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Should Cut-off Marks Be Released After UTME?

Have you ever wondered if Post-UTME cut-off marks should be released before or after JAMB UTME? Well, you may not be alone. This question would likely have come up during meetings by the admission panels of tertiary institutions in Nigeria at least once.

From our end as stakeholders in the education sector and being part of the education ecosystem, we are going to look at what could be the best approach to releasing cut-off marks in terms of when they should be released.

RELATED: JAMB Cut-off Marks Over The Years (2007 – Date).

The concept of cut-off marks is such that tertiary institutions would have a minimum percentage of marks that candidates should secure to gain admission into their desired program in the school. Initially, before the advent of Post-UTME, after you write JAMB and secure a good score, the school admissions panel will review the JAMB scores of other candidates before placing each candidate into programs. That changed in 2005.

Should JAMB Cut-off Marks Be Released Before or After UTME

During the Obasanjo administration, there was a need to validate the competence and qualifications of candidates being admitted into schools. The JAMB scores were not enough due to the spate of examination malpractices linked with the national exam.

Tertiary institutions felt they have more confidence in their internally conducted entrance exams, now termed Post-UTME, to verify whatever score a candidate submits as their JAMB score. The Post-UTME exams were set up to remedy the mediocre quality of students being offered admission into institutions of higher learning.

For admission purposes, there are two categories of cut-off marks: school’s and department’s. The school would have a general cut-off mark required of any candidate seeking admission into the school to have secured regardless of their choice of program or course.

To further drill down, some specialized departments that receive lots of applications such as Medicine, Engineering, Law, and some applied sciences seek to separate the wheat from the chaff and by that also put down their cut-off marks for candidates to be admitted into their programs despite having been admitted into the institution.

As of now, schools release their admission cut-off marks both for school and department after JAMB has released theirs depending on the pass rate of students. What we will be dissecting in this post is whether the cut-off marks of Post-UTME should be released before or after JAMB UTME.

From the candidate’s perspective, if the schools decide to release their admission cut-off marks before JAMB Post-UTME, it may help the student seeking admission into a particular program set a target score to achieve to be eligible for admission into that school and that program.

RELATED: JAMB Cut-off Mark for Medicine and Surgery.

If the Post-UTME cut-off mark is released after JAMB UTME, it may hardly favour the candidate because when the candidate does not have a mark to use as a benchmark, they use the cut-off mark of the previous year which may be changed. At this point, the candidate would have to start looking for other courses that accept their cut-off mark.

From the school’s perspective, releasing their admission and departmental cut-off marks before the JAMB UTME could leave them in a dicey situation.

If the school had already set a cut-off mark for admission into the school pre-JAMB UTME, it would put the school in a more complex situation after the JAMB scores are released if lots of candidates that selected them as either the first or second choice meet the cut-off marks or even more.

Let us bear in mind that every institution has a specified quota or number of students they can admit each year and once they have set a certain cut-off mark pre-JAMB UTME, they would have to start dealing with how to prune down the number of candidates. They do that in order not to exceed the number of candidates they can admit for that year.

This may mean several meetings upon meetings by the school’s admission committee to determine other criteria to prune down the admission list.

Having taken looked at it from both the student’s and school’s perspective, it would be a matter of opinion to decide which is better.

Which will bring us to the question: should admission into institutions of higher learning be student-centric, i.e., should it look towards favoring the students or favoring the school, or should it tend more towards favoring the schools. In education, learning should be student-centric, right?

ALSO SEE: Why Do Colleges of Education Have The Lowest Cut-Off Marks?

But what would become of quality in terms of the kinds of graduates the schools churn out?

These are questions we can ponder on for us to know which side of the divide we want to be on as regards the best time to release Post-UTME cut-off marks—whether before or after JAMB UTME.

Ahmed Ogundimu

Ahmed Ogundimu is a Web Designer and Developer, Digital Marketing Expert and SEO Manager. I enjoy finding solutions to problems and sharing same, hence the reason for creating www.ngscholars.com and some other websites I own. I work as a web developer at Sigmanox NG and also as the web administrator/editor at NGScholars. Follow me on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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