Friday, November 4, 2011

Koreans' TOEFL Ranking Drops, But Moves Ahead of English Teachers

Figures have revealed that despite a zeal for putting more hours and money into their English language education than their neighbors, Korea's average TOEFL ranking fell from 71st in 2009 to 80th last year when compared against other countries. The TOEFL - or Test of English as a Foreign Language - is the central focus of English teaching in Korea and is used to restrict entry to universities as well as a variety of professions including advertising, construction and the teaching of French.

But in a sign that Korea is making progress in its quest for English proficiency, native-English teachers who took the TOEFL test in 2009 and 2010 as part of a government research program achieved lower scores than their Korean students for the first time. The result has been hailed as proof that Korea no longer needs to tolerate foreigners inconveniencing everyone in Korea, and can instead recruit English teachers domestically by attracting Korean nationals with average TOEFL scores to the profession.

Speaking in English, a spokesperson for the Korean Teacher English Teacher Union said that "Once Korean were student but now we are master become." But a spokesman for AKET - the Association in Korea of English Teachers - fired back at the KTETU statement in a press release "Native english speakers are obviosly better qualifide to teach english and stuff and the korean government should bare in mind that they are only damaging students learning-and-education and not helping students learn proper because spoken and written english best teached by profesional's who use english as a first and only language not confuzed by speaking too things at once."

Some experts have pointed to the fact that Korea's ranking fell while scores remained the same, simply because of improvements in the average scores of other countries which have nothing to do with Korea. As such, the nation's determination to spend more money to maintain its previous year's accomplishment has been justified.

The government has said it will eventually solve the TOEFL ranking problem by introducing a domestic replacement to the test with an assessment and scoring system that will not be directly comparable to the international standard. Because the National English Ability Test (NEAT) will not be recognized by international universities, this will also solve the 'brain drain' issue of Korean students going overseas to study, and then forgetting to come back to Korea afterwards.

Related Links
Koreans’ TOEFL ranking drops
High demand causes 'Toefl crisis' in South Korea
Locally-developed test may replace entrance test of English
State English test gets more support
Trial test for state-run English exam Saturday
Special University Admissions Mean Big Business for Crammers
More talk about the TOEFL in Korea
12-year-old girl gets perfect TOEFL score
Foreigner Meetings Point to Massive Conspiracy

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