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Middle School Grades to Be Compared Nationwide

Posted October. 16, 2007 07:37,   


Starting next year, middle school students’ academic performance test grades will be compared on a nationwide basis. The new system will enable students to see where they stand academically compared to other students and help them set their academic goals. It is expected to encourage students to engage in constructive competition.

Sixteen education boards nationwide had a meeting on September 5 and agreed to hold academic performance tests, and met on October 10 to decide detailed measures regarding the new system.

Senior education supervisors at the meeting agreed to hold the test twice a year for first graders, while second and third graders will take the exam only once at the end of the academic year. Students will take Korean, math, English, social studies and science tests, and their rankings will be calculated on a percentage basis. The council decided to be enable the comparison of the results of the exams nationwide.

The exam for first graders, due to be held in March, will not be given on a nationwide basis, however, because it would take too much time to do so, and teachers want those results just to assess basic academic skills.

The council agreed that the city and province education boards will make tests this year, while next year, they will be the responsibility of the Busan City Education Board.

So far, there has not been any kind of nationwide achievement evaluation. The one that exists assesses five different subjects of 1-3% of students in the sixth grade, middle school third grade, and high school first grade only. On top of that, the results only show whether students have “high, average, rudimentary or sub-par” academic skills.

Led by Lee Ju-ho, a GNP lawmaker, a “Special Law on Information Disclosure of Educational Organizations,” was passed in April, requiring schools to publicize documents related to the academic performance of students at the city or province level; however, no specific rules on what to be disclosed have been made.

One official from the Seoul Education Board said, “The new system will help students assess their academic stances and set their goals accordingly. In the initial stage, academic performances of regions will not be disclosed, but that is subject to change in the future.”