Recently, the Ministry of Education released its Compulsory Education School Management Standards, which included a notification that compulsory education schools can no longer release student rankings reports following an examination.
According to the Standards, the new regulation has been included in an attempt to eliminate the old notion that an examination result is the only criteria in judging students’ performance at school.
Without doubt, the new regulation has been welcomed by the student body. “The teacher now only notifies my parents the marks of the exams, without the rankings,” says Zhang, a Year 4 student in Beijing. “I feel more optimistic and confident about the study in the future.”
Parents are also pleased to see this change in the compulsory education system. “My boy feels relieved,” says Yang Yan, whose child is now in the last year of the primary school. “Me too. Overstating the significance of the rankings could bring nothing but burdens.”
Nevertheless, not all parents think that way. Li Minglan, for one, states that rankings can help parents learn more about their child’s level of study. Li’s son will face the high school entrance examination this year. “The difficulty of the exams varies every time. Therefore, merely knowing marks means nothing unless the child gets full marks, which is not so common for my child.”
Other parents are also concerned, however for different reasons. “No released ranking means no transparent information,” worries Yang Lixin, another parent. “What if there is something going on under the table? After all, the results of the exams are directly linked to scholarships.”
It seems however, that some parents may still be receiving this information anyway. Following a survey conducted this week, it was reported that 74.4 percent of respondents confirmed the ranking system is still being practiced in their schools.
“It is partly due to the fact that marks still matter the most in college entrance examinations,” points out Chu Zhaohui, a researcher from the National Institute of Education Sciences. “Both parents and schools should put emphasis on children’s long-term development, rather than the results of the exams at hand. Being a better man is way more important than going to a better university.”
Although it’s still unclear whether the system of releasing student ranking results will be dropped completely, Chu’s words do shed some light on the issue. At the end of the day, we want our children to grow into the best versions of themselves, and sometimes putting too much pressure on their study can result in the development of a school phobia and subsequently achieve an opposing result.