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Gao Kao should be replaced by SAT- or ACT-like test—TIME FOR CHANGE!

已有 4503 次阅读 2010-12-13 04:57 |个人分类:Education|系统分类:海外观察| ACT, SAT, Gao, Kao

If you are a parent with a child still in middle school (not high school), you should join the revolution to replace Gao Kao (Chinese National Higher Education_Entrance Examination) with a test that is much shorter and can be taken more than once during a year.
This is a voice from the heart of a high school senior who just took the ACT yesterday. My son took SAT twice, and ACT just once (because it is required by a private college in Japan that he is going to apply). I sent him to an SAT Prep class last summer, before his junior year, and he took his first SAT in December 2009. My son didn’t like it, because it was stressful and it was too long (about 3-4 hrs with 10-min break in between.) I was not too involved, because he didn’t want to study for it. Above all, I thought that he could take it again if he did poorly. Not a big deal. In contrast, I was nervous for his ACT. I wondered why, and realized there were three reasons. First, my son never took a prep class for ACT. Second, the test site was new to me. (So, what if I got lost? I finally drove by the test site two days earlier.) Third, and the most critical reason, is that my son had only ONE CHANCE this time, because there is no time to take it again. (So, parents whose child wants to take ACT should do so earlier, leaving time to take the test again if needed.)
My suffering before my son’s ACT made me think back, and forth, about Gao Kao in China. I feel it is time for a revolution.
Here are my background and motivation for writing this Blog.
I was an insider, being one of those participated in Gao Kao in 1977 and becoming Class 1977 (the class actually started in winter of early 1978). It was stressful, but I walked to the test site all by myself. I don’t recall any parents accompanying any test takers those days!
Time went by quickly, and it was June 2008. Some of my close friends and relatives were in hell, literally. In one case, the parents hired a driver (not trusting a taxi) and escorted the child to Gao Kao every day. They even booked a hotel room for the child to eat lunch and have a rest (not to stay overnight). I watched nervously from afar, and wondered why on Earth parents and children deserve such ordeal!
Things in China got worse since then, or some parents became smarter. Here are some of the ways they fought back.
1) Sending their child to a boarding school abroad. One of my relatives is paying $45k/year, so that this child does not have to suffer the high school system in China, among other concerns.
2) Sending their child to a college abroad without participating in Gao Kao at all, because the child may have a breakdown during Gao Kao.
What about the majority Chinese who cannot afford to send their child abroad?
I know there are lots of problems in Chinese universities (or everywhere else), but high school students are teenagers, who need loving and caring more than young adults. They are the FUTURE of China! With the computerized system in China, isn’t it high time to return high school to education from the current test prep/drill school?
Wonder what the difference is between ACT and SAT? Read
“The great test takers are great test takers, no matter what instrument they’re playing.”
From Wikipedia:
Psychological pressure (of Kao Gao)

Further and more deep stemming criticisms have been leveled that the testing system is the "most pressure packed examination in the world."[4] Behaviors surrounding the testing period have been extreme under some reports, with doctors in Tianjin purportedly prescribing birth control pills to female students whose parents wanted to ensure the girls were not menstruating at the time of examination.[4] Testing pressure, for some critics, has been linked to faintings, increased drop out rates, and even increasing rates of teenage clinical depression and suicide.

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