Proposal would make CSAT easier starting in 2013

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Proposal would make CSAT easier starting in 2013

Come senior year, current high school freshmen may be able to choose the level of difficulty of the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) under a proposal by the Korean Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) announced yesterday.

If approved by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the revamped CSAT would go into effect beginning with the 2014 CSAT, which will be administered in 2013.

The proposal from KICE stems from its efforts to make the high-pressure standardized test easier. Among many revisions to the current format, the proposal eliminates the listening portion of the Korean-language section while increasing the weight of the listening portion of the English section by 50 percent. Students would also be tested on less material and answer fewer questions in the same amount of time.

Test takers, under the proposal, would also be able to choose between two difficulty levels for each of the Korean-language, English and math sections of the CSAT. The exams for the three core subjects will be classified as either type A or B, with A being an easier version that covers less material than the current CSAT and B being more difficult and covering a similar amount as the current exam with the aim of having one percent of test takers achieve perfect scores.

The mathematics section, however, will see few changes under the KICE proposal because it is already offered in two versions - for those applying to math and science departments and for those applying to humanities departments.

Students will be able to select a maximum of two type-B exams out of the three core subjects on the CSAT, gearing students toward the humanities and the liberal arts or the science and mathematics track in college.

The KICE proposal also decreases the number of questions on both the Korean-language and English sections from 50 to 45. The time limit will remain the same.

Also proposed to change for test takers is the number of elective portions in the social sciences and sciences section they will have to choose, from three to two.

KICE will review input on the proposed changes and submit a draft proposal to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on Dec. 27.

If the ministry approves the revision, the new CSAT will undergo a trial run with high school students next May and will be good to go for 2014 CSAT test takers the following year.


By Sarah Kim, Kim Sung-tak [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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