People shouldn't cry over IELTS not accepted for high school admission

By Huu Nghi   March 1, 2024 | 04:00 pm PT
People shouldn't cry over IELTS not accepted for high school admission
People prepare to take IELTS test at British Council. Photo courtesy of IELTS British Council Vietnam
There will be many consequences if students with IELTS certificates are exempted from exams or given bonus points for high school admission, according to VnExpress readers.

Over the last few years, some Vietnamese cities and provinces have allowed students to use IELTS scores to get into high schools without taking the entrance exam, get bonus points for the exam, or convert the IELTS scores into scores for their English entrance exam, with 4.0-5.0 IELTS score equivalent to and English exam score of 9 or 10 out of 10.

Some localities said they want to motivate foreign language learning and reduce exam pressure for students with good academic performance. But the Ministry of Education and Training last week ordered a halt to the practice, saying it would create inequality.

Many readers have supported the ministry's decision.

"Prioritizing IELTS for grade-10 admission reduces educational diversity and affects language learning, as students would be pushed into academic English too early. Students will have to start preparing for IELTS from grade 5 or 6, leading to many becoming sick of the language. They would miss out on English for movie reviews, emails, messages, news articles, poetry, etc. IELTS should be used for university admissions, not for 10th graders. There are cheaper and more age-appropriate certificates for teenagers, like the Cambridge English certificates.

It's baseless to allow one with an IELTS certificate to enter a high school without taking any exam, because international English certificates should only replace English grades, they cannot replace Math and Literature too. Allowing localities to implement this policy would encourage middle schools to begin only investing in teaching English, which is disastrous. No progressive education system in the world does this. The Ministry of Education was right to stop this."
Minh minh

"Converting a 4.0 IELTS score sets a very low standard. Preparing for the IELTS has strayed far from its intended purpose, incurring expenses and unfairness. IELTS is suitable for studying abroad, university admissions and postgraduate studies only."

"If cities and provinces want to reduce exam pressure, why not eliminate exams and admissions altogether, and just require certain criteria to advance to the next grade. Encouraging foreign language learning doesn't mean neglecting other subjects, and only considering foreign language scores for exam-free admission is unfair to many students who can't afford to take international tests."
Anonymous V

"Converting scores to a reasonable scale to waive the English exam and for admissions is acceptable. Direct admission with IELTS certificates could be considered for specialized English classes, along with school records and other conditions. However, direct admission for non-specialized English classes based on international English certificates is unreasonable. It can lead to inequality, as many students can't afford to prepare and take English tests. Just the test fee and travel expenses for one IELTS attempt can be at around VND5 million ($203). No one denies the importance of foreign language skills, but they don't universally apply to other skill groups or knowledge areas."

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
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