Some Western universities see merit in China’s flawed exam

Waiting for the hell to end

“DRAWING on your political knowledge, explain why the Communist Party should exercise leadership over the country’s economy, armed forces, schools and all aspects of society.” So read an essay question in this year’s gaokao, China’s university-entrance exam which was held in early June (anxious parents are pictured outside a test centre in the city of Shenyang; results have been announced in the past few days). The test is notoriously tough, but political flattery can help. Examinees in Beijing were asked to discuss an environmental slogan used by President Xi Jinping. The paper noted that more marks would be given for being “positive”.

Despite the Chinese political flavour of some of the questions, growing numbers of Western universities are using gaokao results to select students from China instead of requiring them to sit internationally recognised exams such as the Scholastic…Continue reading


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