Social Equity in a Time of Change
Edited By Richard Greggory Johnson III
Chapter Nine: Climbing a Slippery Social Ladder: Prevailing Perspectives of Chinese Students About Gaokao
c h a p t e r n i n e Climbing a Slippery Social Ladder: Prevailing Perspectives of Chinese Students About Gaokao efleda tolentino & zhenting wu i n t r o d u c t i o n Education is the foundation of a nation, especially in a developing country such as China. We have free compulsory education for 9 years followed by 3 years of high school. After 12 years of school, students take Gaokao, a national college entrance examination that is held once a year in June. One reason why Gaokao is considered the most important part of the educational process is because the score that is earned becomes the sole standard for students’ admission into the university. Stu- dents can retake the Gaokao to improve their score but they would have to wait a whole year. One year means a lot for a student who is just 18 years old. Every family member hopes their child gets a high score in the college entry test. A good score means a good future (Zhenting Wu). This year, more than 9 million graduating high school students took the Gaokao, China’s national college entrance examination. Among the 9 million aspirants, only 7 million will earn a place in universities and colleges. Two million, however, will not have the opportunity to enroll in a university (Speakman, 2014). Within the context of education, Gaokao is considered a testing tool that will determine one’s eligibility for college. It is also considered a...
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