The renewed Statue adopted by the Presidential Decree in 2005 set the legal foundation for the Commission to advance additional projects in the field of education assessment. In fact, the extensive authority granted to the SSAC meant for the Commission to organize a graduate admission process for graduate specialty programs of higher education institutions. The Decree was signed in April 2005 and on the same year the SSAC was required to develop the graduate admission examinations on the centralized test basis, nationwide. The bachelors meeting the requirements set forth by the SSAC obtain the pass into the second round of the admission examination which is the examination of the bachelors’ knowledge in their respective specializations. The competition is carried out considering the total points scored after the two rounds.
The organization of a graduate admission examination was a more distinct and difficult task than the organization of undergraduate admission examinations. For instance, during the period of undergraduate admission examinations, the SSAC has worked over curriculum programs of general education schools. However to conduct graduate admission examinations, the SSAC began to carry out all graduate specialty programs of higher education institutions. Test Development and Graduate Admissions Unit at the SSAC are responsible to execute the SSAC's objectives in graduate admissions.
Test Development and Graduate Admissions Unit
The Unit is entitled to develop test items and prepare admission rules and procedures to graduate degree programs of higher education institutions of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Along, the procedures for admissions, the Unit is especially committed to organize professional development workshops on methodology of development of test items on subjects and specialties included in the admission examinations. The participation of specialists/experts of higher education institutions, other education bodies, scientific and methodical centers of the country are very much encouraged at these workshops. One of the responsibilities of the Unit is to prepare graduate admission programs of different specialties and provide general methodical instructions for the development of testing-measurement of materials on these programs. In addition to the regular revision of the Item Pool, the Unit is also engaged to increase the number of test items, make adjustments according to the admission programs, justified and approved by the recommendations of universities and advisers from the SSAC. To enlighten the public and applicants, the Unit prepares a set of materials, published in “Magistr” (Graduate Student) journal:
- materials on the content of the examinations (logical thinking, foreign languages, computer literacy)
- admission programs on specialties
- samples of test items
- the table of specialties for graduate admission
- information about the choice of specialties, the admission requirements, and other materials.
Each letter or enquiry (including email requests) sent to the Unit is also being thoroughly investigated and responded.
Being the second level of higher education, Master’s degree occupies a special place in training of specialists.
Graduate Admissions 2014-15
The admission to graduate degree programs has been professionally implemented for the public and private universities of the country. Graduate education in the Republic of Azerbaijan is funded either by state-provided scholarships or private funding of graduate students, according to the respective decree of President of Republic of Azerbaijan “On Application of the New Finance Mechanism within the Higher Education Institutions”.
Master’s programs are grouped into 59 majors. To guide the bachelor applicants through the process of examination and admission, the SSAC published the admission programs, admission rules and call for applications, recommendations and tables related to the major selection, test item samples, results of the contest, passing scores and other essential information in the issues of the “Magistr” journals. Furthermore, in 2014, the SSAC achieved to assess preparedness of applicants for the first phase exam of the graduate admission. Initially, a trial examination was conducted to enable bachelor applicants to assess their level of preparation, become accustomed with the environment of the examinations and release unnecessary stress of coming examinations. The conduction of the trial examination took place in accordance with almost the same procedures and requirements of the admission examination. 2331 perspective applicants participated in the trial examination.
Application admission for graduate education was conducted via Internet. Admission examination was implemented in the two phases later on:
- In the first phase of the examination, the logical thinking (quantitative, spatial and verbal reasoning), foreign language and computer science skills of bachelor applicants were checked through the paper-based test examination conducted on March 2, 2014. Those applicants who managed the terms of the admission contest gained the right to take part in the second phase of the examination.
- In the second phase of the examination, the proficiency of bachelors’ major was examined through the paper-based test examination on May 23, 2014. Some of bachelor applicants were provided with the response-constructed test items for the predefined majors of the admission programs.
The bachelors, who selected majors of certain programs, answered in written form to the questions presented to them.
As in undergraduate admission, in graduate examinations bachelors favoring Journalism-related majors attended aptitude examinations. Bachelors, who received the opportunity to participate in the second stage gained right to attend this examination, regardless of their majors. For this purpose, bachelors attended interviews organized by the SSAC. Those who passed the interview selection successfully chose Journalism major and attended examinations, where they were required to write an essay on certain themes.
After the applications are submitted, there are two consecutive examinations with an interval of three months.