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  • jamasian
  • Super Waygook

    • 275

    • December 05, 2011, 03:02:00 pm
    • Suncheon, S. Korea
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2013, 03:31:36 pm »
Well that's your opinion, but if the OP starts to think he can have influence he will just stress himself out.
:rolleyes:
....
Without trying, I really don't understand how you can expect anything to ever improve.

My first year at school, the head English teacher was leery of having me contribut anything towards student tests, and only after I insisted on providing her with a question list 'to look at for ideas' did she allow a few on the exam. My second year I managed to put in a few more, while this year I've been to the planning meetings and have a definite say in which questions should go on the test and which should not. Yeah, its more work, and yeah, it's a bit stressful, but I also feel that the tests are better this year than in the 2 years previous, and I feel like my opinions and contributions are taken seriously....

Good gosh. A turn for the worst. Luckily my coT asked for me to write the exam when I first started. That showed me that they considered my class important. 10 full questions all on my own. After a few months the speaking tests were also conducted my way. I didn't like the whole memorize-and-repeat. I'm pretty selfish as well, because this makes my job so much better. Being included in the job, with respected opinions, students that pay attention more and interact more after noticing that I have influence... it's rainin men! or something...


... If Korean's aren't happy with the system they will change it...
..Still, with enough people, and enough buckets...

I believe the NEAT was invented because Koreans want the system to change. I also believe they are trying out this "Korean teachers teaching in English" thing because they want to change....but I guess those steps mean something else?


  • korr
  • Expert Waygook

    • 724

    • July 16, 2009, 12:35:46 pm
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2013, 03:46:33 pm »
My high-level students have English interviews and presentations and in-class essay tests that all factor into their grade, in addition to the convoluted suneung-style reading. My vocational students had very practical non-textbook questions last year. My school's scary.

It's like a *REAL* school! (dreams of a chance to have meaningful assessments)

Ha! And yeah, I know I lucked out here. The students still have a lot of insane pressure-cooker studying, but they do a LOT of more Western-style English assessments. It's more work for me because I'm grading them, but I really like it.

The NEAT test has a lot of speaking and persuasive/expository writing, so hopefully more of that will start showing up in a couple years.


  • alward2
  • Adventurer

    • 29

    • September 04, 2012, 08:02:41 am
    • Anyang, South Korea
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2013, 10:05:54 am »
Well here's the fallout I knew was coming:

Turns out there were a few writing questions that I just mysteriously never got to see and were therefore untouched by a single native speaker. And let me tell you, they were f****** stupid. They were convoluted and pointless, and I suspect my co-teachers have no idea what vocabulary or grammar they were actually trying to test with those questions. So, as I could have predicted, the vast majority of the students floundered. Sure, a handful of the kids who can afford to go to hagwon did fine, but there were probably more answer sheets that were completely empty (and even more that had writing but received zero points) than ones with mostly right answers.

When I corrected the written parts, I marked answers with full points even if they were missing an article, or a preposition wasn't the perfect one for the phrase, or a dependent clause was not 100% perfect, because those grammar points were not the focus of the question, nor were they taught in any of the students' lessons. If the sentence was almost completely well-formed and conveyed the correct information for the answer, I corrected the small mistakes and marked it as right. My co-teacher just looked over the ones I corrected and freaked out. She insisted I'm not supposed to touch the students' answers and that it's unfair to the students who got all the grammar 100% perfect. When I asked if she focused on articles or prepositions in class, she said "No, they are too hard for students," but she still insists they must have them completely right to receive full points. When I pointed out how ridiculous that is, she switched tactics and insisted that I was not allowed to write on the exam at all besides marking it right or wrong, because the students should not be allowed to see the right answer, and the other students will get jealous. I told her I want the students to know what they did wrong, and she said they don't even see the answer sheet again. So I guess my corrections were pointless, but what's the problem, then? "It's a Korean thing" was the only explanation she could come up with. So now she has to report it to "the inspector" (I didn't even bother trying to figure out who that is), and she made sure to complain about how much work she has to do to fix it now, because I corrected about three times as many exams as she did.

How do these kids not completely lose their minds?



  • elee09
  • Adventurer

    • 51

    • June 18, 2012, 08:21:01 am
    • Toronto, Ontario
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2013, 10:44:42 am »
I have a different problem. The tests are word for word from the textbook. They don't change a single thing.. it is straight copy and paste from the textbook. I asked about this, and the reason is that if the students do poorly on the exams, the administration will "yell at" the English department. So.. instead of trying to teach them better and having proper assessments, they dumb down the test. I am not permitted to contribute any questions to the test.

I have middle schoolers who cannot read or write a single word in English. Due to the fact that the tests are rote memorization of the textbook, I can't supplement or modify my lessons for lower level students, since it is "unfair" to the other students, apparently. Korea seems to be about everyone getting an equal education, not a good quality education.

The speaking tests.. they were a joke. I had literally 60 seconds with each student. Only about 10 out of 550 students could have a real conversation with me. The rest of them either sat in silence or stated a sentence or two they had memorized from the book. When I graded them (I believe my grades were quite generous), I was criticized for being "too hard" and I fully suspect that my coteachers changed the grades afterwards in order to "save face".

Did I mention that I am NOT in a vocational school? I'm at a public school that is affiliated with a university! I regularly encounter 4 or 5 year old Korean kids in the street who speak 10 times better than my 16 year old students... it's horribly depressing.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 10:50:25 am by elee09 »


Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2013, 12:25:17 pm »
There has been major drama at my school for two weeks about the midterms.

There is a new VP who has written and picked apart every teacher's midterm for every subject here. The office is SILENT because some are rewriting their tests for the third time.  The English test passed the first time which was lucky as the VP was an English teacher for many years.

The gossip here is that the VP stayed here until 9pm last night proofreading tests. She has called every teacher down for an evaluation which is really embarrassing because the VP's "office" is just a desk along the windows of the main teacher office so everyone else knows who is in trouble. 

BTW The principal is loving this! He used to be dismissed by the other teachers, but now his status has "never been higher"   Writing tests isn't easy. I thought you all might want to know. Life isn't easy for the KT's!


  • jasminh78
  • Adventurer

    • 65

    • August 29, 2010, 04:30:09 pm
    • korea
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2013, 01:32:55 pm »
My high-level students have English interviews and presentations and in-class essay tests that all factor into their grade, in addition to the convoluted suneung-style reading. My vocational students had very practical non-textbook questions last year. My school's scary.

It's like a *REAL* school! (dreams of a chance to have meaningful assessments)

Ha! And yeah, I know I lucked out here. The students still have a lot of insane pressure-cooker studying, but they do a LOT of more Western-style English assessments. It's more work for me because I'm grading them, but I really like it.

The NEAT test has a lot of speaking and persuasive/expository writing, so hopefully more of that will start showing up in a couple years.

NEAT is apparently on hold.  The government believes that NEAT will increase household spending on education so the program might get canceled. 


  • wtoddm
  • Super Waygook

    • 282

    • November 21, 2011, 02:09:18 pm
    • Jinju, Gyeongsamnam-do South Korea
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2013, 02:40:09 pm »


NEAT is apparently on hold.  The government believes that NEAT will increase household spending on education so the program might get canceled.

Cite your source? This is very significant if true.
"Our doubts are traitors,
And makes us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt." - Shakespeare, Measure for Measure


  • cracker
  • Veteran

    • 234

    • April 04, 2011, 12:20:11 pm
    • Gangwon-do
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2013, 02:56:48 pm »
Quote



Quote from: jasminh78 on Today at 04:32:55 PM



NEAT is apparently on hold.  The government believes that NEAT will increase household spending on education so the program might get canceled.




Cite your source? This is very significant if true.





Too funny (and sad if true).

The problem is the NEAT test actually tests a personís English ability!  :cheesy:

Not only speaking, but writing and listening too!

What's more important - An inflated league table (Korea education No 1) or people being able to FUNCTION using English? Answers on a post card  :laugh:



Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2013, 03:07:37 pm »
My high-level students have English interviews and presentations and in-class essay tests that all factor into their grade, in addition to the convoluted suneung-style reading. My vocational students had very practical non-textbook questions last year. My school's scary.

It's like a *REAL* school! (dreams of a chance to have meaningful assessments)

Ha! And yeah, I know I lucked out here. The students still have a lot of insane pressure-cooker studying, but they do a LOT of more Western-style English assessments. It's more work for me because I'm grading them, but I really like it.

The NEAT test has a lot of speaking and persuasive/expository writing, so hopefully more of that will start showing up in a couple years.

NEAT is apparently on hold.  The government believes that NEAT will increase household spending on education so the program might get canceled.

I want and almost NEED a source.

One of my after school classes with my 2nd grade middle schoolers is entirely based around beginning to prepare them for NEAT.


  • jasminh78
  • Adventurer

    • 65

    • August 29, 2010, 04:30:09 pm
    • korea
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2013, 10:01:57 pm »
My high-level students have English interviews and presentations and in-class essay tests that all factor into their grade, in addition to the convoluted suneung-style reading. My vocational students had very practical non-textbook questions last year. My school's scary.

It's like a *REAL* school! (dreams of a chance to have meaningful assessments)

Ha! And yeah, I know I lucked out here. The students still have a lot of insane pressure-cooker studying, but they do a LOT of more Western-style English assessments. It's more work for me because I'm grading them, but I really like it.

The NEAT test has a lot of speaking and persuasive/expository writing, so hopefully more of that will start showing up in a couple years.

NEAT is apparently on hold.  The government believes that NEAT will increase household spending on education so the program might get canceled.

I want and almost NEED a source.

One of my after school classes with my 2nd grade middle schoolers is entirely based around beginning to prepare them for NEAT.

http://www.nocutnews.co.kr/Show.asp?IDX=2466779

It's in Korean but it saids the Blue House has put NEAT on a "조기경보" (warning stage).  President Park is worried about the negative fallout from the NEAT program (financial burden) so the 2016 start will likely be postponed.  Unless the government comes up with a plan to reduce or prevent the fallout it will not likely pass.

The government is worried about the increase cost in private education so unless they figure it out, it's on hold.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 10:05:52 pm by jasminh78 »


  • jamasian
  • Super Waygook

    • 275

    • December 05, 2011, 03:02:00 pm
    • Suncheon, S. Korea
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2013, 07:21:46 am »
So much for advancing. Problem is my school already has changed the textbook to prepare for NEAT. What are they going to do about the money already spent?


  • Kyndo
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1314

    • March 03, 2011, 09:45:24 am
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2013, 07:49:50 am »
So much for advancing. Problem is my school already has changed the textbook to prepare for NEAT. What are they going to do about the money already spent?

This is just sad. Just when you think that they're getting away from those horribly written K-SATs and their random, memorization based questions, they go and cancel the NEAT. My entire English department was very happy with the newly proposed tests, and I'm sure this news is going to depress the lot of them... I mean, I'm barely at all invested in the system and it's depressing me...  :sad:

My Korean is pretty bad, so I couldn't figure the article out. What was the reasoning for cancelling this single breath of progressiveness?


  • korr
  • Expert Waygook

    • 724

    • July 16, 2009, 12:35:46 pm
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2013, 08:22:48 am »
That article says that the "early warning" thing is used when there is a conflict or high possibility of a conflict/strife/however you want to translate 갈등. Not sure what to make of that.

The thing is that while I think they're going about this warning thing totally the wrong way, I kind of understand where the government's coming from with it. If the schools aren't teaching speaking and listening, or if they're like some of my coteachers and want to teach speaking and listening but have no training and literally no idea how to do it, then there's going to be the same hagwon problem. Like I mentioned, I work at a school that does a really good job with English tests, but even here implementing the NEAT test without any kind of teacher support would put my poorer kids at an even bigger disadvantage.


  • hwana
  • Expert Waygook

    • 562

    • September 29, 2010, 09:19:04 pm
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2013, 10:24:49 am »
My Korean is pretty bad, so I couldn't figure the article out. What was the reasoning for cancelling this single breath of progressiveness?

I'll have a go at translating the article... bear with me!


  • hwana
  • Expert Waygook

    • 562

    • September 29, 2010, 09:19:04 pm
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2013, 11:25:41 am »
Here's my quick, far from perfect translation:

http://www.nocutnews.co.kr/Show.asp?IDX=2466779

SAT alternative "NEAT" faces early warning

The Blue House have confirmed that the NEAT exam, designed to replace the current English SAT exam, has been placed under an early warning.

The early warning is used when a proposed policy is likely to create problems or face opposition. In this case, the Blue House harbors fears over the new NEAT exam and countermeasures to the expected opposition are being drawn up.

Supervising the meeting of senior secretaries, President Park stated that through using the early warning system, it was important to devise pre-emptive counter measures in the face of a potential backlash that could prove to be contagious in affecting public opinion.

Following the president's instruction, the Blue House national planning committee have to date used the early warning system in response to around 30 potential policy issues.

NEAT now sits alongside other issues which have created large scale public discontent such as the abandonment of the KORAIL Yongan International Business District development and how to handle the storage of nuclear waste.

A Blue House spokesperson said "After an issue has been highlighted by the early warning system, the prime minister's office and relevant cabinet departments draw up countermeasures following a primary consultation".

Why has NEAT, an exam put forward as an ambitious replacement for the English SAT exam by the Lee Myung-Bak government, been highlighted as a policy issue with the potential to cause widespread discontent?

The previous 2008 Lee Myung-Bak government planned to introduce NEAT to bolster public education focused on practical English. NEAT is an internet based language aptitude test using a standard scoring criteria.

As a qualification exam graded on a 4-level criteria (A.B.C.F), the test would be less difficult than the current SAT, but practical content would be higher.

Although the test has not been formally implemented yet, 25 4-year universities and 9 colleges are already planning to use NEAT as part of their screening process in next year's admissions.

However, the problem is that instead of reaching the original aims of increasing practical English ability through public education, the danger is that NEAT will encourage a fresh private education craze.

The majority of English hagwons already offer classes to prepare for the NEAT exam, and both students and their parents are anxious about the impending new admission system.

At the end of last year the Minstry of Education cracked down on false/exaggerated advertising by large hagwons and over the top tuition fees in relation to NEAT, but the increase in private education continued.

Even before being introduced, NEAT has been shown to encourage an increase in private education, and the Ministry of Education, who originally pressed for a 2016 implementation, are now trying to push the date back.

The result of this early warning is that President Park's government may have to reconsider the introduction of their policy to reduce the money spent on private education, a policy which had been marked as a priority.

A Blue House spokesperson warned against over interpretation of the government actions "We are not currently at the stage to decide whether or not to implement to NEAT examination", continuing "we are only examining whether the introduction will face public criticism".

From this, although it is not known whether the NEAT exam will finally be introduced or end up being cancelled, it is clear that the Blue House views the exam as a potential catalyst for increased private education spending and has gone so far as to place it under the early warning system.

Following, unless countermeasures are drawn up to deal with these problems, deciding to implement the NEAT exam isn't likely to be easy.


  • Kyndo
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1314

    • March 03, 2011, 09:45:24 am
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2013, 11:52:00 am »
Google translate turned that article into complete gibberish, so thanx a lot for the translation!  :smiley:


  • hwana
  • Expert Waygook

    • 562

    • September 29, 2010, 09:19:04 pm
Re: Are your school's English exams terrible?
« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2013, 12:18:01 pm »
Google translate turned that article into complete gibberish, so thanx a lot for the translation!  :smiley:

No problem. I'm interested in this too, so was happy to read through the article. I was trying to talk to my co-teacher the other day about NEAT (we're in a middle school) but she'd never heard of it and had no idea what I was talking about. She looked frightened after I explained what the test consisted of  :huh: