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February 14, 2014

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Education body says local report on entrance exam reforms inaccurate

The Shanghai Education Commission said yesterday that a local newspaper report on reforms of college entrance exams was “incomplete and inaccurate” and a final decision on the reforms is yet to be taken.

The report was published on the official WeChat and Weibo account of the Oriental Morning Post on  Wednesday, which soon had the online buzzing.

The report claimed Shanghai would do away with the English test for the college entrance exam in 2017.

Instead, the English test will be held separately and students can attend the test twice, it reported.

The report also said students will need to take only two tests — Chinese and mathematics — at the college entrance exam which will last for only one day.

“The report is incomplete and inaccurate,” said the education commission in a statement released yesterday.

It said the city is still working on the reform plan for the  college entrance exam and college admission according to the requirements set by the central government and the Ministry of Education.

The commission said the reform plan is still being discussed internally. The city government will solicit public opinions before approving the plan later.

The Oriental Morning Post apologized yesterday for the report, saying that the reporter did not attend the internal meeting and got the information from a third-party source.

Shanghai hasn’t openly discussed its plans after the Ministry of Education announced last December that English test will be removed from the national college entrance exam by 2020.

To reduce the burden on Chinese students, the Ministry of Education said the English tests will be held several times in a year and students can choose when and how often they want to sit in the exam.

Some cities have already announced their reform plans for the next few years.

Beijing decided to give less weight to the English test in the college entrance exam.

Starting in 2016, it will account for 100 points — and not 150 in the overall score.

Shandong Province lowered the total score of English test in the college entrance exam from 150 to 120 and canceled the listening comprehension section.

However, many colleges still require English to a certain  extent.

Local educators have been debating heatedly over the reforms of the college entrance exam and especially about the role of English test.

Lu Jianfei, president of Shanghai Normal University, said English is important for a metropolis like Shanghai.

He said even if English is removed from the college entrance exam, policy-makers will have to make more efforts to design a test that can evaluate a student’s English proficiency.



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