China examines its own exam system

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The Chinese government has finally decide to change the way that college entrance exams is done. The examination known as gaokao aims to reverse the exam focus education system to help develop standards further.



The Ministry of Education (MoE) announced some changes on the gaokao system on 16th December by asking universities to be able to judge students results by assessing the students through a wider array as opposed to focusing just on examinations.


Currently, students take a number of examinations to determine their ability and level of success. In the future the MoE propose that students will be allowed to submit result from 3 subjects from a pool of 6: Biology, chemistry, geography, history, physics and politics-together with their mandatory Chinese, math and English scores


The aim of this new regulation is to help students take advantage of their strengths which in turn will help them overcome their areas for development. Zhou Bin a Principal from Haining said that too much attention was put on the weaknesses of students.


The gaokao is the only means of testing students ability and resumed in 1977. The MoE shows that 9.39 million students took the gaokao last year, which was an increase of 270,000 (approximately 3%) from 2013. Due to the increase in the number of applications, the competition for entrance has skyrocketed, putting additional pressure on students to achieve higher.


The changes proposed to the gaokao system put emphasis on a more holistic approach to better prepare students for life and to develop the country’s untapped talent. This in turn should make students more independent and promote them with their educational goals.


The reform on the gaokao system will be piloted on 2 provinces: Shanghai and Zhejiang. Students will be tested on Chinese, Mathematics and English. The remaining 3 subjects can be chosen by the student so it does not pressurise students to focus on a one way approach to learning.


Starting in 2015, the first set of classes will begin at several high schools in the two provinces. Chen Weixin, a teacher with the Enrolment Administration Office of Shanghai Fudan Secondary School says that the new system will allow for academically gifted students to achieve success faster at higher level based on their performance.


Chen Jun, the Principal of Shanghai Shibei Secondary School said the changes to the gaokao will help fast track gifted and talented students. In 2017 Shanghai’s education reform plan will help higher learning institutions have the freedom to enrol students with special gifts rather than just focus on those who have achieved highly in exams.


Shanghai, along with Finland has the best education system in the world so it will be interesting to see how these changes to the gaokao system affect shanghai’s curriculum and results in months to come.


Students in Shanghai as keen to learn and so behaviour management is not needed as much. Contact Winney our Senior International Consultant for Asia on to help you secure a teaching job in Shanghai.


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