CSAT to be streamlined and even get a bit easier
And the idea of allowing the students to take the test two times a year, instead of only once, has been dropped indefinitely, because the Ministry of Education realized it would fuel cramming.
According to the ministry yesterday, the test given in 2013 will allow student to choose an easier or harder version of the Korean language, English and math tests. And the number of tests each student has to take in 11 social and natural sciences subjects will be reduced from three to two.
“Considering the fact that the importance of the College Scholastic Ability Test is shrinking [for admission for many universities], we have revised the test to help free students from taking expensive private classes,” Lee Ju-ho, the education minister said.
For the test’s three main subjects, Korean Language, English and math, students can choose to take a Type B test, which has the same difficulty as tests in the past, or a Type A test, which is easier. Each student will have to take one of the harder Type B tests.
The ministry said it is considering reducing the number of questions on the Korean Language and English tests, as students say 50 questions in two tests are too many. The five listening questions in Korean Language test will be abolished, the ministry said.
Some education experts were skeptical that the new test will ease student burdens.
“The decreased number of subjects in social and natural science seems to lessen the pressure of students in studying for the CSAT,” Son Eun-jin, executive officer for Megastudy Co. Ltd., a private institute and education consultancy said.
“But the two levels of difficulty in the three main subjects, Korean, English and math, will be another burden, as most prestigious universities will demand the difficult type as a qualification for admission.”
Lee Man-gi, an education consultant for Uway Co. Ltd., said, “If students can select only two subjects in social sciences, few will select Korean history, as it is not a mandatory subject for admission except to Seoul National University.”
Lee Yeong-deok, a chief consultant for Daeseong Education Research Institute, was concerned about the new social and natural science tests.
“The interest in social and natural sciences will likely decrease and schools will focus on teaching Korean, English and math only,” Lee said. “If the government really wants to lighten the burden of students, it has to make it mandatory to reduce the importance of CSAT for university admission, not merely revising the content of the test.”
By Kim Hee-jin [email@example.com]
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