Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cheating for Extra Credit

Something is wrong with the educational system if people are cheating just for extra credit.

Chinese marathon athletes run into trouble

More than 30 male competitors at a Chinese marathon were reportedly disqualified after organisers discovered they had cheated during the race.

Organisers of the Xiamen International marathon, held in the south east of the country, found some runners had carried time-recording microchips of more than one competitor, registering two or more results after crossing the finishing line.

Meanwhile, others had hired imposters or used transport to navigate part of the way around the course, according to the Jiefang Daily, a newspaper endorsed by the Shanghai Communist Party.

The vast majority of the disqualified runners had registered times of two hours and 34 minutes or below, the minimum standard for high school students to attain extra credits for China's ultra-competitive college entrance examinations.

What does running a marathon under 2:34 have to do with college success anyhow? My friend in Chengdu told me that in order to graduate from college, she had to get a certain number of "points" in addition to passing all her classes. How to get these points? You can take national proficiency tests for different subjects (for example, CET) or even getting a driver's license will get you points. If you can't pass or drive, you can always pay the school for points... I think it was ~RMB700 per point and you need 4 to graduate.

BTW, I've spoken with people with CET Level 4 and CET Level 6 certificates. I'm not sure about their reading/writing skills but most could not carry on a simple conversation.

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