The mainland’s college entrance examinations are at the end of three long years of preparation and the results can reverberate for decades to come. A good score determines whether a high school student can go on to a prestigious university or an obscure vocational college.
But for all the study and the future in the balance, it can be gone in less than 60 seconds.
Mainland media report that markers, usually high school teachers or graduate students, spend less than a minute on average grading a student’s Chinese writing. That’s because markers are allotted eight hours to grade 600 exam papers, translating into 75 papers per hour.
Given that students have to write no fewer than 700 Chinese characters in the written section, markers would be hard pressed to read each paper in full in such a short time, let alone fairly assess the quality of writing.
But English markers have it even worse. Graders have just 56 hours in total to plow through the written papers of up to 12,000 students, adding up to less than 30 seconds per student.
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