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Should English test be scrapped from China’s college exam? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-12-9 15:10:32 |Display all floors
The English test will be removed from China’s college entrance exam by 2020, according to details of exam and admission reform revealed by the Ministry of Education.

Instead, tests will be held several times a year to allow students to choose when and how often they sit the exam so as to alleviate study pressure and change China’s once-in-a-lifetime exam system.

The plan and suggestions for its implementation will be announced in the first half of next year. It will be piloted in selected provinces and cities and promoted nationwide from 2017. A new exam and admission system will be established by 2020, according to the eduction ministry.

The decision has aroused a heated discussion among Shanghai educators and parents who doubted the reform would reduce the burden of learning English or if the substitute test could reflect a student’s English skills and help students learn English better.

“The reform shows China is learning from the West to give students more test-taking chances. But more chances might become more of a burden since Chinese students are likely to repeat the test until they get the highest score,” said Cai Jigang, a professor at Fudan University’s College of Foreign Languages and Literature and chairman of the Shanghai Advisory Committee for College English Teaching at Tertiary Level.

Cai said he was against any plan to reduce the status of English in the college entrance exam because it failed to take into account the nation’s demand for foreign language ability, the demand to accept the challenge of globalization and the internationalization of higher education.

Yu Lizhong, chancellor of New York University Shanghai, where classes are in English and students are required to have a high standard of English, said the most important aspect of the reform lay in what to test and how to test.

“As far as I see, the reform doesn’t mean English is no longer important for Chinese students after it will be excluded from the unified college entrance exam,” Yu said. “In a way, English is even more important than before since the test would only serve as reference, while every college and university, even every major, can have different requirements of a student’s English skills under a diverse evaluation system.”

Yu said some students will have their study pressure reduced if the major they choose doesn’t need excellent English while others still need to study hard if they want to be among the best students.

Yu said he was looking forward to hearing details of the new English test to see how it might alter current English teaching in China from test-oriented to ability-oriented.

Mei Deming, dean of Shanghai International Studies University’s College of International Programs, said there was a trend to weaken the status of tests in selecting the right talent for colleges and universities.

Mei said the English test should have a period of validity like the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the IELS (International English Language Testing System) to avoid students stopping learning English after scoring high marks.

Educators also said colleges and universities would not lower English thresholds in some majors since the internationalization of China’s higher education was imperative. The role of English as an important tool couldn’t be overlooked in many other industries in a world environment.

The eduction ministry said the reform would not affect students attending the college entrance exam over the next three years.
But parents with younger children are concerned.

Zhang Hui, the mother of a fourth-grade girl at Pudong Zhuyuan Primary School, said English was her daughter’s strength, so canceling the English test would not favor her child.

“I know I say this quite selfishly, but my daughter’s strength will no longer be a distinguished advantage if students can take the test for many times and get equally good scores,” Zhang said.

Even so, Zhang said she would continue to let her daughter study English in and out of class because her daughter likes English and she might study overseas in the future.

“How can a child survive without good English in Shanghai where there are so many foreign-invested companies and the city is getting more internationalized?”

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Post time 2013-12-10 07:05:19 |Display all floors
Languages are all about communications, I am in agreement of scrapping these score intensive approach, it won't matter how high your test score is or how good your grammar is if you can't use the language to communicate properly, it's all wasted effort. If that is the case just being able to read, write and understand basic English is enough.

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Post time 2013-12-10 11:52:09 |Display all floors
Definitely. Having English in the Gao Kao means every Chinese student wastes thousands of hours over 8-10 years studying a language only 10% of them can use well or will ever use. English courses should be optional and focus on communication skills that can be used rather than just on passing a test. There are also thousands of private language skills that proudly say they will help children pass an exam, not to use English with a foreigner, and parents waste money on those schools for a skill that is never used again. It's ludicrous.

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Post time 2013-12-10 18:10:13 |Display all floors
Decentralised English Examination

I agree with you that the Beijing government is not ignoring the importance of English by removing it from Gaokao. It is merely making it easier for people to take the test multiple times instead of putting the pressure on one single exam.

That shows the Beijing government is starting to show some innovation in its approach to learning. So people should not see it simply as a demotion of English from Gaokao.

If the Chinese in China only wants to live, work and do business only in China, then the only language they need is Chinese.

However we are now living in an interconnected world - connected by transport, internet and ideas. The only way to catch up with the rest of the world is to learn the language most people are currently using.

The English language is not simply a language for speaking to your English speaking employer or business partner. There is two very important reason why you learn the language.

Many of the latest research are written in English. If you cannot read the research the first time it is published, you will always be one step behind. Knowing the language, understanding the concept presented by the research paper and discussing it with researchers around the world is the way to stay ahead in innovation. It is time to move from being a factory to the world to a research capital of the world.

Business and Culture
Language is the key to understanding someone else culture, to get to know another person better, to build a stronger 关系 connection. Developing business around the world requires business relationship to be build and the most common language to reach out to other nationalities is English. Having a common language brings two people closer together which an interpreter can never achieve.

There are many ways to collaborate with other countries in developing new products or building an international business with a strong foundation but the easier path for development and control is through the English language.

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Post time 2013-12-10 19:40:37 |Display all floors
Although the English test will be removed after several years,we must learn it well if you want to go to research something and meet lastest news on what you want to know.In the long term,it is necessary for us if we eager to have a stable development.

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Post time 2013-12-10 21:48:42 |Display all floors
Yes, at least it should not account for such a big proportion.
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Post time 2013-12-10 21:51:25 |Display all floors
My words don't count, but I still hold the opinion that English learning should be enhanced instead of ignored.

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