Ministry proposes reducing CSAT study materials

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Ministry proposes reducing CSAT study materials

A month after the annual College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) turned out to be one of the easiest in the national examination’s 20-year history, educational authorities on Wednesday announced measures to drastically reduce the content on CSAT study guides provided by EBS, a state-run educational television channel.

EBS broadcasts supplemental learning material and makes workbooks for the CSAT.

Considering the fact that the CSAT is heavily based on textbooks published by EBS, many local educators have speculated that the announcement by the Ministry of Education may indicate that the test will be even easier next year.

“No one can guarantee that the CSAT will, without a doubt, be easier next year, but based on the announcement, it pretty much sounds that way,” said Cho Man-ki, a math teacher at Yangpyeong High School in Gyeonggi.

“Students preparing for the test will be able to study with fewer EBS textbooks, which will obviously make circumstances easier for them,” he added.

Since 2005, the government has based about 70 percent of the CSAT on EBS study guides in an effort to prevent students from attending cram schools and using other study guide textbooks or materials.

The plans for EBS served as the main agenda item in the ministry’s Wednesday briefing, organized to announce measures on how the government will “intensively control” household expenditure on English and math education, the two subjects in highest demand.

Only the CSAT’s math and English sections were referenced in the proposals Wednesday for EBS.

The amount of vocabulary featured in English EBS textbooks will be reduced from the current 5,668 words to a maximum of 3,500 words by 2017, according to authorities.

“Vague and speculative” reading passages will also be removed from its textbooks, as will sentences with “complex grammar.”

Starting in 2016, the number of EBS math books for high school students specializing in general sciences will be curtailed to five from the current eight.

In Korea, high school students are divided into two tracks: those who choose to specialize in general sciences and those who opt for liberal arts. CSAT subjects are broken up into two subjects, A and B sections, which are designed around those majors. General science majors are required to complete Korean A and Math B on the CSAT, while liberal arts students must take Korean B and Math A.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, YUN SUK-MAN [selee@joongang.co.kr]




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