Does a Test-Driven Education System Fulfill General Education Expectations? A Study on the National College Entrance Exam in China
Since 1977, the National College Entrance Exam (NCEE) has dominated China’s educational system and has turned the purpose of education to test preparation. The system overshadows every household. In theory, the existing literature suggests that increases in public education investment helps economic development and social stability. I intend to examine, after several decades, whether China’s test-driven educational system brings the suggesting educational returns to society. I use criminal cases and traffic incidents as my proxy for social stability, and consumption level as my proxy for economic wellbeing. The NCEE enrollment rate is the independent variable of interest in my models. The results support that a higher NCEE enrollment rate has a positive effect on crime reduction and consumption level. Therefore, the test-driven system still serves the general purpose of education. However, given several violent cases reflecting the tension between students and teachers, there are problems under the system that quantitative models cannot fully capture. I suggest reforming the NCEE by adding additional virtue modules in the exam and involving higher education institutions in the design process.
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