27 colleges to adopt NEAT test in 2013
By Na Jeong-ju
Twenty-seven colleges will use scores from the National English Ability Test (NEAT), a state-administered English proficiency exam, in selecting new students next year, up from the current seven.
The new additions to the list of schools accepting NEAT scores include Keimyung University, Dongduk Women’s University, Soon Chun Hyang University, Inje University and Chungnam National University, according to a statement by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology issued on Monday.
An official said promoting the use of NEAT for college admissions is one of the key educational projects the ministry will push in 2013. The Korean Council for University Education (KCUE), which oversees the annual state-administered college admission test, said it is discussing with top universities in Seoul to have them adopt NEAT.
“More and more universities are adopting NEAT as a measurement of English skills for applicants. It’s becoming a new trend in English education,” a KCUE spokesman said. “Our goal is to have all private and national universities use NEAT scores for evaluating students.”
The test, which debuted in June, is the administration’s ambitious project to reduce Koreans’ dependence on foreign proficiency tests, such as TOEIC and TOEFL.
The ministry will decide soon on whether to replace the English-language section of the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) with NEAT, an Internet-based, TOEIC-style exam. Like high TOEIC or TOEFL scorers, high NEAT scorers will receive preference when applying to enter colleges, officials said.
The Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE), which administers the NEAT, has published textbooks for applicants and set up an internet site to offer free study materials for test takers. The ministry said the primary goal for developing NEAT is to address concerns about growing household spending on English education.
However, many experts have warned that the exam could trigger even greater zeal for English among parents and students, push educational costs higher than already soaring levels, and become yet another burden for students preparing for college admission.