All provincial-level regions should aim to adopt unified tests for the high school entrance exam this year as the test papers used by some localities are either too difficult or too easy, or they focus too much on rote memory, the Ministry of Education said on Wednesday.
For regions that will have difficulty implementing unified test papers this year, they should make specific plans so they will be able to do so by 2024, the ministry said in a notice. Currently, each city offers the same tests for the high school entrance exam, which usually takes place in June or July, but that unification only exists in a particular city, not throughout the provincial region.
The tests should strictly follow the national curriculum for primary and middle schools, and they should not add or delete any knowledge from the curriculum, the ministry said.
They should also not contain any knowledge learned from high school, academic competitions or extracurricular tutoring, it said in the notice.
Local authorities should make specific requirements on the length, difficulty and content of test papers for each subject, it said.
The tests should not be so difficult that they increase students' academic burden, nor so easy that it would be difficult to differentiate between students' academic abilities, the ministry said.
There should be fewer questions related to students' rote memory and more explorative and comprehensive questions, it said.
Each subject should have more than five senior experts responsible for compiling and vetting the papers, and they should not engage in any tutoring courses or compile learning materials for students to purchase and study, the ministry said.