Providing quality assessments and fair admissions in the Republic of Azerbaijan

Aptitude assessment

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Admissions for Undergraduate Education
(including majors requiring aptitude assessment test)

In the beginning of each year up until the end of admission campaign, the SSAC starts publishing a set of consecutive issues of “Abituriyent” journal, which provides public with the following information:

1. A detailed description of admission programs[1] for undergraduate degree programs in higher education institutions of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including admission programs to selective state-led schools[2];

2. Calls for applications, instructions and FAQs of online registration for exams and admission process in separate versions;

3. List of undergraduate degree programs in public and private schools, established in the country[3];

4. Procedures and requirements of the standardized examination and unified admissions, including test samples containing multiple-choice and open-ended test items with all levels of difficulty, utilized at the admission examinations;

5. A list of responses to frequently asked questions about the admission and examination, including:

- Correct answers, scoring tables and report of all applicants’ scores;

- Report of passing scores and names of all admitted applicants for next academic year;

6. Tips for applicants, consultative articles on career planning, including, an online platform for high achievers to share their experience and success stories.

Registration for exams as well as admission process for higher education institutions and vocational education and training (VET) institutions was carried out online, which, as a result, not only simplifies application procedure, but also prevents applicants from making common mistakes. In practice, to make online registration system considerably more effective, the SSAC joined the state inter-office automated information search system “Entrance-exit and registration”, run by most State Institutions. Thus, now applicants can easily fill out their “Online Application” account page by entering the required information from their National identification card in to the system (State Identification Detector) prior to deadline set by the SSAC. Two segments of applicant population were classified for the confirmation of applications.

The segment of applicants, to approve applications without going to Application Admission Commissions:

-             The graduates of complete general education institutions of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the current academic year;

The female graduates of complete general education institutions of Azerbaijan Republic in the academic year of 2011-2012 and 2012-2013;

-             The female graduates of vocational education institutions of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the academic year of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014;

-             The female graduates who applied for higher education institutions and specialized secondary education institutions on the bases of complete general education in the academic year of 2011/2012 and earlier

The rest of applicants were able to get their applications approved at the Application Admission Commissions by only submitting required documents.

The overall content of application admission was published and presented to the public in the 2nd issue of “Abituriyent” journal in 2014.

To support applicants favoring specific specialized  majors which require aptitude assessment test, the SSAC issued publications such as “Fine Arts”, “Music Art”, “Architecture and Design”, “Theatre, Cinema and Choreography”, “Physical Education and Sport”, which contain scientific-methodical assistance[4].Now, with this particular information presented in special issues of “Abituriyent”, applicants have access to find a set of characteristics of aptitudes, requirements of every major, admission programs of aptitude examinations, assessment standards of the juries as well as the conduct of behaviors of applicants and jury members. Additionally, samples of required tasks, visual reproductions, pictures, tables, norms etc. are published in the journal to better guide this segment of applicants.

Initial pre-selections of the applicants choosing majors with aptitudes were held not only in the capital Baku, but also in other regional testing centers before the deadline of registration. In this selection round, the admission committee assessed the amount of the applicants with the basic requirements of majors that require special abilities; consequently, those who passed the selection stage successfully were re-registered online for the aptitude examination itself.

In 2014, one of the recent changes was the application of aptitude examination in the undergraduate admission to the major of Journalism. At the beginning of the year Press Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan addressed the proposal for the consideration of the SSAC, which was extensively discussed among the experts of both stakeholders. A special task force was established, after which rules of examinations, admission procedures and evaluation standards were developed too. Information on this regard was regularly presented to the public online as well as in various issues of “Abituriyent” journal.  Following these new rules, applicants of major group III willing to be admitted to the major of journalism registered online, after having their electronic application approved by the regulatory system. Overall, 441 of registered applicants gained a right to participate in the aptitude assessment examination, of which 394 were graduates of Azerbaijani sector and 47 Russian sector high schools[5]. During the aptitude assessment test, applicants were required to write an essay on one of the following topics: social, economical, cultural, educational, environmental themes, including global challenges, as well as a short bio of a prominent figure of Azerbaijan. Requirements for essay writing and assessment rubrics developed by the jury were posted online for applicants to get prepared prior to an examination day.

Examinations were held in the capital Baku as well as in the cities where the regional branches of the SSAC are operating - Nakhchevan, Ganja, Shaki, Lankaran, Khachmaz, Goychay, Shirvan and Aghjabadi. Before the start of the examination, the members of the jury (delegates of the Press Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan, officials from the SSAC and some representatives of the local Mass Media) randomly selected themes for the applicants to be tested on that day. So, out of 250 previously announced themes only 3 were selected for that day of the exam and streamed via live broadcast to all test centers.

During this examination applicants had to compose an essay on one of presented themes, in either Azerbaijani or Russian language depending on the instructional language of the applicant in high school. Out of 415 applicants, 315 did not participate, although they had gained a right to attend the examination at the earlier stage. In conclusion, 51 out of 126 applicants successfully passed the examination (45 of them were Azerbaijani and 6 Russian high school graduates). As a result of this stage, the applicants passing the aptitude assessment examination successfully received a chance to choose other majors along with Journalism major from the list of preferred majors for the admission to undergraduate degree programs. 47 out of 51 successful applicants chose Journalism major, whereas only 4 applicants chose other majors within major group III.

[1]     Admission programs for undergraduate education are based on the core curriculum of assessed subjects.

[2]     The state-led schools are the state funded academies of security, defense and other academic institutions of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

[3]     The list of majors for admission, the toll of enrolment openings and the names of education institutions taking part in the fulfillment of the state order are annually presented as a prognosis.

[4]     A set of methodical procedures, which are based on the data analysis, produced every year.

[5]     High schools, where instructional language is Russian language