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Part of test to be cut from gaokao

(Global Times)

10:35, September 21, 2011


The comprehensive portion of Shanghai's version of the National College Entrance Examination (gaokao) will be removed next year to reduce academic burdens on local high school students, the city's education authorities said on Tuesday.

The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission made the announcement on its official website, saying that the comprehensive section, which has included questions on six subjects for the past decade, will be omitted – leaving students to be tested in three core subjects – Chinese, English and mathematics – and one topic of their choice: politics, history, geography, physics, chemistry or life sciences.

The Global Times failed to reach the commission for further comment on Tuesday, but its statement said that while the comprehensive part of the exam would disappear, students will still be required to study the related subjects.

To achieve a perfect score on the new test, comprising four sections, students will have to score 600 points, compared to the previous 630 points, for which the comprehensive section was worth 30 points.

The shorter test will also reduce the exam period from two and a half days to two days, said the commission.

But education expert Xiong Bingqi , who has published several research papers on gaokao, said that the formatting change would, in reality, do little to improve upon the welfare of students.

"The comprehensive section was only worth less than five percent of the entire exam anyway," the deputy dean of 21st Century Education Research Institute, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "So, doing extremely well or poor on the section never made a big impact on a student's final score."

Still, some students said that they were looking forward to the thought of less studying.

"I'm relieved to hear that I won't have to worry about being tested on as many topics," a student, who asked to be identified by his surname, Gu, who will write the exam next year, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "And, I'll be happy to have more studying time for fewer subjects."

Zhu Jialei contributed to this story

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Arthur Borges at 2011-09-21115.57.238.*
A two-day test is unnecessarily long. Moreover, like in most other countries, it doesn"t test "wisdom", i.e. social and emotional IQ, which are key determinants of an individual"s ability to contribute to society in the long term.
  

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