[Letters] Who’s afraid of assessment tests?
Amid concerns and objections, the national scholastic achievement assessment test proceeded anyway. Now, it seems that there were some problems with the test, including misreporting of results by the Imsil Office of Education [in North Jeolla Province]. So, many people now say the test should not be continued.
However, as the president said, the test should be continued. I believe so, not because of what many politicians or experts on education say, but because, from the perspective of a high school student in Korea, it seems the right thing to do.
Many opponents of the test say that the result would give impetus to exposing the [education] gap between regions. However, I believe the argument came about because of a lack of understanding of the reality. I go to Kwangnam High School, which is considered to be one of the prestigious schools in Seoul (only due to its reputation of having produced many students who go to prestigious universities).
And right beyond the hill, there is Kwangyang High School which is considered to be less prestigious (also based on where its students go to college).
The people living in the district all know that Kwangnam is better than Kwangyang. Though there is no clear evidence of the academic gap, the people know this to be the situation. I also believe it is the case, not only specifically in our district, but in general. So, I believe exposing the academic gap through the test would not be the problem.
What the test would expose is what we all know about, and it would help the government to remedy the problematic imbalance among regions in terms of education.
There has also been a worry about the national scholastic achievement assessment test spurring more private education.
However, from the perspective of an ordinary high school student, this worry is not worth thinking about.
Students of Korean middle schools and high schools do not have it as easy as many adults might think. Between school and our own studies, we are all stuck in our schedules. Thus, the test which does not have even a small influence on students’ grades does not at all drive students to private academies to get better scores on that meaningless test.
I do not mean that students would just mess up on the test, but they would not make extra efforts to prepare for it. Thus, even if the test is continued, there is no worry that it would cause more reliance on private education.
Kim Tae-joon, student
Kwangnam High School, Seoul.