[Letters] Flawed test lacks credibility, accuracy

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[Letters] Flawed test lacks credibility, accuracy

The debate over the usefulness of the NSAT for Korea’s schools has returned. On the day of the test, many students deliberately avoided taking it, and one student rights organization, Asunaro, even gathered in Seoul to demonstrate against it. Some sat for the test but didn’t take it seriously, choosing answers randomly. Because it is uniform, the test results will rank all schools in Korea, and provoke competition. Students at lower-ranked schools will be encouraged to participate in costly private education.The ranking will also lead to schools taking unreasonable efforts to boost their scores. One elementary school received “Very High” on the test, but turned out to have manipulated some of the results. This year, the same school received a “High.” One middle school in Incheon bribed students with a scholarship of 1 million won ($844) for the top-ranked result. Teachers in other schools gave hints to their students during the test.Yet students aren’t allowed to skip the test. The Ministry of Education forces students to take it by marking them absent if they do not. Many students claim that they were threatened with an absence when they tried to hand in a blank answer sheet.

Even though the point of the test is to improve all of Korea’s schools, the results will not be accurate if students do not take the test seriously.

Pressure put on the schools and students have produced faults that damage the test’s integrity. A better measure should replace the NSAT, so that the original purpose of improving Korean education can be realized.

Choi Ji-won,

Cheongshim International Academy, and Om Sae-won, Gimpo Foreign Language High school
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