News Summary

Post-Gaokao News Roundup

by elbbj on June 16, 2013

During the test: The humorous and the tragic

Events that occurred during the test continue to trickle into the news during the relative calm of the test grading period. Some are endearing, such as the NetEase report of the “awesomest” mom in Changsha, who drove an RV to the test site so that she could cook for her daughter during the test. Others are terrifying, like the situation reported by the Beijing News in the Hubei city of Zhongxiang, where teachers monitoring the test were beaten by family members after rejecting bribes for answers to test questions. There are certain to be many more stories of triumph and tragedy among this year’s gaokao takers, just as there are for the test every year.

 

Questions over test contents: Thomas Edison’s cell phone & Pearl Harbor

Anxiety over test contents are being relieved through the news as well. The Beijing Daily reports that answers to the essay question asking students to imagine Thomas Edison in the  21st century will not be considered off topic if they do not mention Edison himself. Many test takers were unsure of how to approach this question, wondering if discussing Edison, scientists, writers, or their own experiences with cell phones would best count as “sticking closely to the theme” (one of the major criteria for grading). The group responsible for grading essays has explained that any of these approaches may be considered “on topic”.

Contents from the Shaanxi test were in the news for a factual error. Huashangwang Xi’an reports that one passage in the reading section entitled Flying Tigers Commander Chennault mistakenly quoted the date of attack on Pearl Harbor as December 7th, 1942. The actual date of the attack was December 7th, 1941, one year earlier than stated.

 

Gaokao-related statistics: How much are families spending to prepare? How successful are those who get top scores?

With statistics coming out about this year’s and previous year’s gaokaos, a number of stories on testing trends have popped up as well. The Beijing Evening News reports that gaokao-related expenses have increased 80,000x in the past 30 years. According to the article, preparation has gone from “drinking a bowl sweet bean soup and grabbing a couple of eggs before going to the test” in the 70s to “one on one classes, special nutrition meals, and renting ‘school district houses’.” One family quoted in the article spent nearly 100,000 RMB to help prepare their child for the test.

Parents who suspect their children have not done as well as hoped on the test might be able to console themselves with a report from the China Alumni Network entitled Gaokao Top Score Achiever SurveyAccording to a summary of the report, the career trajectories of top scorers on the gaokao are not as amazing as one might expect. Among 1,100 top scorers from the past 30 years,  the article mentions only a few notable achievers, including a fellow of the Chinese Academic of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, as well as a Cheung Kong Scholar. Those ranking between #10 and #30 on the test were most likely to be highly successful in their careers, though this range usually includes between 50 and 60 test takers, making the probability of finding a highly successful individual more likely.

 

Post-gaokao economic boom

Of course, not everyone wants to spend their time thinking about test results and their implications for the future, especially students. Their need for distraction results in a yearly “post-test economic boom“. One Hangzhou newspaper reports that karaoke venues around the city are booked solid until late in the evening by large groups of classmates going out to sing. The end of this year’s gaokao coincides with the Dragon Boat Festival, compounding the size of entertainment seekers around China. Sales of electronics products are seeing a significant boost as well, with many parents rewarding their children with new cell phones, digital cameras, tablets, computers, and so forth.

 

A glimmer of hope for gaokao reform: Multiple English subject tests in Jiangsu

Students celebrating the end of the test in Jiangsu province will be  flustered to hear that the test will be getting a bit easier for students just one year below them. The Jiangsu provincial Department of Education has announced that the English Language section of the gaokao will be offered on two dates next year in order to relieve pressure on test takers. One of the dates has been set on June 8th, during the regular gaokao period. The second date, while not yet fixed, will likely fall during March. Although it is a small step, one province offering multiple testing dates for any portion of the gaokao may lead to the rapid adoption of such measures in numerous subject areas and in different provinces, as occurred with hukou-related testing policies in 2012 and 2013.

 

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Epic vandalism: Nanjing middle school student carves name on fresco in 3000 year old Egyptian temple. And there I was thinking it was just a sign that the Chinese helped build parts of ancient Egypt.

Eight national-level universities in Australia will begin accepting gaokao scores this year. These scores will allow students to test out of certain pre-requisite courses. Students will still need to get IELTS scores of between 6 and 6.5.

A 56 year old teacher in Henan has been arrested for sexually assaulting more than ten female elementary school students over the course of many years.

A school bus carrying 21 elementary school students in Foshan, Guangdong crashed into a parked tractor, injuring nine of the children and killing one.

Zhejiang University gains the dubious distinction of student body making the most online purchases with Taobao/Alipay. Among others on the list are Sichuan University, Tongji University, and Zhengzhou University.

Another physical education-related death in a Chinese school. A 15 year old middle school student in  Dongguan, Guangzhou collapsed and died after a 400-meter “endurance run”.

 

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Ed News Digest: GWU a “playground for fuerdai”, 548 Qinghai children ill with food poisoning, sex ed in Ningbo gets parents mad

May 25, 2013

A female student at a university in Anhui has a one-night stand, gets pregnant, and marries during as a sophomore, gives birth to a child as a junior, and gets divorced as a senior. 548 school children in Qinghai province fall ill with symptoms including vomiting, dizziness, and headaches after eating school breakfast. Mass food poising […]

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Ed News Digest: Golf study abroad scam, English holding back flight attendants, and Beijing hukou preventing true love

May 12, 2013

China Southern Airlines drops English language requirement, flight attendant applications increase tenfold. Parents from China and golf instructors in the US swindled by golf teacher who promised to get students from China into top US schools through “Golf study abroad”. Chinese student in England gambles away RMB 650,000 of parent’s money in online casinos, told them […]

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Ed News Digest: Kindergarten interview prep class, mouse head rice, and the nicknames you get when you sunbathe naked in your dorm

May 8, 2013

Suggestion that China adopt the “American Gaokao” model of allowing students multiple opportunities per year to take the college entrance exam.   A Student at Nanchang Academy of Science and Technology attracts attention after using the ledge of his dormitory window to sunbathe naked, gets nicked named “Ecstasy Boy” by uncreative internet users.   A […]

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Ed News Digest: Middle school dropouts, hair loss, and roommate relations

May 5, 2013

Schools have gone on higher alert over roommate relations due to the recent poisoning of a student by his roommate at Fudan medical school as well as the resurgence of interest on Weibo regarding the infamous Zhu Ling roommate poisoning case from the early 90s. Yangzhou University has responded by creating an “anonymous complaint” wall, […]

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Ed News Digest: Card Games & Jokes Get You Into China’s Top Schools

March 19, 2013

Increasingly, universities in China are finding students with outstanding talents and abilities in different fields and offering them admission under special conditions. This year, Peking University will find five students with talent in card and chess games to recruit. Somehow, this doesn’t include mahjong! 北大拟招5名棋牌特长生 候选人在13年高考录取 The massively popular costume drama Legend of Zhen Huan is slated to […]

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Ed News Digest: Wife Afraid of Husband’s Govt Job Offer, Kid Beat Because of Holiday Gift Money

March 18, 2013

Today we’re beginning a new feature, a digest of education-related news. Although we won’t be translating these stories in their entirety, we hope this helps provide our readers with perspective into even more China education news!   A man in Sichuan passed the Civil Service Exam and only had to take a physical exam before […]

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