Quota 2 students perform better
The debate on quota 1 (in which the students are enrolled on the basis of their GPA) vs. quota 2 (in which the enrolment is based on an overall assessment) and completion rates reignites over and over again. Danish newspaper Politiken has used figures from the Ministry of Science to demonstrate that students enrolled via quota 1 complete their studies faster. Unfortunately, this debate provides a distorted view of strengths and weaknesses.
CBS is in possession of comprehensive data material, which shows that students enrolled via quota 2 more often are delayed than quota 1 students. However, they do not tend to drop out as often. If we include all students enrolled in a bachelor programme via quota 1 and quota 2, the tendency shows that more students enrolled via quota 2 complete their studies on time than those enrolled via quota 1.
The problem with the new numbers from the Ministry of Science is also that the Ministry uses five-year studies in their computations, while Danish university programmes take 3 years (undergraduate) or 2 years (graduate). You are only enrolled via quota systems when you apply for a 3-year programme. In principle, the 2-year master programmes have free access for qualified applicants. Therefore, the Ministry's completion rate numbers do not give a fair view of the situation. At CBS, half of the master students come from other Danish universities and other countries. The Ministry's figures do probably not give a fair view of several other programmes in other universities as well.
The arguments against quota 2 build on the notion that it is possible to encourage students to rush through their studies and enter the job market if the possibilities of taking detours are limited. In traffic, high speed leads to shorter travelling time - but more accidents! If we apply this to the education sector, it means that quota 1 students run faster, but the dropout rates are higher. The net result is that fewer people reach their destination.
We use quota 2 and are pleased that we have the right to, but we find it disappointing if a one-sided focus on the completion rates leads to restrictions on quota 2. The behavioural pattern of the two groups shows that quota 1 students more or less react to problems by dropping out, while quota 2 students dig in their toes and complete - with a greater risk of becoming delayed.
This contribution was posted on Altinget on 18 June.
For more information, please contact Sven Bislev, Vice Dean for Education on email: firstname.lastname@example.org.