Chinese know how to take a test

Thoughts on China’s high test scores

We’ve been told for quite some time now that the USA educational system is horrendous, and that quite frankly, we suck.  Meanwhile, other nations are steaming full speed ahead.   I’ve always wondered how a nation as big and diverse as the USA could be compared to a nation as homogenous as Korea, or Finland.   Nevermind their size.   Even China, which is 92% Han.

Now a true study has come out based on population(thank God) rather than statistical results.

All it means is if we score low on a test, it’s no big deal as the USA is so large, it still has enough high testing students to keep it’s place amongst the top rank of nations.    Thus the rankings of countries, regardless of size and ethnic diversity, is a joke, and not an apples to apples comparison.   (Would Finland or Korea, or little tiny Singapore still score so well if they had the same diversity as we do? Of course not!)

Further, international  test scores have now been broken down by class:

That is, nevermind our considerable poor, let’s simply separate the rich from the poor and compare them to those of other countries.   Here, the author brags a bit abt how our poor are “closing the gap”. Well….great.  what bothers me is that one reason some countries have such good scores is their inequality of income(Singapore, Finland) just isn’t that wide compared to ours.   It truly bothers me that this country has allowed itself to get into this position.  Another post, I’m afraid.

What caught my attention though is the discovery that  “ The US happens to have a very high fraction of low-social-class kids taking the PISA test”. 

If so, that greatly explains the overall disparity of the test results vis a vis other countries.   What is their  % of poor kids taking the test?  Still, one cannot compete as easily against a Korea or Finland, as their disparity of income is not as high as ours.

And now we come to China, which quite frankly, is blowing the doors off the test, and is heads and shoulders above everybody else.

I have a couple of comments to make about this.
First, of all, the unspoken assumption on these exams is that the smarter the kid, the higher the test score the brighter the future of the individual country. 

Not quite.

I’m rather amused at all the “aahhs’ and “ohs” being given about the results.
Why would anyone be surprised by the results when China specifically gave the exam to it’s best students, in it’s best schools, in it’s best prepared city?  That is, China manipulated the conditions of the exam to it’s own benefit for the purpose of prestige.  What a surprise!

China is a society made to take tests.  Ever wonder how a Chinese can score so incredulously  high on the English section of a college entrance exam,  without ever having been abroad, than go to graduate school and not be able to give a simple presentation?

Chinese culture, like that of Korea and Japan’s,  greatly emphasizes test taking, and the status of doing well on an exam.  

There’s a lot to be said about this.  A lot of it positive.  The kids often have 50 students to a class, no computers, no heating, and shall we say, very little “private time” with the teacher.   We as a nation are absolutely spoiled compared to kids in East Asia.   Their facilities and investment are greatly inferior to ours.  For example, Japanese kids quite often have to change from their school uniform into their gym clothes in the classroom, as they have no locker rooms.

It’s not the money you spend, but perhaps the culture of education that’s important here.  The test results show that very clearly.

Now, the above article states that “a cross section” of Chinese schools took the exam.   Ok, could I have a shot at this? 

Why don’t we give the exam to some of the high schools setup just for migrants?  Problem?

What’s this?  You see the meaning of a proper “cross section” is to do just that.   The good, the bad, and the ugly.   And I’m betting in China you ain’t  getting the latter two.   You see, I’m only wondering how China’s test scores would be if they, too, allowed their lower classes to take the exams.  You know, those poor kids who have to bring their own desks to school?   Those poor migrants who are living in a modern day segregationist society.   I’m only tongue in cheek half surprised we don’t see bathrooms marked “migrant only” in China. 

Now the test has been taken all across China, they say the scores will still be amazingly high.  Again, see above.   There’s no doubt that China’s high schools in every major city are top notch.  I’m just saying that due to China’s obsession with appearances that it’s unlikely that they would be willing to actually test their poorer high schools, or those that are simply of less quality.    I wouldn’t be surprised that even their best schools simply tell their worst students to stay home test day.

Again I harp on EQ.  Which China has a deficit of.  (you don’t believe me?  How many countries have schools  where  the roommates poison each other?) 

Why does China, fairly said, have so many brilliant kids, and they still need to send them overseas?  Because the society’s EQ is still too low to properly process and utilize it’s IQ.    So I dare say China’s biggest export is it’s people’s intellectual ability.   And that’s where the test fails.   The test will never be a predicator of a nations success, unless the students stay there. 

As long as China lacks the ability to properly groom all it’s talent, in house, other countries will simply welcome and groom this talent for it’s own benefit.   It’s a zero sum game.


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