The Ministry of Education yesterday denied claims that it would start testing junior high school graduates on their English listening ability in high school entrance examinations starting in the 2012 academic year.
“We are not considering the policy for the 2012 school year,” Department of Secondary Education Director Su Teh-hsiang (蘇德祥) told reporters.
Su said educators and cram school teachers had previously suggested that English listening proficiency tests be included in the high school entrance examinations, but the ministry was still evaluating the suggestion.
Su’s remarks came in response to a story in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) yesterday that quoted Sung Yao-ting (宋曜廷), director of the Research Center for Psychological and Educational Testing at National Taiwan Normal University, as saying that the center would suggest that the ministry test junior high school graduates on their English listening and writing abilities.
The nation’s high school entrance examinations have been criticized for failing to test students’ English proficiency, as the examinations only include multiple-choice questions.
Sung was quoted as saying that the center, which was responsible for developing examination content, could suggest the inclusion of a section on listening, another on translation and another on guided compositions in the tests.
The story also quoted Tseng Li-na (曾麗娜), a junior high school English teacher, as saying that testing students on their English listening and writing abilities could help improve their foreign language proficiency.
However, the ministry remained concerned that students from well-to-do families might be at an advantage via-a-vis their counterparts from economically disadvantaged families if high school entrance examinations also included listening proficiency tests.