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Wed, Nov 01, 2000 - Page 4 News List

New high school entrance system replaces exams

TESTING Out goes the old senior high school entrance exam and in comes a diversified enrollment system. A step foward in educational reform, says the mayor

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the Ministry of Education (教育部) poised to cancel the senior high school entrance examination beginning this semester, the Taipei City government has approved the new diversified enrollment system program (多方元入學招生辦法).

The program will take effect today since it does not need the endorsement of Taipei City Council.

Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday told reporters after the weekly closed-door city affairs meeting that the program was a big step for educational reform in both the city and the nation at large.

"It's aimed at eliminating the negative effects of the old system. Diversity doesn't mean confusion or duplication, but opening more doors for the students who have mediocre academic performance, but are gifted in particular areas," he said.

The new program provides three major channels for city students to enter senior high school.

Admission will be granted on the basis of either an application (申請入學), a school recommendation (甄試入學), or previous grades (登記分發).

Enrollment by application will be open to junior high school graduates and students with special talents.

Applicants will need to take the Basic Competency Tests (BCT, 基本學力測驗) and will be allowed to apply for three schools at most.

BCTs will be held twice a year and students will pick their best grades for use in applications. The first test is scheduled to take place on March 31 and April 1 next year, and the second on June 9 and 10.

Five subjects will be tested. They are Chinese literature, English, mathematics, sociology, and natural science.

Enrollment by recommendation will be available to gifted students as well as to junior high school graduates and those with equivalent educational backgrounds.

Applicants also need to take the BCT and are allowed to apply for one school only.

To avoid the possibility that schools may have to choose among students gaining the same BCT score, schools may hold a second-stage written academic ability test, in which subjects requiring little memorization -- such as composition, listening comprehension and scientific experiments -- will be tested.

The number of enrollments by both recommendation and application combined, however, should not exceed 50 percent of the total enrollment quota each school sets for the year.

Finally, students can also enter high schools with only the BCT grades.

This option is open to junior high school graduates and those with equivalent educational backgrounds.

Candidates need to fill out a form of individual school preferences, which will be used as a reference guide for the allocation.

The city spearheaded moves in 1995 to introduce the idea of a diversified enrollment system and initiated a trial of the scheme in 1997.

One year later in 1998, the education ministry decided to scrap the 42-year-old joint senior high school entrance examination as part of its educational reforms.

It further announced a simplified version of the city's proposed six-channel admission scheme on June 30 this year.

The principal distinction between the new three-channel scheme and the abolished six-channel one is that school grades will not be considered, and that BCT grades will be the only criteria used to evaluate students' academic ability.

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