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Advanced Placement Programs Paying Off

Posted April. 27, 2006 03:10,   


Seoul Shinmok High School senior Park So-young (18) felt bewildered when she was asked to write a report for Yonsei University’s Korean Literature Department professor Lee Jae-sung`s "Opinions and Composition" class.

This was because of the unfamiliar theme, "Authority in everyday life." Park felt like she was grabbing for straws as she researched for data in the school library. After debating with other students in her team, she decided to write about "inherent authority in the school," and wrote about the relationship between teachers and students. The result was 18 points out of 20.

Park said, "I`d never debated so deeply at school. I previously just wrote down whatever came to my mind, but now, I`m able to write more logically."

For Park, who had been wandering between the Department of Mass Communication and the Department of Korean Literature, attending the class helped her decide to enroll in the Department of Korean Literature.

The class Park attended was part of the Advanced Placement program (AP). This is a system that acknowledges credit for courses students take before enrolling in college.

According to the information that Dong-A Ilbo obtained from Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, the satisfaction rate of students who attended Korea University and Yonsei University`s AP program during the month of January was very high.

Students chose a course out of Korean, English, mathematics, biology, physics, and chemistry. Each class had around 20 students. According to 192 students out of the 198 students who took AP courses (those who got above a D grade) at Korea University and Yonsei University, 80.7 percent answered that they gained confidence in the corresponding course.

Sixty-two percent of the students answered that they wanted to major in the respective subject after the course. Over half the students, 69.3 percent, answered that the efficiency of learning was better than a private institute`s teaching.

Students picked the high quality of the courses and introduction of the subjects` majors as the merits of the AP course.

Also, students who answered that they wished to take the courses even if the courses weren`t given credit (63.5 percent) far outnumbered those who answered they would take the courses only for the credit (10.4 percent).

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced last October that it would provide a legal basis for the AP program so that it could be properly operated beginning in 2007.

Experts remark, "It seems to reflect the students` thirst for multifarious knowledge, as composition exams comprise a large part of the college entrance exams."