[EDITORIALS]Calming CSAT stress

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[EDITORIALS]Calming CSAT stress

Yet again, students are killing themselves over poor results on their College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT). The tragedy is not confined to the high school seniors and their family members. It makes us wonder if the CSAT is so critical as to prompt someone to commit suicide or if there are other alternatives. The suicides that follow the CSAT have become something of an annual event, which shows that the CSAT has many problems.
This year marks the 10th anniversary since the CSAT was launched, and this examination has become crucial for college admission. In all universities and colleges, the scores carry the most weight, and even corporations use the CSAT score when selecting new employees. But as the questions become more standardized and stereotyped, some point out that school education is being stripped down to merely memorizing and problem-solving. Also, we must reflect on whether the CSAT score adequately measures a student’s potential in college.
Hence, we must soon come up with ways to complement the virtues of, and modify the vices of, the College Scholastic Ability Test. The most urgent action is to increase the number of times the test is given. It is cruel to hold the test only once a year. A student could be ill on the day of the exam, or there could be a family emergency. In the case of the United States, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is held seven times a year.
This year, the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation, a body that oversees the CSAT, has implemented two mock CSATs. The difficulty level in the mock exams was similar to the real exam on Wednesday, so it does not appear to be necessary to have college professors and high school teachers meet for over a month to create CSAT questions. Also, if the 20,000 or so questions created over the years could be put in some sort of “questions bank,” then there would not be adverse effects from taking the exam several times. The CSAT should be held two or three times a year so that students have additional opportunities to improve their scores. Hopefully, next year no precious lives will be lost as a result of the CSAT.
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