China's college entry test an ordeal for many
Once every year, students who hope to attend college in China take the gao kao – the high test. This test is the sole determinant of whether or not a student will be admitted into college. About 3 out of 5 students generally achieve the necessary score. The pressure weighs on students and their families. Students spend up to 16 hours a day for three weeks without a break at boarding schools to prepare for the test. Parents aid their children in cheating using high-tech equipment. Lavish prizes are used as incentives for students to do well. When a student doesn’t do well enough on the test to gain entry to a top-tier school, his family doesn’t speak to him for a week. Critics assert that the test reflects flaws in the education system in China. Rather than educating students to be free thinking, creative and resourceful, students are pressured to memorize. Education is less about the quality than the quantity. It's difficult to determine which country does a great job educating their students. In my article "Is the United States preparing students for higher education and future jobs as world leaders?" (http://tinyurl.com/oso6vn), I make note of the differences in teaching methods between the United States and Asian countries (who seem to do a better job educating their students), but the pressure that students endure in those high academically achieving countries seems to outweigh the benefits of their education system.