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Competence assessment will be a common exam for university admission

That is the opinion of Associate Professor Nguyen Duc Nghia - former Deputy Director of VNU-HCM, at the conference summarizing the organization of the Competence Assessment Exam (CAE) of VNU-HCM in 2023, drafting the plan for 2024, and orienting the exam in 2025. The conference was organized by VNU-HCM in Ho Chi Minh City on the afternoon of November 24.

Associate Professor Nguyen Duc Nghia proposes ideas for the organization of the CAE. Photo: Thu Thao

After 6 years of implementation, the CAE has gained credibility among educational institutions, parents, and candidates nationwide, contributing to the success of university (U) and college (C) admissions throughout the Vietnamese education system.

Continuous improvement of the exam

Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Minh Tam - Deputy Director of VNU-HCM, assesses: "The results of the CAE are not only used for admissions to training institutions within the VNU-HCM system but are also used by 97 universities and colleges to enroll students. This exam has helped select candidates with the appropriate capabilities for the training goals of VNU-HCM and other educational institutions."

In addition to the increase in the scale of organization and the number of candidates, Mr. Tam believes that the effectiveness of the CAE is also reflected in changing the perception and learning methods of high school students, contributing to a more comprehensive orientation for high school students. This is in line with the future development direction of Vietnam's higher education.

Regarding the organization, VNU-HCM has received smooth coordination among participating units and has also applied digital transformation in many stages, achieving quite good results.

According to Associate Professor Dr. Minh Tam, the CAE of VNU-HCM will be continuously improved to enhance quality, meet the requirements of relevant parties, adapt to the adjustments of the Ministry of Education and Training, and facilitate candidates in using the exam results for university admissions.

At the conference, delegates listened to four presentations, including: Report on summarizing the organization of the CAE of VNU-HCM in the 2018-2023 period, the plan for 2024, and the orientation for 2025 (Dr. Nguyen Quoc Chinh - Director of the Testing and Quality Assessment Center of VNU-HCM); Coordination of exam organization and use of CAE results of VNU-HCM for admissions at Ho Chi Minh City University of Industry (Dr. Nguyen Trung Nhan - Head of Training Department, Ho Chi Minh City University of Industry); Coordination of exam organization and use of CAE results of VNU-HCM for admissions at Lac Hong University (Dr. Lam Thanh Hien - Rector of Lac Hong University); Effectiveness of admissions work using CAE results of VNU-HCM (Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Dinh Tuyen - Deputy Head of Training Department, Bach Khoa University).

Among them, the presentation on the Effectiveness of admissions work using CAE results of VNU-HCM by the representative of Bach Khoa University received much attention from the delegates. The Deputy Head of the Training Department of Bach Khoa University evaluates: "According to statistics from 2018-2021, the proportion of students admitted to the university through the CAE method has good learning abilities, achieving higher average cumulative scores than the method of using high school graduation exam scores."

After the presentation of the speeches, the delegates had a discussion, contributed opinions to improve the quality of the CAE, and proposed solutions to improve the organization of the exam in 2024 and 2025.

Detailed score announcement

A panorama of the discussion at the conference. Photo: Thu Thao

Related to the expansion of the organization's scale, Dr. Nguyen Thanh Trong - Deputy Vice Rector of Eastern International University, suggested that VNU-HCM should coordinate with more provinces and cities to help students in remote areas easily access the CAE.

Director of the Testing and Quality Assessment Center (TTKT&DGCLĐT) Nguyen Quoc Chinh believes that the proposal of the Deputy Vice Rector of Eastern International University is very reasonable, aligning with the viewpoint of VNU-HCM in bringing the CAE closer to candidates. In the future, VNU-HCM will plan specifically for this.

Regarding the application of digital transformation in the CAE, Master Cu Xuan Tien - Head of Admissions and Student Affairs Department, Faculty of Economics and Law, suggests that VNU-HCM should not require candidates to bring their ID cards and exam attendance papers but should replace them with confirming the level 2 electronic identity account on the phone. As for issuing electronic score confirmation instead of sending it home, Mr. Tien suggests sending the electronic version to candidates to reduce costs.

Regarding proposals for digital transformation, Dr. Quoc Chinh stated that the CAE Exam Council would discuss to consider the feasibility of implementation. "Regarding sending electronic score confirmations, if universities and colleges agree not to stamp the score sheet, it will save a lot of costs. However, we will further discuss with the legal department to avoid violating regulations."

Deputy Vice Rector of Nha Trang University Quach Hoai Nam agrees with the plan to organize the CAE in 2024 in a stable development direction. For the CAE in 2025, Mr. Nam requests VNU-HCM to announce the specific exam content for each subject that is suitable for the 2018 high school education program.

Discussing the content of the CAE, Dr. Quoc Chinh emphasized: "Our perspective is that the CAE must assess the most basic competencies of university study, such as language ability, logical thinking, problem-solving skills... We will consider the most reasonable proportion of questions in each subject."

Chinh added that TTKT&DGCLĐT would announce the detailed scoring scale for each exam section, providing a basis for universities to choose the admission combination and stipulate the score coefficient for each subject according to the admissions needs.

Concerning the issue of the "examining industry" of the CAE becoming increasingly complex, raised by the Head of the Student Affairs Working Group Le Thi Thanh Mai, Dr. Quoc Chinh believes that this issue cannot be completely eliminated, and the important thing is that VNU-HCM must create exams that truly assess students' abilities.

Closing the discussion, Dr. Nguyen Duc Nghia shared: "The purpose of the high school graduation exam is to evaluate high school teaching and learning, not for graduation. Therefore, the CAE of universities will become increasingly important as it assesses the true abilities of candidates. I believe that universities and colleges will rely on the results of the CAE exams for admissions in 2025."

Nghia hopes that the Exam Council will review the question bank to be suitable for the 2018 high school education program and ensure an adequate number of questions for at least 5 exam sessions. According to him, the CAE is not the exclusive exam of VNU-HCM but a common exam for university admissions. Therefore, VNU-HCM needs stronger communication to spread this message.

Deputy Director of VNU-HCM Nguyen Minh Tam agrees with the contributions and suggestions that the delegates have made and proposes that the Standing Committee of the Exam Council, TTKT&DGCLĐT, adopt and incorporate them into the regulations.

Tam affirmed that VNU-HCM will continue to organize the conference to summarize the organization of the CAE and combine the content of the virtual organization work conference in the Southern region in the next organization.

According to Huong Nhu - Thu Thao - VNU-HCM

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Translated by: Ngoc Diem