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Launch of new high school exam being called off

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Keelung and Greater Taipei governments announced yesterday that a plan to launch a special high school admission examination based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has been scrapped.

Kung Ya-wen (龔雅雯), deputy commissioner of New Taipei City's Education Department, said that the only change to its policy was that the organization responsible for formulating questions for the admission exam is now the Research Center for Psychological and Educational Testing of National Taiwan Normal University instead of the Keelung, Taipei and New Taipei governments.

Ting Ya-wen (丁亞雯), Taipei City Department of Education (教育局) commissioner, said that the high school exam in Keelung and Greater Taipei will not be the same as the exam in other cities and counties.

“The name of the special admission exam has not been decided yet,” said Ting, “and the sample questions for the exam will be announced by July.”

Ting said that one thing for sure regarding the admission exam is that writing tests will not be included.

The Taipei City Department of Education announced last August that the Keelung and Greater Taipei areas will be responsible for the high school admission exams for junior high school students in their respective areas.

Ting Unwilling to Apologize for Policy Change

Ting was not willing to apologize for the high school admission examination policy change yesterday, saying that she never said the special high school admission exam would be based on the PISA.

“It was a misunderstanding on the part of the public and cram schools regarding the admission exam,” she said.

Ting said that the Education Department has been communicating with experts in the field over the disputes triggered by the new high school admission examination.

“However,” Ting said, “the department has to refer to education professionals when coming up with a new exam system.”

Mixed Reactions from the Public

Yang Yi-feng (楊益風), chairman of the Taipei Teachers' Association, said that he supported the policy change because it suggests that the Education Department is willing to take advice from the public.

Chang Pi-chun, principal of Taipei First Girls High School, and Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School principal Chen Wei-hung (陳偉泓) both said that they hoped the Education Department could allow high school representatives to have opportunities to participate in the discussion regarding the special admission exam.

A junior high school student surnamed Chang in New Taipei City also said that the decision to call off the launch of new high school admission exam was good news.

“It is hard to understand the content of the exam based on the PISA,” Chang said, “and it has caused confusion on how to prepare for it.”

1 Comment
April 18, 2013    Patrick@
PISA is used by very few schools around the world. Only 1 million pupils take the exam and in the developed world such as the UK and USA it is not used. SO cram schools have been fooling their target markets again.

But with the MOE saying that there will be exam free education from K-12 why do local governments want to persist with outmoded and irrelevant exams.

No wonder more parents are looking at alternatives to educating their children. Chaos reigns.
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