Go to contents

“SAT Scores to be Eliminated and a Nine-Level Grading System to be Implemented”

“SAT Scores to be Eliminated and a Nine-Level Grading System to be Implemented”

Posted August. 26, 2004 22:36,   


The entrance examination system will be reformed on a large scale by placing more weight on cumulative records and decreasing the importance of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), starting from the year in which current seniors in junior high school will enter college.

Also, in order to prevent the intensive competition of scoring on the SAT, the standard score and the ranking in percentage will be eliminated and a grading system, which is classified into nine levels will be provided instead.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced its “Reformation Plan for the Entrance Examination System after 2008,” including the main points above, on August 26.

According to this tentative plan, in substitution of discontinuing the grading of high school transcripts, which use a grading system of “A, B, C, D, F,” and to prevent the inflation of the transcript, the original score, the subject’s average score, and the standard deviation classified by each subject, a grade divided into nine levels, like the SAT, will be presented.

Accordingly, parents said. “As education takes centuries to achieve, how can the college entrance examination system be reformed again after only recently making the former change?” and expressed their discontent on the confusion that the frequent entrance examination system reformation is bringing.

Teachers and parents also viewed that the new entrance examination system will have some impact on the inflation of transcripts or the boom of re-taking college entrance examinations, but said that the dependence on private educational institutions will not decrease because, in the student’s position, they will not miss both school and the SAT.

In addition, as more universities are distrusting student transcripts, it is possible that a high school ranking system, which considers the difference in the academic background when screening for a university, and the college entrance exam offered by each university, which used to be conducted in the past, may be irregularly conducted.

The Ministry of Education is estimating that extracurricular lessons are prevailing because the SAT, which consists of problems from the integrated curriculum, is too difficult. The Ministry added it will partially introduce setting questions within the high school curriculum and by an item pool by a public subscription in the future within the integrated set of science curriculums and social sciences collected, also expanding the coverage to all curriculums starting from 2010.

The Ministry of Education also decided to examine a plan to extend the SAT biannually, over two days.

The Ministry of Education is planning to make a full record of extracurricular activities, such as public service and reading activities, to maximize the influence of these activities when universities select students.

In order to do this, reading activities on each curriculum will be recorded, and the teachers will have to post teaching plans and evaluation plans along with the contents and standards on the school website to enhance the reliance on the school record and further introduce the teacher evaluation system which conducts evaluations of each teacher.

Furthermore, specialized high schools such as science high schools and foreign language high schools will be prohibited from opening courses that are irrelevant to the purposes of the institution, and will introduce a special screening in the entrance examination system for students applying within the same department, inducing the students from science high schools, to enter college as part of the Department of Science and Engineering, and students from foreign language high schools to enter college as part of the Department of Languages.

In addition, the Ministry of Education decided to introduce the AP (Advanced Placement) program in 2006, which enables high school students to take college-level courses at a high school or university and earn college credits while they are in high school.

This tentative plan is adjusted through a discussion under the superintendence of the president, which the Presidential Committee On Education Innovation manages, and will hear a final decision in September through the collection of public opinion, including holding public hearings.

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com