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ERIC Number: EJ701445
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Feb-1
Pages: 48
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0010-4086
Leveling the Little Pagoda: The Impact of College Examinations, and Their Elimination, on Rural Education in China
Andreas, Joel
Comparative Education Review, v48 n1 p1 Feb 2004
Many have argued that, despite the meritocratic ideals of equal access and social mobility that underpin examination-governed education hierarchies, the rural majority are typically excluded or eliminated in the early stages of the competition. The scholastic nature of the uniform curricula, much of which has little relevance to rural life, compounds disadvantages faced by children from poorly educated rural families. Moreover, social pressures generated by examination competition aggravate tendencies to neglect basic education in favor of elite education. In this article, the author evaluates the impact of education reforms undertaken in China as part of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, particularly the elimination of college entrance exams. The examination system was eliminated, in part, because Chinese leaders had concluded that it presented an obstacle to expanding rural education and developing rural-oriented curricula. This paper evaluates the impact of eliminating college entrance examinations in terms of goals set by those who initiated the experiment: expanding rural education and developing rural-oriented curricula. While this is an appropriate way to analyze the results of an experiment, it does not directly address the main argument raised by Chinese education authorities: that elimination of entrance examinations led to a disastrous decline in education quality. In the final paragraphs of this article, the author sorts out and comments on some of the issues involved in the discussion of quality. (Contains an Appendix (Glossary of Chinese Terms), 2 Figures and 6 Tables.)
University of Chicago Press, Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-753-3347; Web site:; e-mail:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China