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Changes to CCA and CIP for university admission



The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will adopt a qualitative approach in considering Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) of ‘A’-level and polytechnic applicants for university admission from 2007. The Singapore Management University has had a qualitative scheme for considering CCA from the outset.
To allow for a more holistic and meaningful assessment of students’ qualities, the universities will look at students’ involvement and achievements in CCAs and the Community Involvement Programme (CIP) for evidence of desired attributes such as leadership, creative flair, passion and commitment.
CCA, which is currently given a quantitative score, will instead be assessed qualitatively under the universities discretionary admission system. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has agreed to this change in admission procedures for NUS and NTU from 2007.
With the move to a more flexible and qualitative scheme for considering the CCA experience of applicants to NUS and NTU, it will no longer be necessary to have a fixed CCA points system for junior college (JC) and Centralised Institute (CI) students applying to university from 2007 onwards. MOE will remove the CCA grading system, PEARLS, for first year students in JCs starting from this year[1].
At the same time, MOE will remove the minimum 6-hour requirement for CIP for all students in JCs and the CI from this year. The CIP scheme, introduced in 1998, is now a vibrant feature of JC life.
The JCs and CI will henceforth have autonomy in integrating CIP into their curriculum to best meet and respond to the needs and interests of their students. CIP will remain an integral component of the JC curriculum.
The changes in CCA and CIP are consistent with extensive feedback from JC students. The changes are also in line with MOE and JC/CI’s efforts to encourage students to engage in CCA on the basis of interest and passion rather than the points they get for a particular activity.
The shift in the 6-hour requirement for CIP will also encourage students to take initiative and focus on the quality of their involvement in the community, as many already do.
Towards Qualitative Assessment of CCAs and CIP for JCs and the CI
CCAs and the CIP are integral to a balanced and holistic education in our schools. They provide opportunities for character building and nurture life skills and attributes such as leadership, teamwork and compassion.
Currently, CCA constitutes 5% of the University Admission Score. For university admission from 2007, NUS and NTU will integrate CCA as part of the discretionary admission scheme instead of the University Admission Score.
The discretionary admission scheme was introduced in 2004 to allow the two universities to consider a broader range of intellectual and character attributes besides students’ performance in the GCE ‘A’ level examinations. Currently, the scheme allows for up to 10% of students to be admitted on a discretionary basis.
Under their respective schemes for discretionary admission, NUS and NTU will look for evidence of these broader attributes in an applicant’s CCA contributions and achievements, and his involvement in CIP. Together with the University Admission Score, which will comprise the applicants’ ‘A’ level score, this would determine an applicants’ suitability for entry into the university.
The move to a qualitative and more holistic assessment of CCA and other attributes is in line with admission practices in many reputable universities overseas.
Students who would have benefited from the current system of 5% allocation to CCA points will be given full consideration for their CCA achievements under the discretionary admission framework from 2007. Students with impressive CCA records or leadership abilities can in fact be given fuller and more flexible recognition under the new system.
The details of the modified NUS and NTU admission systems to consider CCA for 2007 admission are at Annexes A and B respectively. There is no change in the computation of University Admission Scores for the 2005 and 2006 admission exercises.
This qualitative approach to CCA and CIP will support efforts in JC/CI to encourage students to follow their interests and passions, and to take greater ownership of their CCA and CIP involvement. Feedback received from students and their JCs/CI have indicated that there is difficulty in fully capturing and quantifying students’ efforts and contributions under the current grading system.
CIP will remain integral to the JC and CI curriculum for all students. Each JC/CI will work out its own CIP programme, so as to maximise the room for initiative and leadership by students. Feedback from students and school leaders show that the vast majority of students are keen to engage in community work, and will want to participate actively in CIP activities.
Recognition of CCA and CIP for Scholarship Awards
The Public Service Commission (PSC) will continue to look at scholarship applicants’ participation and achievements in CCA and CIP within the new qualitative framework for these activities in the JC/CI.
PEARLS was implemented in 2000 for JCs and CI, and quantifies CCA involvement (Participation, Enrichment, Achievement, Representation, Leadership and Service) into points. The points are used for admission to NUS and NTU and for Scholarship selection by some agencies.
Community Involvement Programmes (CIP)
The Community Involvement Programme (CIP) is one of the key strategies for National Education. Implemented in 1998, the overarching mission of the CIP is to nurture every student to be socially responsible and to help them understand that every Singaporean has a role in enhancing the well being of the community and the country, thus preparing them for a lifetime of active citizenship.
University Admissions System
For the transition year of 2005, the admissions system provides the option to include or to omit SAT I scores. For those whose SAT I scores are counted, 5 bonus points are awarded for CCA (see option A of the table below). For those whose SAT I scores are not counted, CCA forms 5% of the university admission score (see option B of the table below).
For 2006, CCA will form 5% of the university admission score (see option B of the table below).








Up to 5 bonus points





5% (included in 100% score)

Note: Option (a) is the scoring formula if applicants’ SAT I scores are counted while Option (b) is the formula if the applicants choose not to submit their SAT I scores. The universities will consider the higher of the two options for university admission in 2005, as some applicants could have already sat for SAT I earlier. Universities will consider only option (b) in 2006.
More..... (Annexes)

Source: Ministry of Education Press Release 9 Mar 2005

[1]In consultation with Millennia Institute (MI), MOE has decided to also remove the PEARLS system for both first and second year students at the institute. This year’s final-year students at the JCs and the CI who apply to NUS or NTU would continue to have their PEARLS scores considered for admission in 2006, as in current practice.


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10 March 2005