Tue, Dec 02, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Ministry, Taipei clash over grades

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Report cards will not be changed to accommodate Taipei’s high-school admissions plan, the Ministry of Education said yesterday, threatening to prevent the plan’s implementation.

Ministry officials laid out the “difficulties” of accepting the filing of an adjusted admissions plan by the Taipei City Government early last month.

“Even though we fully respect local autonomy in decisionmaking, this issue directly touches the interests of students, and we have a responsibility to exercise our supervision,” Deputy Minister of Education Lin Shu-chen (林淑真) said.

The ministry said simulations show that Taipei’s proposed changes would have a profound impact on the admissions process, potentially altering the final admission results of 73.6 percent of students when last year’s data was run through the new formula.

Taipei’s plan revises the complicated formula used during the high-school admissions process to increase the importance of scores on the National Comprehensive Assessment scores. The original formula used “marks” (標示), which are grades based on National Comprehensive Assessment scores, as part of the tie-breaking process. Taipei’s plan deletes these “marks” in favor of a statistical tool based on “rulers” (量尺), which more closely reflect National Comprehensive Assessment scores.

Lin said Taipei’s plan violates the spirit of the national 12-year education program, which sought to relieve unnecessary pressure on students by reducing the importance of standardized testing.

She was emphatic that score cards issued to students in Taipei would show “marks,” not “rulers,” adding that the report cards had to be the same as those in other areas to protect students’ right to apply to and attend schools across school district boundaries.

She also refused to rule out withholding data from Taipei.

However, Taipei Department of Education Commissioner Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said the department will not adjust plans that it has already “implemented.”

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