[EDITORIALS]Supervise student recordsAbout 20 percent of 195 high schools in Seoul have inflated school academic records by giving over 30 percent of students A grades in each subject. In extreme cases, nearly 60 percent of students received A grades. Last year, some universities disclosed examples of distorted school records. This, in part, confirmed the disclosure. The methods employed are cunning. It is a commonplace for questionnaires in mid-term or term-end examinations to be copied from the year before, or are made even easier. The questions found in study-aid books were only slightly changed, and teachers even didn’t hesitate to suggest answers to questions in their classes in advance. The incident of a teacher giving answers to history and social life exams in place of a student was one way to inflate a student’s grades.
Schools tampering with school records are failing in their role as educational institutions. Giving higher grades may facilitate students’ entry into universities. But if students enter universities with exaggerated school records, they won’t be able to follow university lectures. And the lower scholastic ability of university students weakens national competitiveness. Schools and teachers should know that exaggerated school records ruin their students. It is hard to understand that the members of the Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union, an activist union, join in cheating school records. They raised their voice against other irregularities, but kept silent on distorted school records. The Education Ministry must make schools and teachers involved in the incident accountable, and punish them strictly.
As long as inflation of school records continue, it is not possible to allow students to enter universities based on school records. Universities can’t rely on current school records to evaluate scholastic ability.
Even after changing to an absolute evaluation system, it is difficult to prevent inflation of grades. The effect of absolute evaluation will diminish if there are too many same scorers because of easy questions. It is urgent, therefore, that the government supervise school records.
Universities must also be allowed the right to reflect gaps in scholastic ability among schools and regions. If inflation of school records is kept unchecked, it is not right to deny universities the right to grade high schools, revive entrance examinations and allow donation-based admissions.
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