Tag Archives: college admissions


The Education System That Pulled China Up May Now Be Holding It Back
Gao, H.  The Atlantic (25 June 2012)

Although gaokao, the annual nationwide college entrance exam in China that seated 9.33 million students in early June, “has been great at imparting math and engineering, as well as the rigorous work ethic that has been so integral to China’s rise so far…state economists know they need to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity, neither of which is tested for on this life-determining exam.”  Students have mixed feelings about the test, although many seem acclimated to the concreteness that a test result provides.  A problem arises, though, with extracurricular activities as well as fostering innovative thinking.  Instead of being seen as intangibles that help students with college acceptances, as in the U.S., many Chinese students see extracurricular activities, which have little-to-no value for the Chinese college admissions process, as “distractions.”  As for innovation and creativity: “Whatever your formula for innovation — diversity of thought, collaboration, risk-taking — you’re not likely to find it in abundance in Chinese schools, where high-stake tests pit students against one [another] in a zero-sum competition that can feel a little more Hunger Games than think tank.”

The following video highlights the stress involved in taking the high-stakes examination: