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Grading and Selection Process of Chillimsi in the Late Joseon Period

PARK HYUN SOON 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the grading and selection methods employed in chillimsi, such as alseongsi, chundangdaesi, chillimjeongsi, which was one of the biggest variables in the late Joseon period’s civil service examination. Chillimsi exhibited characteristics of jeugilbangbang, and with a rising number of applicants, the likelihood of poor grading also escalated. This paper examines how grading and selection were actually carried out, considering the issue of grading effectiveness. A stringent customary practice governed the appointment of chillimsi exam supervisors. The dokgwongwan primarily comprised the director and deputy director of the Office of Special Counselors and Bureau of Arts and Letters, while the daedokgwan was mainly staffed by officials from the Office of Special Counselors. The composition of invigilators was outlined to ensure the optimal conditions for grading. The scoring of chillimsi was conducted in two stages: bungo and hapgo. During bungo, outstanding responses were swiftly identified, while hapgo involved a meticulous examination to select the final works. However, the state ritual aspect of chillimsi, characterized by the form of jeugilbangbang, posed a challenge to the grading process. This resulted in the need to assess tens of thousands of answer sheets within an exceedingly brief timeframe of a single afternoon. With the increasing number of applicants, the burden of bungo also intensified. In an effort to address this challenge, examiners sought to expedite the grading process by evaluating only the introduction part of the answers and minimizing the number of submitted responses. Ultimately, a system prioritizing the assessment of first-submitted answers was established, deemed the safest and most efficient approach in the face of widespread plagiarism and the practice to appreciate writing talent within tight time constraints. While the bungo examiners proceeded with confidence, the practice of perfunctorily grading answers without reviewing the entire text remained a concerning aspect of the system.

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