Is it possible for a student with all "A" grades in his or her Higher School Certificate to miss out on tertiary selections?
The answer is Yes.
To explain this, lets use the selection criteria for Law at UPNG as an example (not official).
To study Law at the University of Papua New Guinea, the requirement is all "A" grades across in all subjects studied at the secondary schools (see UPNG website for subject specification)
Then how can a student with "A" grades across all subjects miss out on studying Law at UPNG?
Well, there are several reasons for this.
1. The student has not met the maximum Tertiary Selection Score (TSS).
A student may have "A' grade on his or her certificate but the interpretation of that 'A' grade to the selectors is different.That 'A' grade is divided as follows;
-A A A+
Applying the norm referencing for Grading, for instance if the cut-off for an 'A' grade in Language and Literature is 70 and above, then ;
- A 70 - 80
A 81 - 90
+ A 91 - 100
So now you see the type of 'A' grade a student may have on his / her certificate, whether that 'A' grade on the certificate is 'weak', 'medium' or 'strong'. It is the job of the Measurement Services Division to indicate it
on the certificates in the future.
The Measurement Services Division provides the selectors with the Tertiary Selection Scores (exam results) besides their Grades.
For example : The following people applied to study Law at UPNG
Tom got "A" grade in Language & Literature with TSS : 80 = A (80)
Dick got "A" grade in Language & Literature with TSS : 90 = A (90)
Aren't both Tom and Dick have "A" grades in L&L ? However, who is likely to be selected for Law at UPNG with good grades in Language & Literature? Definitely Dick because he scored 90 in his final examination results and has 'strong' A grade compared to Tom who scored 80 and also got an A grade.
This also applies to those students who have B, C, D & E grades .
Note: Selectors do not go by GPA rather they look at TSS. Thus, the type of Grades student have on their certificate are viewed differently by selectors so do not calculate your GPA and get frustrated if you miss out because you never know the type of A's and B's you have.
2. Limited Space
If 4000 students are applying for 120 spaces available for Law at UPNG and 300 students getting "A" grades across all subjects, then how do selectors scale this to 120 students according to the spaces they have at UPNG?
Again, the selectors use the TSS and select the students who have maximum score. Therefore, 180 ( 300 - 120 = 180 ) students with "A" will miss out.
Please note that this is an example to clarify why students miss out.
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