[EDITORIALS]The CSAT and the media

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[EDITORIALS]The CSAT and the media

Although the initial prediction for this year's College Scholastic Ability Test was that the average score would go up 10 to 15 points, the sample scores collected from several categories of testees showed average scores down two or three points. This has confused students who took the CSAT. A female student committed suicide because she was disheartened by press reports that forecast that the average score would rise. An incorrect press report resulted in the loss of a student's life. We reflect on the reporting and admit that we have to find other ways to cover the issue.

The CSAT is a requirement for college entrance and is taken by over 670,000 students nationwide. It attracts national attention and causes psychological stress to students, their families and relatives and friends. Since people's attention to the trends of the test, the degree of difficulty and the rise and fall of the average score is high, the competition among newspapers is hot. As was the case in previous years, newspapers collected information from testees, teachers and cram schools before they reported that the test score would rise.

Such predictions are risky under any circumstances. The hidden variable this year was the high test scores of those who graduated from high school this year but failed to enter a college in March and the relatively lower scores of current high school seniors. In order to prevent future confusion over incorrect prediction of scores, the Korean Institute of Curriculum Evaluation was scheduled to announce the average score of each test area on Thursday, one day after the test, by scoring some 40,000 sample papers. Because of the impatience of the media, they did not wait for the announcement and reported faulty data.

The nation is in a CSAT fever because it is a test that determines not only college admissions but students' future lives. In the present test system, the test score is the most important factor. In order to improve the situation, it would be better to change the test to a qualification certificate system and give universities more independence in admissions. It would also be good to diversify the test pattern and give the test more than once a year.
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