Major changes to university entrance exams in the works
Mar 06, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Mar 06, 2014 12:00 am
Turkey is planning to replace university entrance exams with a series of exams during the pupils' final year or with exams spanning the first year to the fourth year of high school
Istanbul (Daily Sabah) - The Turkish Ministry of National Education is considering replacing the current system of university entrance exams with a series of exams spread throughout the year. Under the new system, it is believed student abilities can be assessed more effectively The Turkish Ministry of National Education is working in coordination with the Higher Education Council and Student Selection and Placement Center to replace the current university entrance exams by 2016.
One of the options on the table is a system similar to the high school entrance tests for middle school graduates. High schools students during their senior year take exams on five subjects every two months during the academic year. Under a similar system during the final year of high school, prospective college students will be able to apply universities using the highest marks achieved in one exam.
Another option the ministry has proposed would enable university entrance assessments to be based on testing scores that high school students accumulate from freshman year to senior year. The exams would include open-ended questions, along with multiple-choice standardized tests.
Nationwide university entrance exams were first introduced in 1974, though some universities held exams to choose the applicants before that date. The exams have been subject to numerous changes since then, which have been criticized for confusing the students. Grading systems in the exams were also criticized for forcing students to answer questions unrelated to the field they want to study at the university level.
Currently, the exams have two stages. The first stage of this year's exam will be held on March 23. Last week, media reports claiming the exam would be sabotaged, emerged.
The reports claim some teachers affiliated with the Gülen Movement and tasked with monitoring the exams will deliberately take sick leave to cause a shortage of monitors.
The Ministry of National Education officials said measures were in place to prevent this, including staffing exam centers with additional monitors.
The ministry's plan to change the university entrance system came on the heels of a bill approved by the Parliament which will abolish prep schools. Prep schools, offering paid classes for students preparing for exams, will be closed or converted to private colleges by 2015. In response to concerns that students will be deprived of the opportunity to take prep courses, the ministry recently announced that the courses will be offered to students free of charge by the state.