While the Ministry of Education (MOE) decided to remove an existing requirement for an applicant's O-Level results to comprise 20 percent of the University Admissions Score (UAS), it was also clarified that except for few courses, the O-Level grades of those polytechnic graduates, who will be applying to National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) from 2020, will not be considered for admission.
In a news release, the MOE stated that the UAS is a framework adopted by six autonomous universities to benchmark and rank applicants' academic abilities for admission to the university.
Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah stated that the polytechnic GPA provides a better and current reflection of knowledge and skills that students have gained during their polytechnic study.
She also mentioned that "This, along with other initiatives such as discretionary admissions, is in line with the other changes we have made to our education system" that will allow students with different learning styles to be evaluated more holistically.
As per the release, NUS and NTU compute their UAS as a composite of their polytechnic GPA (80%) and their O-Level results (20%).
Other institutions, who are among those six universities, such as Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Social Sciences currently do not hardcode O-Level results when evaluating polytechnic applicants. Instead, they consider a basket of factors such as polytechnic GPA, aptitude tests and interview performance, and take into account O-Level results only where relevant.
MOE said that the submission of O-Level results is completely up to the polytechnic students, as it will be considered as an additional information.
However, the ministry added that all autonomous universities can continue to impose subject-specific pre-requisites, or refer to the subject- or module-specific O-Level and polytechnic grades, to ascertain applicants' suitability for the course that they are applying for. For example, polytechnic students who wish to apply to Computer Science courses at NUS would need at least a B3 grade in O-Level Additional Mathematics.
More details on changes to the application process for polytechnic students will be released by NUS and NTU closer to their admissions exercise for Academic Year 2020.