중앙데일리

Essays could soon replace school exams

Dec 18,2010
In an attempt to prevent students from concentrating only on school tests, the Seoul Office of Education said on Monday that it is considering abolishing exams and replacing them with essays to encourage creativity and decrease reliance on private education.

At a seminar held by the education office on Monday, Choe Gwan-ui, a teacher of Daemyeong Elementary School, gave a presentation on abolishing school exams.

In the presentation, Choe proposed that all elementary schools in Seoul abolish exams for grades one through three and that schools only administer final exams for grades four to six.

“The more tests there are, the more the students, especially those in elementary school, tend to lose interest in their studies or develop negative feelings about themselves,” Choe said.

Currently, all public and private elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul administer one or two exams a year - a midterm and a final exam.

Choe also proposed that essays or projects replace the current exam format of multiple choice and short-answer questions.

Son Wung, director of the Seoul Education Office’s School Policy Division, said the education office would consider Choe’s recommendations.

“After compiling all of the opinions within the office, we will announce a plan for school exams at the end of the month,” he said.

The Seoul Education Office also announced new rules for field trips, which will go into effect at the start of the 2011 school year in March.

Under the new rules, field trips will be smaller and organized per class, rather than per grade as they are now.

“Large field trips are not an effective means of education, and travel agencies may be tempted to bribe school principals in exchange for the business such trips provide,” said Kim Yeong-jo, the director of the Seoul Education Office’s School Health and Physical Education Division.

The new rules also state that the place and time of a field trip should be determined by homeroom teachers, not by principals.

The office said only 7.7 percent of elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul organize class field trips.

Wu Nam-il, the principal at Soongeui Girls’ High School, which has organized class field trips since 2000, welcomed the policy because he said it would ease the pressure of having to negotiate with travel agencies.

“[With the new rules,] I won’t feel pressured to make deals with travel agencies,” he said.


By Park Yu-mi, Kim Min-sang [heejin@joongang.co.kr]



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