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Essay questions for early college admission to be also excluded

Essay questions for early college admission to be also excluded

Posted June. 27, 2023 08:11,   

Updated June. 27, 2023 08:11


On Monday, the Korean government announced significant changes to the education system. Not only will super difficult "killer" questions be eliminated from the annual state-administered College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), but they will also be removed from essay exams conducted by individual colleges for admission. Moreover, there will be a shift in the selection of test-makers, with a greater emphasis on high school teachers rather than professors. Additionally, an independent state committee will be established to ensure the fairness of the test by filtering out these challenging questions during the question-making stage.

Education Minister Lee Ju-ho announced government measures to reduce reliance on private education during a press briefing at the government complex in central Seoul on Monday, 11 days after President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered the exclusion of College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) questions that are not covered by the public high school curriculum.

The Ministry of Education has announced its commitment to achieving a "fair CSAT" by eliminating killer questions. An independent state committee will be established to ensure that CSAT questions do not include problematic items right from the beginning. Additionally, the ratio of test makers, currently consisting of 45 percent high school teachers and 55 percent professors, will be adjusted to increase the percentage of high school teachers. This adjustment ensures that CSAT questions align more closely with the curriculum followed by third-grade high school students.

The ministry will also scrutinize essay and interview questions used by colleges during the admission process. Colleges that include killer questions beyond the scope of the public education curriculum will be identified, and their actions will be made public, placing them at a disadvantage. Furthermore, written tests and task-based performance assessments, which determine grades in high school and are essential for early college admissions, will be closely monitored to prevent the promotion of private education for prior learning.

The ministry has revealed 26 tough questions from three years of CSAT and June's mock CSAT tests. These questions posed a challenge for students relying solely on the high school curriculum, as they involved theories typically covered at the college level, accompanied by jargon, abstract texts, and complex concepts.

It has been nine years since the government announced a comprehensive plan to reduce reliance on private education, starting from the former Park Geun-hye administration.

Sung-Min Park min@donga.com