College Scholastic Ability Test
|College Scholastic Ability Test|
|Revised Romanization||Daehak suhak neungnyeok siheom|
|McCune–Reischauer||Taehak suhak nŭngnyŏk sihŏm|
|College Scholastic Ability Test|
|2013 date||November 7|
|2014 date||November 13|
College Scholastic Ability Test or CSAT (Korean:대학수학능력시험, Hanja:大學修學能力試驗 also abbreviated as Suneung (수능)) is a type of standardized test accepted by South Korean universities. It was made official in 1994. CSAT is managed by the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation. The test is offered every November, but the exact dates may annually change. CSAT plays an important role in the Education in South Korea. It is commonly believed that the CSAT will determine which university the student will enter. CSAT is even described as ‘the chance to make or break one’s future.’ Of the students taking the test, the percentage of re-takers are about 20%.
On the test day, the stock markets open late and buses and subways are increased to avoid traffic jams that could prevent students from getting to testing sites. In some cases, students are also escorted by police officers. Younger students and the members of the students' families gather outside testing sites to cheer on the students.
Since the Liberation of Korea, South Korea has changed the methods of university and college admission several times. It has changed at least twelve times. Some argue the number of changes can be extended to sixteen. The policies ranged from sometimes allowing colleges to choose on their own to outlawing hagwons. Because of this, parents and students had difficult times in adjusting to the changes. Some argue that the constant changes show an instability of the system as well as the sensitivity of the admission process to public opinion.
The very first methods of university and college admissions were left to the choice of the university. Each university was allowed to do as they like. The first form of CSAT appeared in the beginnings of 1960. The Supreme Council for National Reconstruction established an early form of CSAT from 1962 to 1963. It served as a qualification test for the students. However, due the small number of students passing the tests, the colleges soon had a shortage of students. The process was also criticized to have led to an inefficient selection of students, Due to this, the government scrapped the policy from 1964 to 1968. A similar policy was adopted in 1969 by the Third Republic of South Korea. The new test was called Preliminary College Entrance Examination (대학입학예비고사). This policy continued mostly unchanged until 1981.
In 1981, the policy was significantly changed. The test name was changed to Preliminary College Preparations Examination (대학예비고사). The cutline policy was scrapped. At this time, hagwons, or cram schools, were also outlawed. In 1982, the test name was changed to College Entrance Strength Test (대입학력고사).
The current system of CSAT was established in 1994, although it went through several revisions since then. In 2004, the government of South Korea introduced a policy called ‘2008 College Admissions Change Proposal’ but failed to bring about significant changes.
The test material is based on nation-standard textbooks and designed to prompt thinking skills. The KICE is officially in charge of making the problems, printing the tests, correcting the tests, supervising the test-making processes, setting the test fee, and admitting the tests. The problems are created by members of the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation, university-level professors, and high-school teachers. There are two groups involved with making the problems, the ‘creating problem’s group and ‘checking over the problems’ group. The former group is mainly made out of professors, though high-school teachers have been included in the group since the year 2000. The latter group is composed only of high-school teachers. Those involved in making the problems sign non-disclosure agreement directly with the KICE. As of 2012, there were a total of 696 staff members involved in making the problems. A member of the problem-making group is paid around $300 per day.
The subjects of 2014 will be: Korean, Mathematics, English language, Social Science/Science/Vocational Inquiry, and Foreign language/Hanja. Students can choose from all or some of the subjects. The subjects Korean, Mathematics and English language is also divided into type A and type B. Students can choose from which test to take. However, students can only choose 2 B tests to take out of a possible 3, and taking the Korean B test with the Mathematics B test is restricted.
The subject Social Science is further divided into Life and Ethics, Thought, History of Korea, Geography of Korea, Geography of the world, History of History of Western Asia, World History, Law, Politics, and Economics. Students can choose two subjects out of those. In the Science section, students can choose from Physics 1, Chemistry 1, Biology 1, Earth Science 1, Physics 2, Chemistry 2, Biology 2, and Earth Science 2. Students can choose two subjects out of those. Vocational Inquiry is divided to Agricultural Science, Industry, Commerce, Oceanography, and Home Economics. Students must choose one subject. However, the subject Vocational Inquiry can only be taken if the student had completed 80% of the expert studies. Foreign Language is divided into German language, French language, Spanish language, Chinese language, Japanese language, Russian language, Arabic language, basic Vietnamese language, and Hanja. Students can choose one subject.
After the test, the administrators gather the test, scan the image, and correct the test. The correction of the test, including confirming the documentations and the grades, and printing of the results take around a month 
The test is taken extremely seriously and other day-to-day operations are grounded and delayed on the test day. Neither the students or the administrators of the test could bring in cell phones, books, newspapers, foods, or any material that could distract the other test-takers in any way. Most of the complaints after the test had been involving the actions of the administrators, involving: talking, opening the windows, standing in front of their particular desks, sniffle, clicking the mouse, and eating chocolate. Test administrators are warned to not do anything that could distract the student in any way.
|Contents on the CSAT|
- Education in South Korea
- Lists of universities and colleges in South Korea
- Programme for International Student Assessment
- Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
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- Liang Choon Wang, The Deadly Effect of High-Stakes Testing on Teenagers with Reference-Dependent Preferences,