English proficiency test due in June
By Na Jeong-ju
The education ministry said Wednesday the first National English Ability Test (NEAT), a state-administered English proficiency exam, will be held on June 24 and the second on July 29 for high school students.
Based on the tests, the ministry will decide later in the year on whether to replace the English-language section of the nation’s college entrance exam with NEAT, an Internet-based TOEIC-style test.
Applicants for seven universities must submit NEAT scores. They are Gangneung-Wonju National University, Kongju National University, Daejin University, Dongseo University, Pukyong National University, Changwon National University and Korea Maritime University.
The schools said last year they would use the test as a key criterion in selecting new students for the 2013 academic year.
The ministry hopes the implementation of NEAT will change the way students learn English here. The test is aimed at enhancing students’ ability to communicate with native speakers. It has opened courses for teachers on how to teach writing and speaking.
However, there are worries that the exam could trigger greater zeal for English among parents and students and push educational costs higher. It also can be another burden for students preparing for college admissions.
There will be three different versions of NEAT ― one for adults and two for high school students. Pilot exams have been taken place to ensure smooth implementation and an error-free scoring system. The test for adults is scheduled to debut in September, according to the ministry.