The National English Ability test was perhaps the most sound up-to-date attempt by the Korean government at reducing the English Proficiency Gap (of the GPA Wall Hypothesis - p.7) by substituting the English portion of the current College Scholastic Ability Test (Essentially, a multiple choice English skills test: Not testing for speaking and writing skills - only listening and reading skills.), however, the plan did not materialize as was proposed in the year 2012 since it didn't receive enough support.
Purpose of test: (for domestic use)
National English Proficiency Test (NEPT)
-Standardized English Test for Job Preparation (Level 1)
National English Ability Test (NEAT)
-Standardized English Test for College Preparation (Level 2 & 3)
-four Skills (Direct speaking and Writing)
-Item Response Theory
Whole/Skills-based score A,B,C,F
(If you miss a level your level goes down one level, regardless of which level you missed.)
-Criterion referenced test
NEAT is is to be implemented as follows:
Constitution of NEAT
Realm of NEAT
Since NEAT would continue to be based on the current curriculum, should it be implemented, students active output (Writing and Speaking) would still take a distant seat behind the passive skills (Reading and Listening) as is the case in the current KSAT. Therefore, NEAT does not appear to go far enough in changing the present structure of testing in order to help students become more active language users.
Should the test be implemented as proposed by the Korean Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MEST), it would follow the proposed plan, as outlined in the chart below:
Progress of NEAT
The above charts on NEAT are based on the seminar presentation of Professor Kim Jeong Ryeol of Seoul National University of Education, president of the Korea Association of Primary English Education, on Cambridge Day 2001 at Sukmyung Woman's University, Seoul, South Korea.
Effectively, the South Korean MEST hopes that through the introduction of NEAT they could eliminate a considerable portion of Korean parents' collective financial burden which stems from the need to ready their children, via private education, for the KSAT, TOEIC and TOEFL tests, the scores of which are widely accepted by Korean universities for entrance evaluation purposes.
Under the proposed plan, NEAT would allow science students, for instance, to be tested via a method that would require lower levels of active English language production than would be expected of those students entering majors that require more actual language production. - As such, Level 3 of the NEAT would be more appropriate for assessing students entering science majors, while Level 2 would be more appropriate for students entering a major such as International Studies, demanding a high level of active English proficiency.
Overall, the Korean MEST plans to implement this domestically manufactured testing system (NEAT) to replace those developed abroad (TOEIC; IELTS, TOEFL) so as to make it more customised for the needs of South Korean students and universities alike.
TOEIC: Test of English for International Communication
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language
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2) Jambor, Paul Z., 'Teaching Context: "Synthetic and Analytic Syllabuses" in a South Korean University Setting' Department of Education - The United States of America: Educational Resources Information Center, March 31, 2006
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4) Jambor, Paul Z., 'Why South Korean Universities Have Low International Rankings - Part II: The Student Side of the Equation', Academic Leadership: Volume 7 - Issue 3, August 10, 2009
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Education, The United States of America: Educational Resources Information Center,
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