Teacher certification system reformed for better education
Teacher certification system reformed for better education
  • Moon Bo-ra
  • 승인 2012.03.04 11:17
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Change from three-step to two-step test and an addition of Korean History Exam
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) announced its Teacher Certification Examination Reform Plan on Feb. 14, which included significant changes in the teacher certification examination and student qualifications to take the exam.
MEST proposed such a plan to prevent teacher training agencies from becoming knowledge-oriented test prep schools and to employ outstanding teachers who teach and guide students well.
One of the main changes in the examination system for teacher certification is the shift from a three-step to a two-step evaluation system.
The exam currently consists of three steps: first a multiple-choice test in pedagogy, second an essay test in examinees’ major, and third a lesson demonstration and an interview.
The new system, however, will eliminate the multiple-choice test, replacing it with a test of pedagogy in an essay format. This changes the examination to a two-step exam that requires an essay and a supply-type test for the first step and a lesson demonstration and an interview for the second step.
A MEST official who wishes to stay anonymous explained that this change will help increase the validity of the exam in terms of testing pedagogy.
“Since pedagogy is a practical study that requires thinking and problem solving skills, we thought an essay-type test would do a better job in distinguishing examinees than a multiple-choice test would do,” said the MEST official.
The additional requirement of the examinees passing the Korean History Examination at level three is another part of the reform plan. This requirement was added to emphasize the significance of holding a more informed historical view and greater knowledge. To gain eligibility to take the teacher certification exam, students must prepare for this as well.
“Because teachers broadly affect students’ perspective while teaching, correct knowledge of Korean history is crucial,” the MEST official said.
“We therefore adopted a mechanism that allows future teachers to have a more informed perspective on Korean history and a greater knowledge of it.”
In addition, MEST will require personality and career aptitude evaluation to allow students to gain insight into their careers.
From now on, teacher-training agencies, such as education colleges, will expand the admissions officer system to find students with an aptitude for teaching.
Moreover, they will be required to conduct a personality and career aptitude test at least twice during a student’s attendance.
Because these new changes will be in effect starting next year, students currently preparing for the exam are showing mixed reactions to the reform plan. Especially juniors and seniors, who have been preparing for the original teacher certification examination, appear to have strong concerns.
“I agree that testing pedagogy in an essay-type test may be more suitable for distinguishing examinees with higher qualifications,”  You Sun-hee (Korea University, 4) said.
“But I am afraid that I will have to undergo a difficult transition. Now, I am mulling over whether to put off my plan to take the exam next year.”
Lacking information on the new test format, students preparing for the exam seem lost.
“As the reformed test is unprecedented, we have no idea what will be on the test and how we should prepare for it, so we desperately need the help of private institutions,” Na Sun-ei (Social Studies, 3) said.
“I have seen friends already knocking on doors of private academies in Noryangjin (an area in Seoul where exam preparation institutes are densely concentrated), which is burdensome but inevitable.”
In the second half of 2012, there will be one teacher certification examination in the original format, and the reform plan will take effect in 2013.

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