The transcript scam

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The transcript scam

When high school students apply to college, one of the crucial standards for their admission is how well they performed in academics, as well as in extra-curricular activities like volunteer work. School records are required not only for special admissions systems, such as the one using admissions officers, but also for regular admissions to college.

As such, the credibility and objectivity of students’ school records are the foundation of the college entrance system. It’s terribly regrettable - and shocking - that some private high schools have manipulated their students’ three-year records to their advantage during the college admission season.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education’s latest inspection revealed that a private school in Seoul fabricated the performance records of its 12th-grade students even beyond our imagination. The school reportedly falsified about 200 students’ records, including their extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, future hopes, special aptitudes and teachers’ comments, all to help the students successfully get into the universities they desired. The Seoul education office has requested the school in question punish 17 teachers - including the principal - involved in the scam.

A more serious problem is there is a possibility that more of these incidents will be uncovered because the Seoul education office is rolling up its sleeves to inspect another 20 schools that have frequently corrected students’ records.

High schools and teachers may be tempted to edit their students’ performance to make it easier for them to get into good colleges. If a student once said he wanted to be a prosecutor, and the teacher changes that to banker on his record, maybe that’s not so serious, especially if the student changed his mind after a year or two. But it’s still a fabrication.

We should establish a fundamental solution to secure the reliability and fairness of students’ records at school. Education authorities should first scrutinize how schools in Seoul and other areas record their students’ performance, and make efforts to crack down on wrong practices by issuing more detailed instructions to high schools.

Education authorities should also devise ways to give demerits to schools involved in the malpractice. Above all, teachers themselves must register their student’s performance as accurately as possible. They should not forget that the credibility of our college entrance system is in their hands.
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