Teachers say students weakest in English exam

The China Post staff

Senior high school students made most mistakes in English spelling and grammar, according to teachers who graded the designated examination for college entrance.

Teachers are still grading the 2007 exam for high school graduates. But they haven’t come across a student to get the full score of 20 for English composition. Prof. Hsieh Kuo-ping, dean of the College of Foreign Languages at the Providence University said the students also made most common mistakes in the usage of English verbs. The topic for this year’s English composition was “electricity.” The test required students to write a brief article about how they would feel and cope in a world without electricity. Most students felt the topic was a good and practical one since electricity has become a daily necessity and everyone could easily express their views from personal experiences. Some said electricity has become indispensable for modern life, especially the need for electric fans and air conditioners during the sultry summer season. The questions in other sections, such as translation and reading comprehension are also easy to grasp. Issues like the shortening the distance of the island with the newly inaugurated high-speed rail system, global warming, computer technology, the “blood diamonds” and the latest craze “Wii” — a red-hot interactive video game console— were also related to people’s daily life. These issues and related terms have been given prominent space in local newspapers and electronic media. But Hsieh revealed that the highest score for English composition so far was “18” out of the full score of 20. Students failed to get the full score mainly because of errors in spelling and grammar, especially the usages of verbs.

A total of 100,058 senior high school graduates throughout Taiwan and offshore islands took the English test on July 2. But there were still 4,946 students or 4.94 percent of the total student population who skipped the exam for various reasons.