[EDITORIALS]Publicize school recordsThe debate over the system of ranking high schools is spreading. The Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union asserted that five universities in Seoul conducted essay exams and in-depth interviews in the year-round application process that were too difficult for students who followed the regular high school curriculum.
The universities said they would soon disclose the academic differences that exist among high schools in the country, after combining the school records and College Scholastic Ability Test scores. The Ministry of Education is putting pressure on universities that applied the high school ranking system, demanding that they take corrective measures and prevent this from happening again.
The conflict between the Education Ministry, the universities and the teachers’ union does not look pretty. The parents and students who are preparing for the remaining year-round admissions process feel extremely uncomfortable about this. Also, the announcement on the college admissions process for 2008 has been delayed, thus causing ninth graders who are considering applying to specialized high schools to become very nervous. If the three parties do not compromise, the damage will only be passed on to the students.
The reason colleges are applying the ranking system is that the records provided by high schools do not help to differentiate students according to academic performance. The grade inflation conducted at high schools is appalling. Half of the students are ranked in first place, and most students receive an “A.” If the high schools inflate grades this way, how can universities discern talented students?
The Education Ministry and the teachers’ union must not continue to insist that there is no academic difference among schools. The ministry’s method of merely forcing colleges to not use a ranking system is not advisable. At this point, data on school records, CSAT scores and the records of freshmen students should be revealed so that we can confirm the academic performances of high school students in Korea, and then provide a solution.
The ministry must first disclose the CSAT scores of students by school and region. And the universities, instead of making threats, must reveal data on the number of accepted students from each high school and the student records of college freshmen to show the inflation of grades in high schools.