Are we driving in reverse?
Since Confucian times, China has adhered to a series of examinations that determined social and career advancement. Today, just as their predecessors did a thousand years ago, Chinese students prepare their entire lives for a series of examinations called "gaokao" that will ultimately determine their future. However, China may be moving away from that age-old model.
According to Newsweek, Chinese leaders are responding by moving education policies increasingly to focus on developing creative thinkers.
As one report points out "in the American education system, reformers are pushing the country toward a more test score-based model, with scores dictating how funds are doled out, how teachers are evaluated and more. Reformers in Los Angeles, New York City and other American cities have pressed for the "valued-added" system, ranking teachers based on their students' achievements on tests.
Newsweek reports, "When faculty of a major Chinese university asked [Professor Jonathan] Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. "After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud," Plucker says. "They said, 'You're racing toward our old model. But we're racing toward your model, as fast as we can.'"
The Bottom Line
Well-intentioned policies sometimes have unintended consequences. Perhaps it is time that we move forward instead of reinventing the past?