Junior high school students sit BCT

The China Post staff

Graduating junior high school students breathed a communal sigh of relief yesterday after completing the two-day Basic Competency Tests (BCT), an important exam used to apply for admissions to senior high schools. Described by many teachers and education experts as an “innovative” and “non-conforming” exam to assess student’s academic competency, some of the BCT’s questions this year have been known to take on some cultural taboos, deemed by some parents as inappropriate. For example, one of the test questions in Natural Sciences reportedly threw many of the teenage girls taking the BCT off guard, as it asked them to identify the scrotum from an illustration.

Aside from that, many test questions in Social Sciences and Math were described as up-to-date with current social phenomenons and events, such as the potent drought, Internet chatrooms, or regulations for street peddlers. Despite the incorporation of current events in the BCT, many high school principals were said to be unhappy with the exam’s lack of coverage in addressing certain issues, particularly those pertaining to the widening gap between those living in the suburban and urban settings. Authorities said there were 15 cases of test violations, mostly students found bringing their cellphones into their exam. All testing centers, including the one in China’s Tung-kuan, wrapped up the two-day exam, with all answer sheets being collected, sealed, and sent to a facility in Taichung to be scored. The official score reports would be mailed to students on May 21. According to officials from the Ministry of Education (MOE), students who have questions regarding test questions or their official answers could submit their inquiries with the test committee, using the address and forms provided in BCT’s pamphlets. Those who did not do well on this past weekend BCT could have a second chance to take it again on June 22 and 23, MOE officials added. Meanwhile, on the second day of the BCT, a brawl among some 30 students broke out at a testing center in Kaohsiung. Upon investigation, authorities said the event actually was the “sequel” of a violent conflict that occurred Saturday between students from the southern harbor city’s Chihsien and Yin-ming Junior High Schools. Two students were said to sustain minor injuries as a result of the brawl. The pack of disorderly youngsters fled the scene as police arrived to handle the matter.