The city’s oldest university will implement a new scoring system next year to reward those who have excelled in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) examination, giving bonus points for top grades which may help students get onto their desired programmes.
The University of Hong Kong on Saturday announced the new bonus points system, under which applicants would gain between 0.5 and 1.5 extra points if they scored Level 5, 5* or 5** – the top grade – in DSE subjects.
Under the change, pupils would get an extra half point for every DSE subject they attained Level 5 in and one extra point for any Level 5* grade. Those who scored Level 5** would be awarded 1.5 extra points.
Previously, Level 5 was worth five points, 5* six points and 5** seven points. So for a pupil who achieved a Level 5 and 5**, their new score would be 5.5 points and 8.5 points respectively.
If pupils passed their exams with a Level 5 grade in six subjects, their new score would be 33 points instead of 30.
While the scheme was intended to further recognise and reward pupils for their academic achievements, Professor John Spinks, the director of undergraduate admissions, said the system could also help those who had not done so well in a subject.
“Some students might not be strong in one or two subjects for various reasons, but on the other hand perform excellently by achieving Level 5, 5* or 5** in others,” he said.
“So this can actually make up for the lower scores if students achieve a similar number of higher scores that reflect their ability to excel in those subjects.”
Most DSE candidates take four core subjects – Chinese and English languages, mathematics and liberal studies – and two or three elective subjects.
A member of the Education 2.1 think tank, Tai Hay-lap said the move could add more diversification to the university.
“This shows they want their students to be more diverse. Faculties are no longer sticking to rigid numbers and requiring all their applicants to have a certain score on the four core subjects when admitting students,” he said.
The system, however, would not apply to bachelor of medicine, bachelor of pharmacy and bachelor of biomedical sciences programmes until 2020.
In addition, the institution said it had no plans to adopt a lower minimum admission requirement. To enter a local university, students need at least 14 points.
“HKU has been attracting the best students in Hong Kong through its doors. The minimum score necessary to get into HKU is already some way above that of any other universities, so we do not intend to make any changes to the requirement,” Spinks added.