Korea: High Schoolers to Take English Ability Test in 2013

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Jan 23 15:05:24 UTC 2008

High Schoolers to Take English Ability Test in 2013

By Kang Hyun-kyung
Staff Reporter

High school students will be asked to take an English ability test
from 2013 and submit their scores for college admissions, said the
chairwoman of the presidential transition team Tuesday.

The measure is part of a three-stage plan to phase out the regulatory
measures regarding university authorities' selecting their students.

Transition Team Chairwoman Lee Kyung-sook told a press conference in
Seoul that the alternative language ability test will replace the
English test, which is part of the current college scholastic ability

The English ability test to be introduced in 2013 is a requirement for
all high school students who prepare for college admissions and they
can submit the highest score they obtained in the tests which will
take place three or four times a year.

Lee explained that the current language test in the college scholastic
ability test revealed limitations as those who achieved high scores in
the language test could not speak English properly.

The team members shared the need to change the test dramatically to
improve students' English speaking skill.

She said that the transition team is working on the details of the
ability test and the specific elements of the test will be announced

With the adoption of the plan, the current score ranking system, which
classifies the students' academic ability from level 1 through 9 based
on the scores each student earned in the college scholastic ability
test, will be replaced by the new ranking system.

The transition team said the newly introduced system will include
score and percentile ranking of students, along with each student's
achievement level.

According to the plan, the education ministry will phase out its
intervention in selecting university students from next year.

Lee said that the ultimate goal of the plan is to give the
universities complete autonomy in selecting their students from 2013.

Lee said the incoming government will revise the relevant law by May
to transfer the right to make the basic plan for the college
scholastic ability test for university admissions to the Council for
University Education (CUE) from the education ministry.

As a result, universities will be allowed to decide the specific
ratios of high school grade point averages (GPA) and the score of the
college scholastic ability test on their own from next year.

The education ministry set the guidelines advising universities to
take into account 50 percent of high school GPAs when they select

Universities disagreed with the policy claiming that the guidelines
undermined their autonomy. The ministry and the universities are
divided regarding the policy.

Pointing out that many universities did not follow the guidelines,
Rep. Lee Ju-ho of the Grand National Party said the new plan will not
cause confusion to students and parents.

hkang at koreatimes.co.kr

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