Improving Higher Ed

Write a blog post about one thing you believe should change in higher education.

I think China should change the format of college entrance exam.

On June 5th, 6th, and 7th every year, these are the most important dates in Chinese families, even compared to the Chinese New Year festival, because of the national wide College Entrance Exam. More police will be on the street to clear the traffic around the schools where student will take the exam, and if one car with student going to take the exam gets into the traffic jam, the car will appear like a emergency ambulance, and all the cars will give their way out to this car. All the ongoing constructions with noises will be forced to stop both day and night. Real ambulances will be waiting out side the exam rooms, incase any health issues with students or their parents. The real time news about the exam will occupy all the headlines of newspapers and webpages. The composition topic in Chinese will become the hottest topic across China once it has been released. All of these crazy things definitely happen each year on these 3 special days, as the College Entrance Exam is considered as the most important exam in every Chinese’s life.

Nowadays, some provinces can make their own exams, but in general, students will take Chinese (150 points, 2 and a half hours ), English (150 points,2 and a half hours), English (150 points, 2 and a half hours), and either General Science (300 points, 3 hours, including Chemistry, Physics, and Biology) or General Liberal Art (150 points, 3 hours, including Political Sciences, History, Geography). Within one month, every province will select the teachers from high school and take them to a isolated and secret place, and the selected teachers will grade all the exams in that province. One month later, the grades release. That is the most intense moment to every candidate and their family. Depending on the scores and rankings, the students will apply to an appropriate university. All the highest scores, lowest scores, average scores, numbers of admitted students and other admission statistics of the past a few years are published in a manual for the students as reference. The admission plan of each majors in every university are also open to public. The real application is only the total score of the College Entrance Exam. The university will rank all the scores from all applicants and selects the students with highest scores to meet their new student schedule. One exam will determine whether student get the ticket to get in their dream university or not. If failed, the students need to wait a whole year and take the exam again.

The system needs to be changed. Many aspects, not only the scores, should be evaluated on the potential talent of students. The transcript from high school, reference letters, and personal statement on why you choose the university and major and the plan after graduation should all be took into account. They are difficult to operate in China, since the population of exam takers is huge. But we need to think about it and gradually change it, to give more chance for the student to get better high education, to relieve the pressure from the College Entrance Exam on both student and their family, and to select the best students to receive the higher education.

2 thoughts on “Improving Higher Ed”

  1. This is a very interesting post – I knew that the exam was important but I didn’t realize how big of an event it is. I agree with you that this exam may not be the best approach. When I was graduating from high school, I was a completely different person that I was just a few years later. I was not a serious student until my sophomore year when I found what I wanted to study. I think that this type of system forces students to make life changing decisions too early and it may stop a truly talented person from ever finding their calling. It seems to me that the exam is purely for the convenience of the education system to make the decision of who to admit as simple as possible.

  2. Thank you Heather! I agree with you that the exam system is the easiest way for the system to evaluate the students. I wish more fair and motivated approach can be conducted to select and evaluate students.

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