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Nanjing Primary School Students Prefer Exams Under New Reforms

Primary schools in Nanjing have introduced reforms in their testing of students that are proving popular among both students and administrators. School principals say the exams offer a rewarding experience while students themselves are even raising hands to ask for more exams.

Students at the Chibi Street Primary School in Nanjing under educational reforms now can choose among several novel ways to display what they have learned in their English language classes: They can sing an English song, get a team together with other classmates to perform a conversation or introduce something about themselves in English.

During each student performance, other students sit around to serve as audiences. Students like to get assigned to take the exam early because they find it interesting and also if for some reason they are dissatisfied with their performance, they can ask to take a second exam.

In Langya Street Primary School, approaches in exams vary according to their subjects and level of learning: The math examination for first-grade students is “arranging sticks.” All students receive 10 sticks each to illustrate a math problem. For instance, a student can divide the sticks into two groups of seven and three sticks to explain the operation of “7+3=10” to the other students. Meanwhile, the math test for the fifth-grade students requires them to measure the length of a hallway in school and the area of the schoolyard by pacing and eyeballing.

As for the Chinese language examination, even more choices are possible including editing a Chinese paper or creating a cartoon from the making up stories to the drawing of pictures. Students even can design their own examination paper, selecting questions and finding out the answers all by themselves.

According to the principal of the Langya Street Primary School, traditional examinations pay more attention to reading than to abilities. With the reform of the curriculum, schools should make examinations rich and colorful to help students enjoy useful knowledge.

(Chu Zhou for 扬子晚报 [www.jschina.com.cn] January 25, 2002 translated by Feng Yikun for china.org.cn )

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