Promotion of Diverse Multi-Admission Programs The Joint-Board Schools Recruitment to senior high schools was in effect for decades, and was the only school entry path for students graduating from all levels of schools. This fair and open system did elicit a considerable measure of trust in society; it was also a convenient recruitment system for schools. However, the Joint-Board Recruitment had also led to several negative influences for quite a long time, for instance: the educational objectives of schools were distorted, teaching was dominated by the need to pass examinations, students were losing their creativity, student cultivation and selection systems lacked coherence with students’ nature, and the experiences in organizing and implementing the examination system could not be readily passed on. Therefore, the brand new concept of multi-admission programs offered a fresh and timely way of thinking, and a variety of new methods were introduced, replacing the single school entry path, while also maintaining its advantages of fairness and simplified procedure.
The Ministry of Education has promoted and introduced each multi-admission program progressively, including the Multi-admission Program for Senior High and Vocational High School, the Multi-admission Program for Technical and Vocational University and College (both were initiated from the academic year 90), and the Multi-admission Program for University (implemented from the academic year 91). The basic concept of multi-admission programs is the separation of exams and recruitment, which is designed to achieve both professional exam success and diverse ways of secondary and tertiary education recruitment. On one hand, exams are administered by professional organizations, to ensure that professional research into exam design is in coherence with functions of teaching and learning, and not just evaluation. On the other hand, the advantages of the multi-admission programs are to create more diverse ways of recruitment for secondary and tertiary education, including the Admission by School Registration and Placement System, the Admission by School Recommendation and Candidate Application, the Admission by Personal Application, as well as Exam-free Admission. Schools can decide their preferred ways of recruitment among these four aforementioned admission methods, in order to allow schools to set up their own criteria for recruitment according to each schools’ particular features, and to select students whose interests and characteristics are most relevant to those schools’ features. Additionally, multi-admission programs do not imply that every student should be equipped with various competences, nor do they mean that participating in every path of admission can increase the probability of succeeding in being admitted. As an alternative, they provide more opportunities for students to reveal their own personal characteristics and potential, so as to enable them to choose their own way of entering a school.
Improvement of School Entry Paths
Since the introduction of multi-admission programs, entering a school has become more complex, and thus the MOE has embarked on a revision with the goals of simplification and fairness. In addition, in order to improve essay writing skills and language production competences, an essay writing exam (Chinese) was first included in the exam subjects of the Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students (BCTJHSS) in the academic year 95, and this exam was included in the evaluation evidence of BCTJHSS from the academic year 96. Exam-free Admission was introduced in the academic year 99; that is to say, students could enter senior high schools or vocational high schools without participation in the BCTJHSS. In order to expand the scale of Exam-free Admission, the BCTJHSS was reduced from being offered twice a year to just once a year starting in the academic year 101. The 12-Year Basic Education was fully implemented, beginning in academic year 103, and the school entry path became mainly based on exam-free admission, with the Selective School and Student Recruitment in second place. The BCTJHSS ceased to be offered. The Selective School and Student Recruitment contains the Technical and Skill-based Exam and Enrollment and Placement by Academic Exam. It is expected that through exam-free admission, teaching can correspond to the related regulations, and relax junior high school students’ pressure of taking entry exams. Besides, it is hoped that the Selective School and Student Recruitment both achieve the development of featured courses and promotion of innovative education.
In order to understand and ensure the quality of junior high school students’ academic competence, the Ministry of Education, and all city and county governments, have started to carry out the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students since the academic year 103, according to Regulation 13 in the Evaluation Standard of Primary and Junior High School Students’ Grades. The exam subjects of the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students include: Chinese, English (including an English listening test), Mathematics (including non-multiple-choice questions), Social Studies, Natural Science and Writing Assessment (Chinese). These exams are conducted based on the Grade 1-9 Curriculum Guidelines. The evaluation results for each subject are divided into three levels: Mastered, Basic, Need to be strengthened. The evaluation measure of the Writing Assessment is by grades, from grade one to grade six.
The most important goal of the junior high school stage in the 12-Year Basic Education is to ensure that the teaching corresponds to the related regulations, and that students are assisted in their development in the moral, intellectual, physical, social and aesthetic fields (also named as the 5 Ways of Life). These fields are designed, taught and expected to assist students to develop their intelligence and competences, so that they can seek and determine their advantages in life. With the purpose of guiding junior high students to develop by their own nature, the Ministry of Education has devoted itself to promoting career development and vocational education. Students are encouraged to decide their own learning paths relevant to their particular interests, characteristics and competences, through understanding their own unique features and their roles in society.
In the stage of senior secondary education (senior high schools and vocational high schools), the 12-Year Basic Education emphasizes three dimensions: universality, elites, and the care of students in need. Through the Exam-free Admission, the Selective School and Student Recruitment, and other diverse school entry paths, all students graduating from junior high schools are offered the opportunities to study; and students with various features and characteristics should be able to find their own paths, and to become elite in their different fields. Thus, the goal can be finally achieved: nurture students by their own nature.
With the attention of all sectors of our society focused on senior high schools entry paths, since the academic year 103, the major school entry path is the Exam-free Admission for junior high school graduate students entering into senior high schools and five-year colleges. Each school enrollment administration zone should provide at least 75% of the student enrollment number, and this should be increased to 85% in the academic year 108. Some students may participate in technical and skill-based exams, or academic exams, to enter into senior high schools or five-year colleges, so that students may have opportunities to express their diverse advantageous competences. No matter whether it is exam-free admission, or with exams, we expect to guide students to their goals based on their own personal interests, characteristics and competences.
For the purpose of equal opportunities in education, and caring for equal opportunities for students in need, all students are encouraged to enter schools located nearby where they live. The Ministry of Education has expanded the implementation of the exam-free admission as a priority every year. According to Paragraph 2, Article 6 of the Recruitment Regulation of the Multi-admission Programs for Senior High School: “To enhance equal opportunities in education in each school enrollment administration zone, to encourage students to study in schools nearby their residence, and to ensure the rights of physically or mentally challenged students to accept education, the competent authorities in municipalities, counties or cities should firstly negotiate with the competent authorities of the school enrollment administration zones. Subsequent consideration by these authorities of the numbers of junior high schools, graduating classes, and graduating students, should result in the implementation of appropriate measures to achieve the priority of exam-free admission in the regulations of exam-free administration (Item 1, Paragraph 1, Article 6).” Therefore, the Ministry of Education has stipulated that school enrollment administration zones, with the intention to implement the priority exam-free admission, should stipulate the aforementioned contents in the regulations of exam-free administration. Each school enrollment administration zone, by their own authority, may regulate their own programs of the implementation models and measures according to the local condition in each zone. The Ministry of Education has continuously encouraged the school enrollment administration zones to promote the priority exam-free admission, and it has gradually increased the priority exam-free admission percentage every year so as to boost equal opportunities in education in each school enrollment administration zone, to encourage students to study in schools nearby their residence, and to ensure the rights of physically or mentally challenged students to accept education.
Regarding the entry path to university, in the academic year 93, these were simplified into two ways using the Admission by School Registration and Placement System, and the Admission by School Recommendation and Candidate Application (the latter includes Admission by Personal Application and Admission by School Recommendation). In order to realize the ideal of “quality learning of each senior high school; equalization between cities and counties”, the University Admission by the Constellation Program was promoted from the academic year 96; and then it was combined with the Admission by School Recommendation into University Admission by the Constellation Recommendation Program. That is to say, senior high school students’ academic results rankings are calculated into averages and shown as notes in percentages. Students who pass the standards of the subject competence test regulated by each department of each university can participate in the Admission by the Constellation Recommendation Program. Their percentage of academic scores in senior high schools will be arranged in rank order, and thus, students who have a small percentage of their academic score will be enrolled by universities in the first round. On the other hand, to be in line with the new curriculum guideline of the 12-year basic education for primary and junior high students studying from the academic year 108, the curriculum guideline for standard senior high schools will contain fewer common required subjects, and more optional classes for students to choose as they wish. Furthermore, the adaptive instruction of different study groups, core literacy-orientation teaching, and flexible courses for students’ independent learning will be included in the planning orientation of the curriculum guideline. The common academic subject exam cannot be the only selection standard of future university admission. Hence, the major entry path will be the Admission by Personal Application of the Multi-admission Program in the academic year 111. Multiple documentations of students’ learning processes will be strengthened as a selection path. In addition to the score of the entrance exam, the students’ performance and learning in diverse subjects will be emphasized.
Regarding the entry path to vocational colleges, the separation of exams and recruitment of vocational colleges was implemented in the academic year 90. Currently, the main recruitment paths are as follows: Admission by School Recommendation and Candidate Application, Admission by School Registration and Placement System, Direct Admission for Special Achievement Students, Admission by Application of Special Achievement Students, Comprehensive Four-Year College Recruitment, and College Admission by the Constellation Recommendation Program. Since the academic year 104, the College Admission by the Constellation Recommendation Program aims at recruiting students whose academic score percentage in senior high school is in the top 30% and recommended by their schools. Schools may only recommend 10 qualified students. In order to reach a balance in each school, each vocational college can only recruit a maximum of 3 students from the same senior high school according to their academic score percentage, without implementation of paper-pencil tests. The academic score percentage is the evidence of rank order, and students’ order of vocational college placement. Since the academic year 106, senior high schools can recommend 12 qualified students to enter vocational colleges. In addition, the Student Ratio for the Recruitment Expansion Project for the Advancement of Technical College Admission by Performance Exams was promoted in the academic year 106. With the increase in Performance Exams (for example, Technical and Skill-based Performance Exam, Recruitment Interview, Project Research Performance Exam), and by ensuring the results of these exams are limited as the reference maximum to 50% in the Comprehensive Four-Year & Two-Year Junior College Entrance Exam, it is hoped that teachers and students in vocational high schools may emphasize the cultivation of students’ competence in practical skills and techniques.