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Student admitted to elite high school despite zero on test
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-20 05:27 PM
The admission of a student into one of the island’s elite high schools despite receiving a score of zero on one test is adding to the controversy surrounding Taiwan’s 12-year compulsory system and the tests used to assign students to high schools.

The student in question did not participate in the exams for the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students, known as the hui-kao, resulting in a score of zero on the test, but scored 48 points on the two segments given later to determine aptitude for alternative programs and optional classes. On the strength of the two latter test scores the student won admission to Taipei’s highly-regarded Cheng-kung High School, adding fuel to already-fiery tempers over the 12-year education system implemented last year.

The entrance examination considers scores on three tests with a total of 90 points possible at 30 points per test. The standard for admission to Cheng-kung High School this year was reportedly set at four As and one B, or a grade of about 88 points. It was only after the list of students accepted to the school was compiled that one potential freshman student was found to have skipped the first test, receiving a score of zero for that segment. The school clerk discovering the discrepancy immediately contacted higher-ups to deal with the situation.

The student in question is from central Taiwan and attended school in Taiwan through grade eight, then went abroad for one year of study. After returning to Taiwan the student took part in the admission tests and was eventually admitted to Cheng-kung High School.

Cheng-kung High School principal Lee Ching-tsung has confirmed the admission of the student. Lee explained that originally there were 88 vacancies which needed to be filled and 83 students were selected, leaving a total of five unfilled slots. The student involved in the controversy was admitted as part of the first 83 applicants and has reported already completed registration for school.

Lee said that without any results for the first segment of the three-part tests the school cannot accurately determine the ability of the student, and Cheng-kung has been trying for some time to locate the students and his or her parents to learn more about the student’s background.

One graduate of Cheng-kung was startled to hear of the student’s admission, saying the case demonstrates the absurdity of the MOE’s "rotten system." Critics of the new educational system have latched onto the case as a ‘classic’ example of what is wrong with the testing procedures installed to go with the new curriculum.

Reaction to the 12-year system has already contributed to the departure of the Chiang Wei-ling, the former Minister of Education who oversaw its implementation, and has the MOE busy examining the system and its problems.

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