On 16 April 2018, Vice President for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Rose Banzon Bautista issued a memorandum to the chancellors, vice chancellors, deans, directors, department chairs, faculty and staff to “provide additional information to facilitate a better understanding of the UPCAT situation”. Below is the content of the memo, which is available in PDF format here.
This year, several universities and colleges set their deadlines for paying non-refundable reservation fees for first year college slots in March and April 2018. The University was criticized heavily in social media for not releasing UPCAT 2018 results before these deadlines.
To clarify matters, the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs issued a press statement on 11 April 2018, asserting that such perception is unfounded. Indeed, there is no delay. The UP Office of Admissions announced to UPCAT applicants, during the exam, in its website, in its Facebook account, and in the UPCAT application portal, that the results will be released on or before March – April 2018. Having a range of dates for the release of admission test results is the usual practice of reputable schools with a very large number of applicants.
This Memorandum provides additional information to facilitate a better understanding of our UPCAT situation.
- The UPCAT is usually held in August of each year. However, in 2017, the examinations were administered in late October in response to the request of public schools as well as some private schools for additional time to prepare the transcript of records of the first batch of Senior High School applicants under the new basic education curriculum;
- Except for 2016 and 2017, the average interval between the examination and the release of UPCAT results since 2006 has been about 6 months. In 2016 and 2017, the interval was a much shorter 3 to 4 months because there were only about 5,000+ examinees, 99% of whom were from private schools that developed acceleration and bridging programs to allow students under the old basic education curriculum to graduate. Between 75,000 and 86,000 took the UPCAT examinations in the last five years.
- The processing of applications was more challenging in 2017 because of the sheer number of applications-103,091 online applications and 4,944 manual applications . This is a stark contrast to 51,319 applications in 1996 and 88,554 in 2015, the year before the implementation of K to 12 when the number of UPCAT applications dipped to about 5,046 in 2016 and 6,020 in 2017.
- Admissions to UP of first year students is not determined solely by obtaining a passing score in UPCAT. Entry to UP via UPCAT takes into consideration the ranking of applicants by a predictor University Predicted Grade (UPG), an equation to measure potential college success based on research data. The UPG combines (60%) standardized scores from the UP College Admissions Test (UPCAT) and (40%) of standardized HS final grades for three years preceding graduation.
- The Office of Admissions processes and subsequently combines three sets of data:
– UPCAT answer sheet-these are automatically checked and validated three times, with names replaced by ID#
– Form 1 containing personal data-if submitted online, these are encoded automatically but nevertheless validated; if submitted manually, are manually encoded and validated
– Form 2 containing the high school record of the last three years before graduation that are submitted and encoded manually and validated by a separate unit for accuracy in fairness to each examinee
- The encoding of the high school grades posed an unprecedented challenge for the Office of Admissions staff this year because the grades in the last three years before graduation include two years of junior high school and a year of senior high Majority of the examinees transferred to different senior high schools with grade record submissions coming from schools with different HS grading systems. Some of the grades do not also conform to the SHS DepEd-prescribed subject units.
- All Form 1 and Form 2 data are combined with the test score data. The final data record without names is submitted to the Office of Admissions Director who gives the data to two separate programmers for the computation of the UPG. The results of these computations must be identical.
- The names are then matched to the ID#s just before the UPCAT results are posted at the Office of Admissions and released to a separate IT consultant who ensures that the online posting is stable and will not be hacked.
- Applicants are then ranked per UP campus of their indicated campus choices. In accordance with the policy of democratic access, the selection of campus qualifiers also includes considerations for socio-economic and geographic disadvantages (including indigenous peoples).
- The cutoff for campus admission is based on the number of slots and the UPG cutoffs specified by the campus. However, all cutoffs must not be lower than the UP minimum cutoff to maintain standards of academic excellence. Due to the large number of applicants choosing UP Diliman, the cutoffs in this campus are quota based.
- Campus Qualifiers are then ranked per their respective degree program choices based on UPG, grade predictors and program quotas. Since examinees are ranked, the UPG of the last examinee who fills in a Constituent Unit’s (CU) slot may be way above the CU UPG cut-off. For this reason, successful UPCAT examinees should not be referred to as “UPCAT passers” because many examinees who are not admitted to UP actually make the cutoff grades of the CUs but their rankings are lower than those of the examinees who filled in the available slots.