Fri, Nov 07, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Ministry, Taipei spar over school rules

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

If Taipei continues to push its high-school admissions plan, the city will have to take full responsibility for the consequences, Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) said yesterday, as the ministry and Taipei traded barbs throughout the day.

They have been deadlocked since the ministry rejected the city’s plan last month, with conflict centering on how student scores on the Comprehensive Assessment Program set of exams should be used in the admission tie-breaking process students might face.

The city intends to use the most precise rankings early in the tie-breaking process, going against ministry directives requiring that the precision of rankings used be gradually increased, with the most precise used only as a last resort.

Wu made his remarks at the Legislative Yuan in response to legislators urging the ministry to let Taipei have its way.

Wu said that although the ministry can refuse to officially accept the plan’s filing, Taipei has the authority to implement its plan without ministry approval.

He added that the ministry has the responsibility to supervise the city’s education department, advising it when the city’s actions violate the spirit of the law.

He used a soccer analogy to explain ministry objections, saying Taipei’s plan applied “overtime rules” to the main game of the admissions process.

In related developments, National Taiwan Normal University’s Research Center for Psychological and Educational Testing — which designed the series of rankings and statistical tools in dispute — issued an official response to Taipei’s plan yesterday.

In its response, the center said Taipei’s plan to use the most precise set of rankings would create confusion by subjecting the majority of students to a tool needed for only 1 percent of scores.

In response, Taipei Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Feng Ching-huan (馮清皇) said using the most precise set of rankings is necessary for fairness.

Feng said yesterday that the school district comprising Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung has already approved a new plan. Details are to be announced after further negotiations with the ministry, he said.

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