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Extra points for gaokao are reduced

By Zou Shuo | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-22 08:57
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China to eliminate five categories that gave certain students a boost

China will eliminate five preferential items from its education policy that adds bonus points to a student's national college entrance exam, or gaokao, as part of an effort to have a more fair and scientific selection process, the Ministry of Education said on Wednesday.

The ministry will stop giving bonus points to students who have exceptional sports ability, who have won academic Olympiads or science and technology competitions, who are named "provincial-level excellent students" or those who have performed "righteous and courageous deeds", according to a statement posted on its website.

The statement does not mention ethnic groups, the children of national martyrs or returned overseas Chinese, meaning they may still be eligible for bonus points on the gaokao.

Currently, students with top performance in athletics or science can be awarded up to 20 points on the gaokao, although some provinces have already canceled such items under a notice issued by the ministry four years ago.

In 2014, the ministry released a joint notice with several other ministries requiring all provinces and regions to review and reduce the number of items used to provide extra points to students with science or sports talents.

Speaking of the latest directive, Xiong Bingqi, vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said: "The statement is meant to ensure the equity of college admissions by reducing the possibility of fraud and abuse. It can reduce corruption related to the preferential policy and reverse the trend of more Chinese students studying for Olympiads from an early age just to get the extra points."

However, it does not mean children with special talents will be undervalued. They can still choose the independent college admission route, which is provided by some universities, he added.

Currently, 90 universities have allocated 5 percent of their enrollment slots to independent admissions designed for students with special talents. They admit more than 20,000 students every year.

Top institutions like Peking University and Tsinghua University offer students with special talents up to 60 bonus points through the independent enrollment approach.

Chu Zhaohui, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Education, said universities should explore different aspects of exams, conduct comprehensive evaluations and use multiple admission criteria to ensure that students are enrolled based on a variety of criteria, not solely on test results.

Therefore, the key to promoting gaokao reform is to offer universities more autonomy in talent selection, Chu said.

The bonus point preference policy was launched in 2000 to encourage students to develop their talents in both mind and body.


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