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ERIC Number: EJ1180889
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0119-5646
An Analysis of the Failure(s) of South Korea's National English Ability Test
Lee, Hikyoung; Lee, Kathy
Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, v25 n5-6 p827-834 Dec 2016
In 2008, the Ministry of Education of South Korea planned to develop a domestic, standardized language test called the National English Ability Test (NEAT) as part of sweeping reforms designed to democratize and improve the Korean education system. On many levels, NEAT was an innovative initiative. From a financial perspective, NEAT was designed to curb private spending on English education and to divert money from international standardized English tests. Educationally, NEAT was groundbreaking in that it introduced speaking and writing into English assessment and was meant to replace the English section on the College Scholastic Ability Test of Korea. In addition, NEAT was a two-track English test for high school students intended to meet the differing needs of students and colleges. After about five years, including a trialing period and a new presidential administration, plans for implementing NEAT were abandoned officially in 2013. The present paper examines the educational, sociopolitical, and economic factors that led to the rise and demise of NEAT from a critical language testing perspective. Following the tenets of critical language testing, this paper addresses the responsibility of the language testers to create an assessment that fairly measures test-takers' language proficiency. A review and an inductive interpretation of policy documents and recent NEAT research demonstrate the discrepancies among the original intentions of NEAT, the unintended outcomes, and overlooked issues of practicality. Findings also reveal that the two tracks of NEAT negatively branded both students and universities, deepening instead of alleviating the English divide.
Springer. Available from: Springer Nature. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Korea
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A