Wednesday, November 05, 2003

IT IS TESTING TIME IN SOUTH KOREA. Students and their parents are, understandably, anxious about the event. Some seek help from a higher power. Will the fact that this year's test is supposedly not as hard as previous years make anyone feel better?
Specialists said that due to the easiness of the exam, the competition for prestigious universities would get fierce, because it would be a little hard to distinguish the abilities of high-ranking students based on their exam scores. Therefore, their scores on essay tests and interviews for the universities may determine their success. Also, as the number of mid- and high-ranking students would sharply increase with the rise of average scores, many students will delay their choices for colleges to the last minute and some may tend to apply for less competitive ones, the specialists said.
The ROK system raises all sorts of questions, many of which transcend the specific Korean context: how much weight should tests be given in college admissions decisions? Can tests ever be truly or even reasonably objective? How well to test scores predict future success? Tough questions all. At this point, I'll have to defer to the experts.

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