Gaokao Reform to Curb Decline in Numbers

Zhejiang and Shanghai were the first two regions in China to commence a Gaokao Reform in 2017, and many other provinces have set a clear timeline for reform. The main changes include: multiple tests replaced by one final exam; a larger combination of subjects to choose from, rather than just the two streams of arts/science; and universities must determine entry scores based on area of discipline, rather than a unified entry score for all disciplines. This means that some discipline intakes of 211 and/or 985 universities will be below non-211/985 universities.
There are currently just over 40% of Gaokao students who are able to study at tertiary level, and China’s objective is to raise this figure to 50%, however many universities are experiencing the continued challenges of recruitment. Across the country, 11 out of 23 provinces have reported further declines in Gaokao numbers, ranging from 9,000 to 30,000 per province. Beijing has had a continual decline in Gaokao numbers throughout the last 11 years, with a 50% reduction across the period.

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