[EDITORIALS]Another education reform

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[EDITORIALS]Another education reform

A new university entrance system will be implemented in 2008. The purpose of the new system is to normalize public education and reduce the reliance on private education by shifting the focus of university entrance evaluations from the College Scholastic Ability Test score to students’ school records. Whether the education environment of relying on cram schools rather than schools will change under a new system is unknown. The university entrance system has been changed 15 times, and the reason for every change was to revive public education. Nevertheless, the devastation of education has deepened. Why is that so? Reforming the university entrance system never guarantees the success of public education.
It is desirable that the new system improves the way of marking school records. By adopting a system of marking test scores together with grades showing students’ standing in their classes, universities can evaluate students’ academic ability more objectively. The current methods of absolute evaluation ― dividing students into five grades ― have encouraged high schools to inflate school records and, as a result, made universities rely more on College Scholastic Ability Test scores. Students’ activities on each subject and record of reading related to their future courses will be recorded for university entrance evaluation. The records will also show students’ abilities and talents. By making students aware that all these are recorded on the school records, we can make them faithful to their school life.
There are lots of problems, too. First, how can we guarantee fairness and trustworthiness of evaluations made by teachers? If students’ activities in each subject and their records in reading become important factors for university entrance, the intervention of parents in their children’s school lives will increase. And can teachers manage the increased workload of keeping records? It is also likely that students in the top bracket will become complacent with getting top marks. As the scholastic ability of students is lowered distinctively due to standardized education, we worry that the grade system will make selection of highly talented students even more difficult.
The new system allows universities to choose evaluation methods according to their situations. They must develop fair, original and autonomous evaluation methods that can be trusted by students and parents.
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