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[Editorial] College Test Management System Should Change Swiftly

[Editorial] College Test Management System Should Change Swiftly

Posted November. 24, 2003 22:43,   


A mistake in a college exam question brought chaos. It turned out that two of all five answer choices were correct. This incident proved that the government-led college exam system not only has serious loopholes, but also is unreliable. It even showed how irresponsible and uncertain government-led systems are.

It is worrisome as to how we can settle the situation caused by incompetence, irresponsibility, and moral hazard of those in charge of the system. We should not forget that future of 630,000 college applicants are also at stake. First and foremost, the authority needs to do its best to re-grade the scores thoroughly by the deadline, December 2, to make sure that scores arrive on time.

However, what we have to think about here is that the Korea Institute of Curriculum & Evaluation (KICE), who is in charge of the college exam system, will handle the situation. Considering that KICE is the first one to be blamed, it is very skeptical whether the authority can do its job properly. Amid controversies over this year’s test, KICE’s president kept saying there were no problems. When he finally admitted there were two correct answers for a question in the test, he even said, “I do not know whether it is the right thing to do if I step down at this point.” How can we trust KICE notwithstanding the test system itself?

It is expected that, on average, those who took the test for the first time would receive lower scores than those who tried before. This proves the public education system has failed. But right after the test, the head of the committee of teachers who made up test questions emphasized that the committee made normalization of the public education system a top priority. Here, we can see the committee detached from the reality of public education. The government should call KICE’s president account for his incompetence. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Human Resources Development and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources should also bear the responsibilities.

Now is the time for the government to review the entire test system as well as the management and evaluation of the test. Prime Minister Goh Kun recently ordered a planning team to be created to improve the college test system. Reviewing of the system is what the new planning team has to do – not only for the test applicants and families but also for the sake of public education and the nation. The government’s job therefore, should be to come up with swift measures.