Before the members of the Education Commission of the Lower House, the rector Aldo Valle detailed the actions taken for the rendering of the University Selection Tests (PSU) and the continuity of the 2020 Admission Process.
The university authority called not to transform the difficulties that this process has experienced into a political dispute. "It is not responsible to the country, it is not responsible to families and it is not responsible for the drama that Chile is experiencing," he said.
The executive vice president of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH), Rector Aldo Valle, presented this Thursday before the Education Commission of the Lower House, which was convened especially to analyze the events that occurred during the application of the University Selection Test (PSU), during January 6 and 7, 2020 and that prevented his normal surrender.
The session was also attended by the Undersecretary of Higher Education, Juan Eduardo Vargas; the rector of the University of Chile, Ennio Vivaldi; and the director of the Department of Educational Evaluation, Measurement and Registration (DEMRE) of the University of Chile, Mrs. María Leonor Varas; together with the spokesperson for the National Coordinator of Secondary Students (CONES), Valentina Miranda; and student representatives and guardians.
On the occasion, Rector Valle said that “I would like to make a call not to make this a contingent political dispute. It is not responsible to the country, it is not responsible to the families and it is not responsible for the drama that Chile is experiencing, with the condition of anomie that the country is experiencing, which cannot guarantee the rule of law (...) those roads have been opened, and obviously we are going to respond in accordance with the rule of law and the principles that inspire our legal system ”.
During the session, the executive vice president of CRUCH presented the measures adopted to guarantee the completion of the 2020 Admission Process after the start of the social outbreak, on October 18, 2019. In this context, he detailed the modification of the admission process calendar twice: on October 29 (when the surrender of the PSU was postponed to December 2 and 3) and on November 28 (when the date was postponed again to January 6 and 7).
Valle highlighted that throughout the period, permanent coordination has been maintained between CRUCH, the Undersecretary of Higher Education, and DEMRE.
The university authority detailed that on January 6 and 7 the PSU had to surrender in 729 locations, with a total of 297,437 registered. Of this universe, 44,226 people could not take the Language and Communication PSU (equivalent to the 15% of those enrolled); 37,396 applicants could not take the PSU of Science (equivalent to 20% of those enrolled) and 86,571 could not take the PSU of Mathematics (equivalent to 29% of those enrolled). To take the History, Geography and Social Sciences test, which had to be suspended minutes before the start due to a leak, 202,461 students had enrolled.
Continuity of the admission process
The authority of the Council of Rectors also referred to the courses of action arranged to ensure the continuity of the 2020 Admission Process, after the suspension of local surrender during the application of the PSU of Communication and Language, Sciences and Mathematics, as well as the total suspension of the national application of the evaluation of History, Geography and Social Sciences.
It should be remembered that on January 9, the CRUCH plenary session ruled that those who could not take the PSU of Mathematics and / or Language and Communication (both mandatory), due to the fact that the premises were disabled for security reasons, may do so the Monday, January 27. Meanwhile, applicants who for the same reasons did not take the Science Test (elective) may take it on Tuesday, January 28.
Valle affirmed that “we have met with the undersecretary of the Interior, Juan Francisco Galli, and with the high command of the Carabineros to guarantee that with the greatest precautions, with the greatest precautions, deploying all the capacity that Carabineros may have in the perimeter fences, in the control of the test materials and I call on all of us to make an effort, with a sense of nation, because we need this unity regarding this test ”.
Regarding the History test (elective), despite the unanimous opinion among the rectors of the convenience and importance of applying it, it will not be given for reasons of technical, logistical, territorial and public safety unfeasibility. In order not to harm the students who had registered said evaluation, and for the purpose of weighting to apply, this score for said applicants will be automatically replaced by the best score that the applicant has in any of the factors of the selection, either the Ranking score, Middle School Notes (NEM), PSU Mathematics, PSU Language and Communication or PSU Sciences.
In this context, Valle said that "the Council of Rectors must ensure the safety of students and will remain in this public responsibility, even putting its own admission system at risk."
The rector stated that “we have limitations of premises, examiners, and public security. In addition, taking this test would mean paralyzing the entire system for the vast majority of students ”. He added that “we must find a way that the system as a whole does not stop, but I do not deny that we have to evaluate the situation of those who may be in a condition of impairment, because a commitment is made. We have a public obligation with each and every one of the enrollees. We have to give them an answer and we are going to continue making that effort ”.
Schedule of changes to the admission system
During the session, the rector Valle also addressed the criticisms of the PSU and the Single Admission System (SUA) of the CRUCH. Along these lines, he recalled that international evaluations have been carried out (Consultant Pearson in 2013, advisory committee and Committee of Experts in 2017), each of which generated an agenda for improvements to the SUA and its instruments. These include the improvement of the metric characteristics of the instruments and the incorporation of pro-equity factors in access to higher education.
An agenda for modifications is currently underway, which implies –among other measures- incorporating a writing assessment; carrying out a logical framework study on the uses of the PSU and an international study on Ranking by Educational Context; the elimination of items in the Language PSU and an analysis of the Mathematics PSU on item difficulty in the assessment.
The executive vice president of CRUCH highlighted that in these two weeks they have held meetings with the National Coordinator of Secondary Students (CONES), the Chilean Student Confederation (CONFECH) and the NO + PSU Coordinator, instances in which ideas have emerged on how alleviate the deficits that exist in access to higher education.