College Admission in China: Problems and Improvements A 1 5-year-old girl decided to drop out of the school after having been told that she can’t attend the Chinese National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) in Shanghai because she was not born there.
She began fighting for her right to attend the exam earlier this year, and soon attracted the public attention with her posts on Weibo, China’s version of twitter (Global Times, December 4, 2012). Her case re-ignited the public debate over the countrys current policy for the Chinese National CollegeEntrance Examination (NCEE), an academic examination that held annually, taken by students in their final year of high school, and crucially determines students’ entrance into colleges and their future success. In this essay, I’m going to argue that the College Admission System in China which, based solely on the NCEE score, is neither reliable nor impartial; and I’m trying to provide some directions for a further solution or improvement on the current system.
NCEE has been recognized as an essential tool to assess students’ academic ability and to select candidates for college ntry ever since it was first introduced in 1945. Test takers are asked to take three mandatory subjects: Chinese, Mathematics and English, and choose from taking either three science subjects (Physics, Biology and Chemistry) or three humanities subjects (History, Politics and Geography). The test is administered uniformly within each provinces of China, and graded variously across the country.The college admission starts three weeks after the exam, based solely on the NCEE score. As a standardized exam to assess candidates’ ability to undertake college studies, what atters most is whether NCEE provide a reliable and comprehensive assessment of a student’s ability and potential? “I’m quite confident with the test today, and I believe it will be quite similar with the previous papers I did. There will be some changes, for sure; but the format itself will be the same.
This is how Li Siran, a 12-grade student in Beijing Huiwen High School, answered the CCTV News before taking the test (2008). What he referred to as “formats” are the multiple-choice questions and short essays. Much work has been done to demonstrate that such questions have nothing to do ith the ability to comprehend and reason; in contrast, they reward the ability to quickly and correctly answer superficial questions, which can be improved by doing previous practice and applying certain test taking strategies.It is obviously true that examination methods based on multiple-choice questions can’t measure the ability to think deeply or creatively, nor can they assess what people can do on real-world tasks (Fair Test, n. d. ). Thus, admitting students based on NCEE scores leaves a lot of abilities out of sight, such as creativity, critical thinking, responsibility, teamwork and eadership, which are equally important to one’s lifelong success.
Additionally, it is increasingly true that a test taker’s performance in NCEE has a strong connection with his familys income and his parents’ investment in his education.Students with more economic resources generally end up to be better prepared for NCEE. Based on Yangzi newspaper Oune 8, 2012), a senior student in Nanjing spends around 10,000 to 40,000 RMB during his final year, more than 50% of which will be spent on private averagely spend less than 100 RMB for preparation of NCEE (Yangguang Newspaper, June 1 1, 2012). A similar tendency is true in the United States, where recent surveys by the College Board show that “there is a very strong positive correlation between income and SAT scores” (Rampell, 2009).In addition to its economic bias, the college admission system is criticized for its ethnic concession and regional discrimination. The current policy allows students from Beijing or Shanghai to get into universities with scores significantly lower than those of their counterparts in other provinces. In the year of 2008, the college admission rates in Beijing and Shanghai are 0. 6% and 0.
67, significantly higher than that of Henan (0. 42%) and Shanxi (0. 41 %) (Ministry of education of China, 2008).Admission rates are likely to be higher in the most and least developed provinces, while lower in provinces with larger population and more candidates. More controversially, migrant children are not allowed to attend NCEE in where they lived and educated; they are forced to go back to home provinces where they were born and registered. This is Just the case for the 1 5-year-old girl in the beginning of the essay. Having to attend NCEE in her home province means a ignificantly lower admission rate, and an examination that is more difficult than what she learned.Education contributes to the social and economic equality by providing opportunities for all youth to acquire skills that would qualify them for well-paying Jobs (Clark, 2000); and this is what makes it important and urgent to improve the college admission system in China.
One of the most urgent needs is to allow the migrant children taking NCEE in where they were educated; while further improvements include to gradually reduce the gap of admission rates between rovinces, to provide more economic and education support for Junior students in rural schools, and to involve more factors in college admission.There is still a long way to go, for sure; but every steps forward can be a significant step in the Journey to social equality in China. Bibliography Amy, L. (November 30, 2012). Do migrant children deserve better access to education. South China Morning Post. Haibo, Z. (2009).
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