Time for University Reform

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Time for University Reform

A controversy is brewing between the government and universities over the status of the Korean Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The Ministry of Education recently announced a new KSAT system, where instead of reporting the raw scores of all subjects of the examination and ranking students from best to worst, the government will simply rank students into one of nine categories based on their overall performance in the exam. The categories will simply be the numbers one to nine with students falling in the number one class being those who scored highest on the exam. The examinees will no longer be able to obtain the exact results of their scores in an attempt to reduce competition resulting from the ranking of students.

The ministry also hopes the changes will enhance the value of other criteria, such as high school grades, interviews, or certificates that the student possesses.

An official at the Ministry of Education said "the present absurd omnipotence of the KSAT will disappear," while an admission clerk at a local university stated "I understand the intention of the total score abolition, but by what criteria will the college be able to select the student?"

A professor from a leading private university in Korea was quoted as saying, "apart the KSAT score, give me a reliable criterion for student selection." Professors worry that parents and students will reject the new system in favor of the old one.

It is high time for universities to change. In the past, universities focused blindly on the test score without considering other factors. The college just selected so-called "excellent students" because of their high scores.

According to an overseas report, nine universities, including the University of Colorado, have introduced such factors as communication, conflict resolution and hobbies of the student as criteria for college entrance. Many universities in the U.S. select talented students regardless of their SAT scores.

Universities must create fair criteria to select students and announce their plans for student selection so anxious students and their parents will know what to expect and be prepared.

by Kang Hong jun

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