ERIC Number: EJ937268
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: N/A
A Crack in the Sorting Machine: What We Should Not Learn from China
Hammond, Bruce G.
Independent School, v69 n3 Spr 2010
Most nations now administer standardized tests--for adult job seekers and young students alike--but the Chinese remain the world's preeminent practitioners. The nation's national college entrance exam, known as the "Gaokao", lasts for nine hours across two days. The author has seen the intensity of China's work ethic firsthand as part-time director of college counseling for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at High School Affiliated to Nanjing Normal University. (The school's name in Chinese Pinyin is "Nan Shi Fu Zhong," abbreviated NSFZ.) It is the first in the nation created after China's education ministry approved IB for its citizens in 2006. In this article, the author talks about China's experience which illustrates the perils of singleminded focus on standardized tests. As the global village gets smaller, the pressure on schools to act as sorters of students can only increase. Schools cannot ignore the desire of governments for accountability, or the need of students for markers of distinction as they graduate. But when students, parents, policy makers, and pundits are inclined to make education an appendage of test prep, the author urges educators to lead their communities toward a fuller understanding of how the mind works, and what it means to be prepared for life. If independent schools do not lean against school-as-test-prep, the future of their learning communities will be greatly diminished.
Descriptors: Standardized Tests, Foreign Countries, Educational Administration, Educational Assessment, Educational Development, Educational Objectives, Educational Philosophy, Educational Planning, Educational Policy, Educational Practices, Politics of Education, Advanced Placement Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China