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June 28, 2017

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MOE proposes new policy for student designation, allocation

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Education Minister Wu Se-hwa (吳思樺) yesterday stated that a new regulation to classify students who are applying to schools using the exam-free admissions policy is currently being developed for the ease of admissions distribution.

Wu, who had previously stated that a new reform to the current 12-year compulsory education system will be announced on Aug. 30, said yesterday that a new date will be announced and that the Ministry of Education (MOE) is doing its best to design reforms that are best for students.

Of the various reforms being developed, a new regulation was said to be in the works to alter the protocols that govern the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students (國中教育會考).

As the proposed "bell curve" regulation that will be used to measure student capabilities next year will correspondingly effect a student's distribution to schools according to his or her preferred school application has been noted to classify students into unrealistic averages, a new policy is currently in development to divide students more meticulously to eliminate averages for the ease of distribution.

Following research and reviews, the shortcoming of the "bell curve" regulation has been noted to blur the lines of differentiation when students and schools achieve scores that are too close on average with other students and schools. The new policy will seek to expand the grading system and score individual students more strictly to provide more specific scores for the sake of distribution. Currently, the MOE has stated that whether the detailed scores of students would be announced is still being decided.

However, Wu stated that the policy will only be used in certain areas and when too many schools share the same average scores. Then and only under such circumstances will the regulation come into effect to classify students.

Wu also said that the new regulation is exclusive to exam-free examinations and will not be applicable in specialty school enrollments, as it is not being designed for popular schools but rather schools with more grassroots students.

Direct Distribution Policy by Northern Cities

Reportedly, Wu also stated that the new regulation will not be adopted for use as grade classification so that northern cities such as Keelung and Taipei could use it as a measurement to directly distribute students. As northern cities have openly advocated using only the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students for both exam-free admissions and specialty school enrollments, the policy has been viewed as a way for the cities to distribute their students to schools more expediently.

In response, Wu said the regulation will not be used for the assumed purpose as it is not an incentive to show compliance to northern cities. Wu concluded his statements saying that the regulation is still under development, and that whether it will be adopted is still being considered.

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