No UPCAT? UP weighs options for freshmen admissions amid pandemic

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2020 06:44 PM

MANILA – The University of the Philippines is looking at five options in the conduct of its admissions test after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the conduct of in-person entrance exams.

According to a report published Tuesday on UP’s official website, the following are the options or scenarios that the university was considering for its freshmen admissions:

1.)     A paper-and-pen administration of the UPCAT (UP College Admission Test), subject to the COVID-19 protocols of and in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and local government units. 
2.)     An online UPCAT
3.)    A hybrid paper-and-pen and online mode for UPCAT
4.)    A no-UPCAT scenario where UP may mine data from the applicant’s personal data sheet, high school records, the specific high school and performance of its graduates in UP, etc., to arrive at the University Predicted Grade
5.)    A moratorium on freshmen admissions

The decision—which is expected to be tackled during the UP Board of Regents meeting on Oct. 29—will be based on consultations with stakeholders such as UP faculty, high schools, UPCAT contact persons, testing centers, and volunteers, according to the report.

UP may accept applications by November 2020 if it follows the first or fourth option, based on the report.

“The University aims to keep with the usual schedule of releasing the qualifiers list by April each year,” it said.

In a Senate hearing last Thursday, Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera said the UPCAT—which is taken by around 100,000 applicants—should have been conducted last August but until this October, “experts are not united on how it can be done online.”

In 2019, only 13 percent or 11,821 of 90,408 who took the test passed the exams. 

Several colleges and universities already waived entrance examinations this year due to the continued threat of COVID-19, and assessed applicants based on their high school grades instead. Other higher education institutions chose to hold online admissions tests.

De Vera earlier said online entrance exams were “problematic” because it was possible that the applicants are not the ones answering the test.


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