By Bae Ji-sook
Girls are better with words and boys are good at calculating. They also study better when separated than in the same classroom, a state-run institute reported Wednesday while announcing an analysis of the nationwide College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) results. The test was conducted in November last year with more than 450,000 participants.
According to the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation, a section of the education ministry, girls outshone boys in the Korean and English languages section, while the latter were better at mathematics.
Coed schools were less effective when it came to academic achievements ― they were behind single-sex schools by 5.7 points in the Korean language, 5 in English and 1.9 in mathematics, on average.
Gwangju, a far southwestern city with a population of around one million, was the most impressive as it marked the highest overall average score among local administrations. The lowest was Incheon.
However, students in Seoul nabbed the top ranks in English, where experts assume that the elite private cram schools conducting English immersion classes contributed to the results.
Students from affluent areas such as Gangnam and Seocho in southern Seoul scored exceptionally high, while those living in rural areas were relatively less proficient.
Private school educated students achieved better results than those from public schools, the report noted.
While students from the former scored an average 102 on the Korean language section, those from public schools received 99.7.
The same pattern was seen in math marks, 101.8 to 98.2 and English marks, 102.1 to 98.7. Private schools produced more students with higher grades, while public schools had a larger number of less academic ones.
The report is in line with that for 2008, which showed that private schools, especially foreign language high schools or those in large cities were rated more privileged than others. Civic groups and educational experts have claimed that such an ``educational gap'' should be narrowed by strengthening teacher training and class activities in public schools.