Wednesday, July 24, 2024

S.Korea to exclude ‘killer’ questions from college exam

The South Korean government will exclude extremely difficult “killer” questions from the annual college entrance exam starting this year in an effort to reduce private education expenses, the presidential office said on Monday.

The state-administered College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), known as Suneung in Korean, has faced criticism for including killer questions that many say students without tutoring from private cram schools, known as “hagwons” in Korean, are unable to solve, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“If we want to enter a good university, we need to be able to solve these killer questions, and if we are going to do so, we need to first go to hagwons,” a senior presidential official told Yonhap News Agency.

“This is such an abnormal situation.”

The state-administered CSAT has emerged as one of the hottest issues in South Korea after the office of President Yoon Suk Yeol unveiled his instruction last week that what is now taught at private schools should be excluded from the exam.

The instruction sparked confusion over how easy or difficult this year’s exam will be at a time when the test is just five months away, though Yoon’s office later clarified that his instruction did not mean making the exam easier.

In recent years, the CSATs have featured several killer questions, some of which are based on university curricula, allowing the private education sector to profit significantly by providing strategies to solve such questions.

According to the senior presidential official, Yoon has stressed to aides that including such questions on the CSAT is “inappropriate” and “unfair” and amounts to “playing tricks” on children.

Officials said that since March, the President has pointed out the high difficulty level of the CSAT as a possible factor in the steady increase in private education expenses and ordered that such questions be excluded from mock CSAT tests.

However, a recent mock test conducted in June included a number of killer questions and was reportedly not as easy as expected.

A high-ranking education ministry official in charge of the CSAT was replaced last week, apparently for failing to adjust the difficulty level of the exam.

“It is possible to set sufficiently discriminatory questions within the curriculum,” the presidential official said, adding that a mock CSAT scheduled for September will exclude such killer questions.

The CSAT, held on the third Thursday of November every year, is one of the nation’s most important academic events, as it is the culmination of years of hard work for many students anxious to enter top universities.



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