Recent findings by College Board revealed that only 1,712 students have applied for this year’s Korean subject test among high school graduates. That is a 9 percent decrease compared to last year when 1,891 students took the test.
In 2009, 4,625 students took the Korean subject test in the first year. Just eight years later, the figure has dropped by 63.5 percent. The number of students taking the test fell below 2,000 for the first time and is expected to decrease further.
The Korean subject test was first made available in 1997. From 2005 to 2007, the number of students who took the test surpassed 3,000 and 4,000, respectively, but it has been on a steady decline after a record figure of 4,625 in 2009.
The reason behind the decline in figure is attributed by many to the parents of the students who feel that taking the Korean subject test does not help their children when trying to gain a competitive edge during the college admission process.
However, some say that the decrease in number has more to do with the waning importance of the subject tests as a whole. The number of students taking SAT subject tests has decreased considerably since the earlier part of the decade—from 312,000 in 2011 to just 219,000 this year. As 1.8 million students took the test, only 12 percent of them have taken the subject tests.
In the past, prestigious universities such as Harvard required students to take at least three subject tests. Nowadays, it is difficult to find a college that requires any of the subject tests. The likes of University of Pennsylvania, Amherst College, Columbia, Dartmouth and Carnegie Mellon University have called off their subject test requirements.
As of now, science and engineering schools still require subject tests, but even those are limited to math and science-related subjects.
Rumors recently also indicate that College Board no longer considers SAT subject test to be as important. However, College Board has since dismissed those accusations.