[Letters] What assessment tests miss
After reading Kim Tae-Joon’s letter [“Who’s afraid of assessment tests?”, March 16], I began to wonder whether he was really talking from the perspective of an “ordinary high school student,” as he claimed. I strongly suggest that he look at the problem from a broader perspective.
The assessment test is an inappropriate, ineffective and outdated method of measuring student achievement.
To begin with, assessment tests are based on multiple-choice questions, which can only measure memorized facts. This only worsens the problem of students lacking creativity and originality, one of the biggest problems of Korean education. Also, tests based on simple academic knowledge disregard students with special skills or ability, such as student-athletes. Since these tests only take the students’ ability to solve problems into account, those who may excel at sports or arts suffer from being branded as students who don’t help raise schools’ average scores. The government should support these students in developing their abilities to promote a more diverse society, rather than discouraging them.
Moreover, many educational experts say that the assessment test is an outdated method that has already been proven ineffective and that almost no other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development use. Korea’s tests are said to be based on similar tests in foreign countries, such as the United States and Britain. But those nations are currently [rethinking] such tests, or have already done so. England and Japan, or even we, 10 years ago, banned standardized national scholastic assessment tests due to their side effects, including the ranking of students and schools. U.S. President Barack Obama has indicated he wants to reform the “No Child Left Behind” national assessment test.
The government has claimed it wants to bring up global leaders and talented students, to raise the nation’s overall capability. But, as a saying reminds us, you cannot reach your destination no matter how long you walk if you are heading in the wrong direction. Similarly, in order to nurture truly talented students, the government should try its best to develop each student in fields they are good at, rather than forcing them to take the same tests. Different methods should be adopted for different abilities. The government should realize that good scorers are not always good students.
Yuk A-ri, student,
Goyang Foreign Language High School
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