[EDITORIALS]Students’ heightened anxiety

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[EDITORIALS]Students’ heightened anxiety

It is midterm exam season at secondary schools nationwide. As a new university entrance system will go into effect in 2008, 10th graders, whose midterm exam results will be reflected in their university admissions, are nervous about their test results.
Under the new system, school records will have relative importance since the College Scholastic Ability Test will be reflected in grades, and special purpose high school graduates will get preferential treatment only when they apply to universities in their specialized fields. So, the 10th graders are struggling to get better grades by attending cram schools or visiting online classes for extracurricular lessons. It is even anticipated that students who spoil their tests might move from special purpose or independent schools to academic or vocational schools en masse.
When a new entrance system was introduced in the past, there was such an occurrence. Students, parents and schools feel pains while they adapt to the new system. Because of the relative evaluation system, students must compete with each other. If the education authorities want to calm down students’ and parents’ anxiety over school records, they must make sure schools manage the records strictly.
If schools inflate grades by asking easy questions, all students will be disadvantaged. Under the relative evaluation system, if there are too many students at the highest grade level, they will all be degraded to the next grade. It is necessary, therefore, to provide criteria with which schools can sort out those with the same scores.
In order to prevent confusion over the new system, universities must present their guidelines as soon as possible. If universities decide on their guidelines for the entrance exam, students can decide on their choice of departments and universities and prepare accordingly. The Education Ministry asked universities to prepare guidelines as soon as possible, but the reaction was lukewarm. There are even universities that think they can announce new guidelines in 2007.
They don’t seem to mind the anxiety of students and parents. The new system, under which students should attend tutoring classes to get the highest grades on the midterm exam, is no different from a lottery. Ultimately, we have to introduce an education system and a university entrance system that recognize differences among students, schools and regions.
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