New system targets student cheaters

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New system targets student cheaters

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced yesterday that it will launch a system to inspect whether students applying to prestigious foreign language and international high schools cheated on their essays or hired a ghostwriter from a private institute.

If an essay has more than five consecutive words that are the same as on any other essays, the system will automatically highlight the common words so that examiners can judge whether a student cheated, according to the ministry. The system will indicate the name of the writer and what percentage two essays may have in common.

“But it’s up to the school whether it will disqualify the person,” said Chung Jae-young, a School Policy Bureau official at the ministry.

The ministry said the system will also collect all essays and save them in its own search engine. The engine will then be able to sift through application essays of numerous students, so that an applicant can’t cheat for others applying to different schools.

The new system will be launched in 14 foreign language high schools and international schools in three cities - Seoul, Incheon and Busan - this year because schools in other cities have already finished their admission procedures.

The remaining foreign language and international schools will begin the system next year.

The ministry in January changed how prestigious high schools select students, putting emphasis on essays and teacher recommendations instead of test scores and language certificates, which many private institutes used to help students get into schools.

Now, all students applying to these schools write four essays. One each about their motivation, study and career plans, volunteering experience and a book report - each are about 600 words.

Before the new selection process started, students struggled to prepare for difficult entrance exams and had trouble getting language certificates recognized by the high schools.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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