of students are accepted to university or university of applied sciences based on their matriculation examination results - general upper secondary education ends with a national matriculation examination. The rest are accepted on the basis of an entrance examination. The aim of the reform was to speed up the transition from upper secondary to tertiary education and to strengthen the role of the matriculation examination vis-à-vis that of entrance examination.  

The reform has stirred up criticism. One complaint has been that mathematics grades now have too much weight in relation to other subjects in the selection of students.   

The Rectors’ Council of Finnish Universities (UNIFI) has proposed a new scoring model for the certificate-based admission to universities. The new scoring model is to be used in student admissions from 2026 onwards. 

The overall aim of the changes is to clarify the certificate-based admission scoring: it should better demonstrate the proficiency of those general upper secondary subjects that are needed in the field for which the student is applying. Another aim is to give general upper secondary students better opportunities to select subjects for matriculation examination according to their own preferences. 

In the new scoring model, native language would give more points in admission than at present. Languages would also give higher scores in admission in the future. Some of the differences in scoring between humanities subjects and natural sciences subjects will be eliminated in the new model.  Mathematics would keep its importance for all fields of study, but the weighting of mathematics syllabuses would more clearly depend on how important the mastering of advanced mathematics is for the field in question. 

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