Main China (4 April 2012)
The “one shot, one kill” kind of college entrance exam–known as the “gaokao”–is at the center of the exam-oriented Chinese education system. Education in China teaches to tests and yearns for higher scores, with some labelling these examinations an “obsession” and others pointing to the stress that such high-stakes testing has imposed on students. Besides the very strict once-a-year schedule of the exam, there are also other policy aspects, such as suggesting that students should return to their household-registration city to take the exam, even if they have migrated to and attended school in another city for many years. Universities treat students with the same scores from different regions differently so the “hometown exam-taking” requirement has been causing a tremendous amount of inequality. Educators and policy makers continued the dialogue on the reform of college entrance exams at Boao Forum, one of China’s leading policy forums. Some individuals have proposed less stringent guidelines, even favoring more elective options for students.