Suggestion for Z Score related problem in university admission
Posted on July 30th, 2012

Shyam Ratnayake

Dear sir

I have a suggestion for Z -score mess,please publish it in order to get everyone in to the disscusion.I think ranking the two students populations based on a combined z score for a single competitive ranking list is not the best way. The two groups have sat for two different set of exam papers , therefore they should be ranked separately.

My suggestion is to , allocate a statistically calculated average percentage of university seats toƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ first attempt ALƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ student group, based on the past few years statistical average ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ number of ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ first try student suceeded in getting university seats, and allocate the rest of the seats to second and third attempt Al students.

If I put it simply,

1) Discard the system of combining or comparing z score of of two student groups for allocating university seats,


1)take the mean of the percentages of first time AL students who succeeded in getting university entry in last five years to each course of study ,and allocate the same percentage of seats for the first try student this time too.(either z score or any other criteria can be used but base should only be its own population’s z score, not the combined Z score of two population)

2)allocate the rest of seats to second and third try students(old syllabus).( they can use z score based selection criteria applicable to that student populations statistics only.,)

By this way two student populations are treated , compared and offered separately so that there will be no clashes between the groups.

So if i say it simply, for example, if an avarage of 40% second and third time AL students were taken in the past to medical faculty, allocate 40 % of medical faculty seats to old syllabus students this time as well, and allocate the rest 60 % to new syllabus first time AL students.Then its own z score base selection criteria can be applied to each of two groups seperatetly without mixing two zcores together.

Increasing the number of university seats is a good idea ,but normally this happens without any increase of facilities or funds , so ultimately the quality of university system would further dilute.In our times, suddenly 150 students batch was increased to 250, but nothing was given to accommodate the increased number of students, so every thing we had was diluted and passed to the second batch.The hostel room shared by two students had be shared by three or four students,the lecture hall which had only 150 seats had to be shared by 250 students . The increase student intake must be compensated with increased funds,facilities for the unversity system.

Thanks ,

Shyam Ratnayake


12 Responses to “Suggestion for Z Score related problem in university admission”

  1. Krishan Says:

    Most of the students think that increasing the intake is the only way to get some relief for us. This time numbers matter rather than the quality for most of us. There have been a series of supreme court verdicts on this issue , allocation of percentages of university seats have been repeatedly rejected by the Supreme Courts.

    SC always refer to previous verdicts , in 1980 percentages were rejected by the SC and in 2001 z scores and selecting students only on merit rather than on separate lists was approved.
    When they consider legal advice and statistical principals only way to get some relief for us is by further increasing the uptake for this year. Going to courts again might even further restrict chances of getting additional students in to the universities. All faculties may have to increase the uptake of students this year.

  2. S Perera Says:

    Obtaining a null and void Court decision on the currently available corrected results, released based on the recommendations of the Presidential committee, after the Supreme Court ruling is an impossible task even after another one or two years of legal proceedings. Previous results were made null and void, as the method used was unrecognized, never used before by the scientists anywhere else and in Sri Lanka it is now cancelled and not recognized by the Supreme courts. Calculations of Z score results were wrong in previous results.
    On the other hand Z score results released after the Supreme Court verdict is correct and it impossible to change and make them Null and void.

    Attempting to select on arbitrary percentages would give rise to hundreds of discrepancies in selections. For example selecting 87 in a district while ignoring 75 in the same district would end up with multiple court proceedings, it is not easy to defend that type of discrepancies. Now the students know their correct ranks, all published and well known.

    Current Z score results are based on number of students sat for the examination and those are percentiles based on number of candidates sat for the examinations on each subject stream. If there were more candidates sat from the new or old syllabus, depending on the numbers, corresponding proportions are selected. Affected students can be accommodated by absorbing extra students.

  3. bandara Says:

    I don’t think z scores would really work in this case because the two groups are measured with different instruments with different difficulty levels.Trying to do tinkering work with plain normal distribution Z Score results of two groups by combining them to rank the students is ridiculous. it had caused a tragedy for the student population.This is very wrong application of statistics theory in a wrong way.completely wrong model.
    Common ranking list based on z score is not correct in this case.If you forget the difficult levels of the tests for different populations , you can put 5 th grade scholraship students and AL students together on Z Score based model and take them also to the university. .This is wrong.The two population should be trated seperately.this is a case two tests, two diffdrent responses two different populations.
    Combining the two groups based on normal Guassian Distribution z Scoreos is a completely wrong system,wrong approach.If you need to put them in to a single ranking list , your math model should be a very complex one based on response theories.

    other thing is, if they hang on to this wrong ranking list, how are they going to remedy the situation by accommodating more students?it cannot happen i saw an article , it says a student who had marks for medical course has been down graded to agriculture course. can he regain his old position if some number of seats are increased? no , students from the new group may get more opportunities ,while old group get very few chances .it will add to injustice.

    i welcome the idea of increase of intake, but do not repeat the situations like, we what we see in rajarata medical faculty. no teachers, no halls,no labs, no prof units,. those students are stranded,.

  4. Shamila Says:

    Now they say not to increase the numbers, very unfair… We heard that old syllabus candidates go for a 60 percent illogical figure while more students sat from the new syllabus,.
    it is misleading article actually old syllabus students ask for much more places. … without increasing the numbers they try to cutoff large number of new syllabus students in Mathematics , Business Studies, biology and arts. How can they decide a percentage without considering the number of students sat in each syllabus?
    Now how can they get a much higher percentage! .. while lesser proportion sat for the examination, there might be intervenient respondents along with previously successful lawyers speaking behalf of government and the examinations department?
    Intervenient respondents from the new syllabus might join the main respondents from the Ministry of Education.

  5. bandara Says:

    according to divaina headline today ,again a court case ,

    true ..,previous z score based list is null and void , that is correct.Accepted , its loudable judgement.
    suprim court new ruling is to calculate z scores seperately for the two groups , that also right.

    but suprim court has not given any ruling for this ridiculous combining of two groups in this way.the ruling was to apply acceptable stat principles after calculating z scores seperatly to select students.this combining of two groups is a comical blunder our stat profs and experts have done , thisis not a accepted stat principle used anywhere in the world to rank students in different exams.. if there is any please show ,me a case. (not in sri lanka)
    YOu cant simply combine results of two differents populations who sat for two different tests.if it is possible , some one can agrue to combine arts stream results and bio stream resuts using this funny stat model to select medical students.
    you cant put them together in one list.thats why advance countries like USA use complex stat theories like item response theroy in exams like GRE which is taken by people of different disceplines.
    .If the syllabus are different exams dept sould have set a suitable common paper and use that kind of response probabilty based marking system to place the students in a common list. now gone is gone, only available option is to allocate probabilty based percentages to each groups and use the pure aggrigate based or z score based system to rank the students wthin their own group allocate the quota of seats , they can use the past years data to extrapolate .we have to assume this is the percentage they might get if both groups sat for a common paper like in the past.
    by this way, the best students who scored high marks in both groups are assured of university entry whereas in the current system Even the students who scored 3As are behind the student who have 3B in the other group.
    If the universities can accomodate more students that also should be distruibuted on the same basis to compensate the shortcomings.

  6. Shamila Says:

    Earnest appeal,
    please increase the numbers.. for the benefit of all students without affecting future of any group of students. It is the new syllabus students silently suffer without making any disruption or protest.

    They never ask to restrict number of students. …Educated decent students silently suffer. Here all are affected due to uncertainties.

  7. S Perera Says:

    All students need some relief. With the support of several UNP members of parliament old syllabus students can get more places, leader of opposition also support the students. Opposition MPs always stick to principals, position is very clear MPs never abandon students.

  8. Krishan Says:

    UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that the UNP was willing to take the issue to the streets

    Mr. Kariyawasam pointed out that the government had politicized the entire education sector which had completely broken down.

    “The entire sector has been politicized, many issues including those with lecturers have surfaced because of this reason. The government has to establish an independent commission to investigate all these , he has said.

  9. yohan.9 Says:

    percentages create more problems.
    Old syllabus maths students will be in a worse position… if they agree into a percentage quota system. Existing , already qualified old syllabus maths students will also lose any chances of getting in to the engineering faculty.

    There will be more problems on arbitrarily determined percentages in each subject steam. We can’t agree to any percentages…. Without messing up again respect the court order.. and try to increase the intake.

    Messup was cleared by the ruling, again try to modify and get into a worse mess. old syllabus maths students don’t agree with the new plan of the UGC ..

  10. fernando Says:

    very much agree with the suprime court order in calaulating these two populations seperately and I respect the ecourt ordre with honour. Now the old syllabus students have filed a petiotion declaring that the UGC has not acted according to the court order because the ranking has not been done seperately. Therefore it is the UGC’s responsibility to correct the mistake. so the UGC has to considre these populations seperately in preparation of the rankings also.

    The matter we should considre next is the proportins of the university entrants. If old syllabus students say, in order to treat everyone equaly, fifty percent of university entrants should be allocated to each faculty, it would be very unfair.

    approximately 144,000 new syllabus students sat for AL 2011 while only 99,000 old syllabus students sat for the same examination. If we allocate fifty percent for that small number it will be very much unfair to new syllabus students.

    For the 2012 AL examination there are 235,774 new syllubus students while 41,323 are under old syllabus. next year the gap will become more and more.

    Therafore the best solution is after preparing seperate rank lists student should be selected according to the propotion of the number rof candidates. For example 144,000 : 99,000 ͌ 60 :40. If the district quater for medicine in a district is 60, we should selct the first 36 in the new syllabus order and first 24 in the old syllabus order.

  11. Krishan Says:

    Why do they have to determined percentages sat for the examinations again.
    It is always advisable to obtain legal advice from other law firms,
    opinion obtained from other legal firms might provide better
    suggestions to defend multiple legal proceedings on the same issue. If
    the close associates have vested interests, they might even not
    hesitate to put the chairmen in to serious trouble and achieve their
    personal ambitions.

    Presidential committee appointed after the Supreme Court verdict
    finalized and solved the issue of percentages, proportionate
    percentages representing number of candidates sat from each
    examination under each subject steam has now been achieved and
    accurate results have been released. Increase in numbers by each
    university and each faculty would accommodate more and more affected
    students according to their correct ranks on the basis of current
    results. Committee headed by the secretary to the president has
    provided results according to the Supreme Court order. There is no
    question of complying with court order as long as UGC do not attempt
    to manipulate current results.

    Previous results released before the recorrection was only provisional
    and it is written and well documented in the results sheet that
    provisional results can be changed after recorrection. Nobody was
    given any assurance that they will be selected, cutoff ranks were not
    known, there are thousands of grievances means those who were not
    selected under any circumstances also claim that they would have been
    selected. Actually there is no issue of compensation. Those numbers
    in thousands are exaggerated and unfounded claims and it is now
    politicized, opposition MPS personally involved in making this an
    issue. Anyway old result is now null and void according to the SC
    verdict, and the students were never issued any letters pertaining to
    university selection.

    Once a solution is provided UGC should be able to protect and comply
    with the solution, and they should be able to increase the numbers
    within the same frame-work without going back to a messy situation
    again. By declaring different and variable percentages each and every
    day, credibility kept on those figures has been completely lost. One
    day they say 56 percent, the other day same people come out with an
    arbitrary figure of 53 percent. Some other person gives another
    figure, Department of examinations say some other figures. Definitely
    they are asking for more trouble in court cases.

    Anybody understands basic statistics know that various figures and
    percentages given as lost opportunities are deliberate lies. Current
    results released after Supreme Court verdict maintain proportions who
    sat for the examinations. This verdict stands for next year and future
    examinations as well. To change the results to obtain different
    proportions UGC has to lose another Court case then they will be
    confirmed that they have not complied with the Supreme Court order.
    Current results are correct and it is not possible to obtain another
    type of figures. Any attempt made by the UGC to manipulate results
    issued by the Department of examination can raise more legal
    complications UGC chairmen is already under observation from a Supreme
    Court order, separation or artificial percentages made on existing
    results creates more issues as it is obvious now and ranks have now
    been exposed, general public is aware of the correct ranks. Only
    solution is to increase the numbers in both new and old syllabus on
    the basis of currently available legally acceptable ranks. Once
    exposed and corrected and taken up in the Supreme Courts, further
    discrepancies produced in university admissions can create unnecessary
    complications in the entire process of University admission. Stick to
    the Supreme Court verdict, stick to the recommendations of the
    committee appointed by the President and stick to the correct results
    and ranks released by the department of examinations, and try to
    increase the numbers to accommodate affected students.
    Whatever the increases in numbers made can be added to the selections
    made on merit basis in order to give additional chances to best
    students affected.

    Correct proportions and percentages and ranks on
    the basis of number of students sat would be maintained on the results
    released on the basis of presidential committee. Any attempt to
    prepare separate lists would give rise to discrepancies disagreements
    and legal issues. Stick to a single cut off mark in each district and
    increase in overall numbers would set the cut off marks at a lower
    level accommodating more students and less likely to create legal
    issues as there are no discrepancies in selections. Substantial
    Increase made on selections made on merit basis gives better chances
    of students with higher grades to enter universities. Selection
    process needs to be done without inconsistencies that should be
    legally acceptable and should not create more and more legal
    complications. Already new syllabus students have started to grumble
    on examination papers prepared for them this time.
    There are indications that legal issues may arise this year as well, therefore
    the same procedure should be applicable without messing up in the next
    year selection as well. Some thing is wrong, Once resolved and clened up why should people go
    back to a messup again.

  12. Krishan Says:

    Advanced level results and admissions have been messed up last year and this year as well. UGC and additional secretary Priyantha Premakumara are still messing up with A/L results that is the reason why more than one year delay for university admissions this time. They will never be able to finalize on this way. There are several zero percentages in both old and new syllabuses, as there were no applicants in recent the years, they cannot give a cut off for many faculties as it is obvious the allocated numbers of students from many districts are zero. Most of the percentages are extremely low for one side or the other, figures cannot be generalized using small numbers such as two or three applicants interested in the past generalized to figures like zero percent twenty percent etc. That is the reason why they do not publish allocated students. Admissions will be arbitrary and irregular. There are major discrepancies in every subject stream. They cannot face the public. There is a standard method of giving a cut off mark, UGC cannot resolve this until they follow the correct and long established method of university admissions.

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