Originally, most universities did not indicate retaken courses on their transcripts. Some schools issued students’ reports separately without F grades, specifically for their resumes. Moreover, students were previously allowed to cancel credits with grades of a C or a D under certain circumstances.
Numerous issues have been raised for the current credit system such as credit inflation which lessens credibility of the accomplishments. The inflation has been a concern for several years. According to the Ministry of Education, easy cancellation of credits and universities’ double credit system damages the credibility of students’grades.
“Many companies tend to lose their trust on student’s transcripts because of the excessive credit inflation,” said Kang Hak-su, an official of the Registrar’s Office.
To find a solution to the problem, the Ministry and the Korean Council for University Education requested each university to take certain measures by March, and warned that they will be at a disadvantage on the university evaluation by the government if they do not adjust some of the grading policies.
The university evaluation determines the level of support from the government. If a university receives a low score on the evaluation, they have to reduce their total enrollment quota and receive less financial support. As a result, universities decided to modify their grade system.
In the case of Korea University, it will mark retaken courses and F credits on students’ transcripts and abolish the credit cancellation system.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies will not issue separate reports which do not include F credits. The changes will be put into effect starting this spring semester.
Students express serious concern about the sudden change in the credit system, as these reforms were not announced in advance.
“Personally, I don’t understand why retaking courses causes grade inflation,” Hwang Tong-jin (Korea University, 3) said. “Many liberal arts courses are mixed in various years from freshman to senior, so freshmen or sophomores usually get lower grades than juniors or seniors and I think it is not fair at all.”
With the students’ complaints, some schools delayed the change and instead had an adaptation period.
Konkuk University originally tried to abolish the credit cancellation system from this spring semester but decided to delay one year.
Kyung Hee University announced that it would have an adaptation period before implementing changes, reflecting students’ voices on their adoption of the system. At first, the school also tried to put an end to the credit cancellation system but facing students’ objection, it decided to abolish the system gradually by 2016.
Ewha is also planning to change its credit system as well. According to the Registrar’s Office, the notification regarding credit system changes will be officially announced in March or April. It also said that the credit system changes in Ewha are inevitable.
“Nowadays, current Korean society requires the stricter system of credit,” Kang said. “Ewha’s change is an effort to try keep pace with current social needs.”