Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Suneung Follow-up, and Tuttle News Wrap

First of all, our friends at the JoongAng Daily have a pair of stories concerning the aftermath of the suneung or Korean SAT which took place last Thursday. No, no suicides--the results won't be released for two more weeks. (Wow, that was crude and ugly! Here's hoping this absurdity changes before more lives are lost ...)

Mother of all tests easier this year, declares the headline. Last year's SAT was "brutal", so this year's version was "more forgiving":
“We made efforts to have about 1 to 1.5 percent of students with perfect scores in each subject,” said Lee Heung-su, director of CSAT writers, in a press briefing yesterday.
Last year, only 0.06 percent of students received perfect scores in the Korean language portion, 0.02 percent in the math portion and 0.21 percent in the English language portion.
“Taking into consideration that last year’s CSAT was harder despite the fact that a high percentage of questions came from workbook lessons published by EBS, we tried not to make too many modifications this time,” said Lee.

On the downside, an easier exam makes it more difficult to be a stand-out at the top of the heap, just as the college application process enters the final turn. Sez the article:
According to college admission experts, the easier the test is, the more strategic test takers should be about their college applications, as the fate of test takers with similar CSAT scores rests on how well each of them do in the application process.
Seventy percent of applicants to the better universities (like SKY) are admitted through the regular application process--i.e., consideration of SAT scores; however, many other fine institutions will consider the scores along with high school grades, extracurricular activities and admissions interviews.

Good luck to all!

Meanwhile, in Tuttle news: 1) I had no classes, as today was a national criterion-referenced scholastic testing day for HS first and second grade. No one had told me, even though I went over the November-Decemder calendar with my handler just two weeks ago.

2) Today was 민방공 min bang gong, literally people's defense from the air, or air raid drill. It didn't affect me personally, as I was inside at 2:00 when the sirens went off. When I came to Korea, these drills did not happen, but for the last year or so, they have been held most every month, usually on the fifteenth. I think the timing of their resurgence coincides with the Cheonan incident, but I can't say for sure.

In the US of the fifties and even into my dimly-remembered 1960s, schoolchildren periodically crouched under their desks, or were herded into schoolhouse basements, in civil defense drills. I remember that when I worked in the Math/Physics building at WGC, we were an official fallout shelter, with the signs:


The Korean version, which began popping up around subway station exits, looks like this:

While I was inside today, and I guess "safe" from potential harm from the air, I did get caught in one of these drills last spring. Civil defense officials, wearing the customary yellow beauty-pageant sashes of Korean officaldom, take over all intersections and make the cars sit idle for fifteen minutes. They herd pedestrians into the confines, or at least the general area, of the nearest fallout shelter aka subway exit, where they cool their heels for fifteen minutes, until the all-clear blows.

Busy ajumma wait five minutes or so, then cluck and growl at said officials and continue on their way with their two-wheel shopping carts trailing behind. (Note to self: I so need one of those wheelie carts.)

3) Next week is the Kid Power Toy Convention at Young-il HS, I'm getting all excited! Partly because it's a really fun lesson, and partly because it means Christmas is near.


Gavin said...

Mate, we have fire drills, not this. Tell you something?


George Bailey Sees The World! said...

Well, at least you don't have lock-down drills to combat against potential shootings and bombings. My practicum school will be running one of those in a couple of weeks, I'm told.

Also, I envy you doing Christmas lessons. My short practicum ends on December 2nd. Boooo...