The 2021 College Scholastic Ability Test in Korea, which will be held on December 3, is about a month away. This test was originally scheduled for November, but it was postponed to December due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Can this test be carried out even though we don’t yet have a vaccine for COVID-19? I sat down with some senior high school students and listened to their fears and concerns about this issue.
|[Interview with Min Kyung Jang, currently a senior student of Pungmoon High School.
Photo credit: Nayun Kim]
First, I interviewed Min Kyung Jang, currently a senior student of Pungmoon High School. To begin, I asked what the hardest part was about preparing for the test amid COVID-19. She said, “School openings delayed and educational institutes closed. These things made me more confused than usual.” Then I asked her opinion about the College Scholastic Ability Test in Korea, to which she answered,“There are many high schools where students tested positive for COVID-19, so I feel anxious about taking exams and eating lunch in crowded places. In particular, we cannot eat lunch while wearing face masks.” She also thinks partition screens in the exam room will be annoying, because the test paper is very large, which will be frustrating and inconvenient with partition screens installed. She thinks students do not need partition screens, because they always wear masks and do not talk during the test period so only the cafeteria needs partition screens. I then asked about the inconvenience of taking a test with a mask on. “If I wear a mask for a long time during the test, the elastic strap keeps pressing into my ears. It makes my ears ache,” she said. After this interview, I wondered if other students were worried about these problems. So, I met another senior student.
|[Interview with Kyung Min Ko, currently a senior student of Jungdong High School.
Photo credit: Nayun Kim]
First, I asked Kyung Min Ko his opinion about the partition screens. He said, “The partition screens have the advantage of helping students concentrate with the supervisors and students moving around them, so I am not very worried about it.” Then I also asked his opinion about the College Scholastic Ability Test in Korea. He answered, “I don’t think everyone can take the test with confidence because not everyone will have been tested for COVID-19. It seems to be a sensitive issue because there could be an asymptotic carrier wandering around. If someone shows symptoms, it could become a big problem because everyone in the test center is a potential contact.” Lastly, I asked about his plan for the 2020 College Scholastic Ability Test, about which he said, “I think self-quarantine and washing hands are the best strategies because there is not much we can do in this unique situation.”
|[ Picture of Jungsan High School with partition screens. Photo credit: Nayun Kim]|
Students’ opinions on these issues are divided. Some approve of the partition screens, while others think they will be uncomfortable. But one of the common concerns is anxiety at having to go to the test sites, where many people will be gathered together. The United States has canceled the SAT in many states to protect students’ health and the AP test, a test that gives college credit, was conducted online. This year, the College Board launched a program that prevents students from posting false information online to avoid the problem of cheating on the AP test. I think Korea’s 2020 College Scholastic Ability Test should be done online, like the United States’ AP test. No matter how important the test is, I think it cannot be more important than students’ health.
Nayun Kim 김나연
Harvest Christian Academy
Nayun Kim email@example.com
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