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Students repay test score 'loans' at a Nanjing school

By Guo Kai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-01-11 15:16

Students at a middle school in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, no longer have to be so scared of failing a single test after a new measure was adopted in November, which allows them to borrow some scores to pass a test.

Huang Kan, director of the international department of Nanjing No 1 Middle School, has called the new measure the "scores bank" where students can borrow some scores to pass a test and repay the scores back during a test later.

Huang told The Beijing News that she got the idea from real bank policies where banks lend loans to small businesses, allowing them to repay the money back later.

"In past tests, scores are everything, and students felt great pressure," Huang said. She has a deep understanding of the current test system due to her 36 years of teaching experience.

She said that tests should pay more attention to the evaluation of the learning process, and should not become a tool for teachers to create problems for students.

"(Students) might learn things well but might not do as well on a test. The current test system is unfair for such students," she said.

The "scores bank" is adopted at the international department, targeting students who have scores around the passing mark in tests of six subjects, including Chinese, physics, chemistry, biology, history and geography.

After negotiating with teachers, students can borrow scores to pass the test but must repay the scores for a certain test. When they do repay the scores, teachers will not record their failures.

Credit evaluation has been used to measure the repayment ability of student applicants to avoid the possibility of "bad loans." Teachers will not lend the scores after noting the students were unable to repay back for a previous test.

An applicant has to ask another student as a guarantor, and if the applicant fails to repay, teachers can deduct the scores from the guarantor's scores or from the applicant's. Such applicants would be put on a blacklist.

Students would be incapable of applying for the "scores bank" when they had records of violating disciplines, such as being late for class five times in a semester and escaping from cleaning work three times.

Huang said that 13 out of 49 students in the freshman year AP class have successfully applied for borrowing scores.

Gui Xingyao said that she failed a mid-semester physics test, getting only 53 points, and she successfully borrowed scores to meet 60 points, therefore, she had to get at least 67 points during the final physics test of the semester.

Some students have praised the "scores bank" for being better for their growth due to the fact they didn't get discouraged after a previous failure but could work harder to make up for it in the future.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, an education think tank, said that the new attempt will help break the old learning atmosphere of only paying attention to scores, but encouraging students to work harder.

But he also pointed out that the measure might weaken the seriousness of a single test, and students would have more inertia in the learning process and pin the hope on the next test.

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