Sun, Mar 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

College admissions plans require greater flexibility

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

New college admission plans should be revised to allow more testing flexibility to ensure rural students are not disadvantaged, teachers’ union officials said yesterday.

“Under current plans, the only flexibility allowed is a choice between social studies and natural sciences, and many students are likely to take both anyway, because they would have already taken both subjects in their junior year,” said Huang Chih-cheng (黃致誠), of the National Federation of Teachers’ Unions, adding that a lack of flexibility undermines reforms to introduce greater diversity into high-school curricula.

“Admission plans should take high-school education into consideration rather than just what is convenient for universities,” he said.

According to the new rules announced by the College Recruitment Commission last month, all students will be required to submit standardized test scores for Chinese, English and mathematics, as well as either social studies or natural sciences.

Huang said his union advocates allowing students to submit scores for any three of the five subjects instead.

“Because there is a huge difference between cities and rural areas for test scores in mathematics and English, we do not think every student should need to provide these scores,” he said, adding that lowering the number of scores students submit would help put pressure on universities to carefully calculate students’ p-values.

Calculation of p-values varies by school, but is supposed to be based on grades, extracurricular activities and a select number of student projects to comprise at least 50 percent of the score used by universities to rank applicants and determine admissions.

“Given that students are already required to take English and mathematics in high school and those grades will be included in their p-value calculations, are standardized test scores necessary?” Huang said.

He also called on the Ministry of Education to write regulations and use subsidies to encourage universities guarantee that p-value calculations are rigorous.

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