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Student admitted to top high school without CAP score

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A student who did not take the Comprehensive Assessment Program (CAP) exam was admitted to Cheng Kung Senior High School (CKHS, 成功高中) based only on his “multidimensional learning performance” and “enrollment sequences” through the second round of exam-free admissions, yesterday.

Controversy surrounding the new 12-year compulsory education system continued to spread this week, after a student was reportedly admitted to CKHS, one of the leading high schools in Taipei, without any exam grades.

Normally, students need to present their CAP results, “multidimensional learning performance” and “enrolment sequences” when registering for schools in the Keelung-Taipei District. If the number of registered students exceeds expectations, the school in question will compare their scores. The student was reportedly able to attend the top school because the vacant positions of the institution outnumbered the students who registered to attend.

Chen Shuen-he (陳順和), chief secretary of the Department of Education of the Taipei City Government, stated that this situation is abnormal and he hopes the Ministry of Education (MOE) can make some adjustments next year.

Chen further pointed out that although CKHS opened 88 vacancies during the second exam-free admission session, only 83 students applied. Therefore, based on the current admission rules, this student can be admitted.

“It is important to reflect on the system after this unusual case,” said Chen.

“The CAP is a way to understand students' basic educational level. If students are not willing to take the CAP since they think it is unnecessary, it will be a bad influence on the whole 12-year compulsory education system,” he continued.

Regarding this issue, CKHS also sent out a press release saying that the student had once studied in United States. In addition, CKHS also found that the student performed well academically in both Taiwan and the U.S. Principal of CKHS Li Ching-tzung (李慶宗) said that this student did not take the CAP due to his unusual education background.

Some educators mocked the case, calling it a “classic” example of what can go wrong with exam-free admissions.

MOE Response

MOE Administrative Deputy Minister Lin Shu-chen (林淑真) said there are no regulations in place to prevent a student from being admitted to a school in the absence of CAP scores. The school should accept and support this student if needed, she said.

She also suggested that schools open more vacancies for exam-free admissions. With other reforms set for next year, it is possible to prevent similar issues from happening again.

In addition Tsai Chih-ming (蔡志明), of the K-12 Education Administration under the MOE, said the goal of the 12-year compulsory education system is to break the current perceptions of traditional education. If a student performs well in high school then there is nothing bad about being admitted without the CAP grades since scores are not everything in education.

1 Comment
August 21, 2014    curtisakbar@
Taiwan's education is in a right mess. From the start of education, it is all about reputation of the school, what kindy, elementary, junior/senior high school did you attend? I can't believe when applying for credit cards in Taiwan they want to know what elementary school you attended, what does that have to do with anything?

Just make end of year exams mandatory but the scores aren't considered in the second period exam free admissions. Simple, problem solved.
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