Zhangjiagang eases burdens on students
Zhangjiagang, a county-level city in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province has eliminated written tests for first and second graders in primary schools as part of the city's efforts to ease academic pressure on students and make their development more well-rounded.
A number of primary schools in Zhangjiagang, such as Fuqian Experimental Primary School, have replaced written tests with leveled games. Students need to use their skills and knowledge to accomplish tasks in the games.
"Non-written tests focus more on students' practical and general qualities instead of knowledge itself," said Chen Xuelian, vice-principal of Fuqian Experimental Primary School.
The new exam format has been widely welcomed among children but poses a major challenge for teachers, said Jiang Chunhua, who works at Bailu Primary School in Zhangjiagang. This is because the games are expected to both trigger students' interest and measure their abilities in acquiring knowledge, solving problems, and teamwork, she added.
The Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education recently issued two guidelines on homework assignments and exam arrangements for primary and middle high school students.
According to the guidelines, first and second graders should not receive homework or be given written tests. Students in grades three through six and those in grades seven through nine should spend no more than 60 and 90 minutes respectively on their homework, and should take at most one and two tests respectively each semester.