Thu, Feb 14, 2019 - Page 3 News List

GSAT scorers report back on essays

By Wu Po-hsuan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Teachers in Taipei yesterday mark essays and other non-multiple-choice sections of the university entrance exam — the General Scholastic Ability Test.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

As scorers grade the essay portions of the General Scholastic Ability Test (GSAT) — Taiwan’s university entrance exam, which is held in late January or early February each year — some are reporting the responses they have seen, such as one student who drew an image of a goose and a butterfly.

The College Entrance Examination Center released the grading rubric for the non-multiple choice sections of the GSAT yesterday. The rubric was based on a sample of 3,000 exam papers.

This year, high-school students received two questions in each of the Chinese and English writing sections.

The first part of the Chinese writing section prompted students to discuss hypothetical policies reducing or banning the consumption of sweetened drinks at schools based on two diagrams they were given.

The second tested students’ reading comprehension of two passages and asked them to write an essay sharing their personal experience of kindness.

To receive high marks for their responses to the first part, students needed to make a clear, justified argument and use good diction, said National Chengchi University (NCCU) Chinese literature professor Lin Chi-ping (林啟屏), who is the convener of a team of 222 people scoring the Chinese written responses.

For the second part, scorers are looking for a deep understanding of the texts, elegant style and vivid descriptions, he said.

For the essay about their experiences of kindness, many students wrote about their relationships with their parents, grandparents, teachers or classmates, test scorers said.

Some wrote about good deeds they had done or witnessed, such as helping an older person cross the street or donating money, they said.

However, one student chose to draw an image of a goose and a butterfly, they said, adding that they would likely receive zero for that question.

For the first part of the English writing section, students were asked to translate two sentences outlining the speed and convenience of the high-speed rail system.

Students lost 0.5 points for each mistake they made, said NCCU English professor Lai Huei-ling (賴惠玲), the convener of a team of 160 people scoring the English responses.

Many students made careless mistakes in this section, such as misspelling the word “choice” as “choise,” she said.

In the second part, students were required to write a minimum of 120 words on the two aspects of Taiwan they were most proud of and how they would introduce or market these to the world.

Taipei 101, Hualien County’s Taroko National Park, Tainan’s temples and ancient sites, and night market culture were among the subjects students chose to write about, test scorers said.

Others chose to highlight the friendliness and kindness of Taiwanese, democracy or the convenience of living in Taiwan, they said.

Responses that were clear and organized are likely to receive good scores, they added.

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