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December 27, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Kids' tests get more scrutiny

A 10-year-old girl, He Yiyun, got up at 6am on Saturday - Christmas Eve - not for holiday events but to head for an English test.

She passed the Shanghai Children's Star English Exam thanks to a lot of very hard work. The third grader sacrificed all weekends this year to attend training courses for the exams. Many didn't do so well and cried as a result.

The pressure hurts He's parents but they insist on sending their daughter for extra training. Parents see the Star English Exam as a way to give their kids an advantage when they attend admissions interviews for key schools.

Some 100,000 students have taken the test in each of the last two years, amid stiff competition for places at top schools. Math tests and other tests for students also have become more popular in the city. During school vacations, many children attend extra classes to prepare for various tests to boost their resumes.

Amid growing complaints about the academic burden on students, the Shanghai Education Commission yesterday put a stop to the Star English Test and shut down the test organizer - the Shanghai General Foreign Language Level Testing Center.

In response, the test organizer announced it will change its name and continue to hold language tests. The center will no longer be affiliated with the government, and instead will link up with the Shanghai International Studies University and run as a social test institute.

Education authorities are powerless to do anything directly about this. So the Shanghai Education Commission tried to solve the problem by reducing the demand for extra-curriculum training and tests. It banned all schools from receiving student applicants' resumes and all kinds of certificates in admission. Schools in violation will see their admission quotas reduced by 30 percent.


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