Schools to Replace Paper Tests with Games for Exams in SE China
The Chinese New Year is just around the corner and, before enjoying the winter holidays, students in China have to pass exams at school as usual.
But this year, students from grade one to grade three in Changshouqiao primary school of Hangzhou, capital of China's coastal Zhejiang province,took their final exams in the form of a theme party. They had to pass several checkpoints to earn cards which would eventually be handed in to their teachers.
At the checkpoints, there were games or tests related to reading, calligraphy, recitation of Chinese ancient poetry, calculation and practical skills for daily life.
The teachers gave each student a final score according to the number of cards collected and their daily performances throughout the semester.
Over 10 primary schools followed similar practices and carried out final exams in the form of games instead of paper tests among lower grade students.
"I like this kind of final exam and it is so cool! I learned a lot and had much fun," said Zhou Sijie, a grade-one student from Shidai primary school of Hangzhou.
"For students in lower grades, cultivating their interest in study is much more important than just scores," said Fang Liming, a teacher from the Changshouqiao primary school. "It is unnecessary to emphasize too much on scores at the expense of their confidence."
A survey conducted by the Wensan Education Group of Hangzhou, which has had the system of formal exam exemption in place for six years, shows that 80 percent of parents are in favor of the practice and 64 percent believe "their children have more opportunities to express themselves and become more confident."
However, some parents are skeptical about the new method because the current education system in China is still exam-oriented.
The school and teachers care more about the students' personalities, psychological conditions and mood, rather than the scores, said Fu Ying, vice president of the Wensan Education Group.
"To foster emotional quotient is more important than simply teaching knowledge and, in our education, we are not doing well in that aspect," said Fu.
"The schools in Hangzhou have made good efforts in education reforms since scores are not that important for lower-grade students. But now, in China, we have to admit that it is still students with higher scores who have more chance of being enrolled by top universities," said Yang Jianhua, a scholar in sociology at the Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences.