Go to contents

School Life Record

Posted August. 11, 2010 11:40,   


A school life record includes a student’s attendance, academic performance, health, awards and honors. This is a comprehensive source to evaluate a student. With a number of universities to adopt the irregular student recruiting and admissions officer systems, schools consider the school life record as important as the score on the College Scholastic Aptitude Test. Special-purpose and autonomous private high schools also recruit students based on the record, which has emerged as an important portfolio determining entrance to secondary and tertiary schools.

The Education, Science and Technology Ministry from next year will ban schools from including awards received outside of school in the school life record. Test scores in Chinese script and Korean history will not be included, either. Awards from scholastic aptitude contests and national athletic games will be also excluded from this year. The number of prohibited items is apparently growing every year. Students whose school life records contain scores from certified foreign language tests such as the TOEFL, TOEIC and TEPS and awards received outside of school are not expected to get admitted to special-purpose and autonomous private high schools for the 2011 academic year. The autonomous schools, which consider a student’s ability to study on his or her own in admission, will recruit students based on academic and school life records and recommendations from principals. This is to prevent the birth of a new form of private education stemming from awards outside of school.

The ban on including overseas volunteer work in school life records is a step in the right direction since such work has long lost its original purpose. Many, however, say banning awards students receive for caring for their parents and people in need is excessive. Parents are at a loss over what items school life records should contain. Approved criteria include academic records, school awards and creative discretionary activities. Parents can influence school prizes, however, as such prizes can be recklessly awarded due to demands from parents.

From next year, foreign language high schools will eliminate test results in English comprehension for admission assessment and will solely consider scholastic achievement in English, the school life record and interview. Worse, with the decline in regular student quotas, middle school students might have to give up entering foreign language high schools if they fail to get a perfect score on the English test. With certified foreign language tests and out-of-school awards eliminated from admission criteria, foreign language high schools will have problems selecting talented students from among so many stellar students of English. Some say students with smart parents will be at an advantage since the term “creative discretionary activities” in the school life record is ambiguous. Regrettably, the government might downgrade the value of the school life record as important evaluation data for students just for the sake of curbing private education.

Editorial Writer Chung Sung-hee (shchung@donga.com)