As a student who experienced both American High School and Chinese High School, I found out this topic would be an interesting one. These two systems are different. Chinese new education system is learning from America, so they still had the basic ideas in common. However, no matter the society or the population, America and China are totally in the two different worlds. That makes the education systems so hard to find a similarity, even though they have the same basic ideas. While there are some similarities, there are many more differences between these two systems.
First, both America and China all have the same curriculum. They both study the subjects comprising a course of study in a school or College. For example, in China, there are biology, chemistry, history and mathematics, etc. There are also these subjects in the America. These subjects also are the necessary preparation for College. Secondly, both the American education system and the Chinese education system are step-by-step. The students in these two countries are all experience the primary school, middle school, high school and College. Kindergarten is optional. If a student is brilliant and talented, he or she also allowed skipping the grades in both America and China. Even though America and China are all step-by-step to the higher level of education, how they get to a higher level is different.
China has one thing that is famous in the world about getting into a college is called: “College Entrance Examination.” This examination can only take it once, and everyone who wants to get into College has to take it. Every senior in China is taking this examination in one time. Your entire destiny depends on this examination. Of course, you can take it again, but it needs to be taken in the next year. People in China usually do not choose to be a repetition student. They are still struggling in the gap of wealth. A student from a richer family doesn’t want to waste time and energy, so they more likely tend to buy a seat in College.
In comparison, a student from a needy family usually doesn’t have enough money to waste one more year in high school. They typically have two choices: find a job or get in a third-rate college. “College Entrance Examination” is also much more complicated than the SAT. The most apparent difference is the student can take the SAT as much as how much they want to take it, but “College entrance examination” can only take once. In the U.S., People usually get the same examination paper in the whole country for the SAT, if taken on the same date. However, China has such a large population that it is not easy to control if they are all using the same examination paper. As a result, different provinces have their examination paper. Why did this happen in China?
Second, there are courses system differences. American high schools always have their pick of textbooks, but the knowledge in these textbooks are all following the rule of AP or IB, even just the basic knowledge that will appear on the SAT. The knowledge that teachers teach in the American school is not only for examination but also for student’s future and their interest. Teachers tend to lead the students to think and let them discuss. The student also can pick the courses that they are more interested in. A student also allowed 100 points in mathematics but 5 points in chemistry. This kind of student can choose college-level mathematics and the primary school level of chemistry. It doesn’t matter to their teachers or parents. Instead of worries, the teachers and parents of student might be pleased about the talent of this student have. Unlike the high school in America, the high school in China tends to make student remember all kinds of hard knowledge and make them do the examination well. Students in China only can pick liberal arts or sciences when they become a junior as a “high school major”. After students choose their preference, they are not allowed to change it again. The school will put them in a particular class, and all the students in that class need to follow the same schedule. If students choose liberal arts, they need to take geography, history and politics. If students choose sciences, they need to take biology, chemistry and physics.
All students need to take mathematics, Chinese and English. To be honest, this method is unfair. A student who good at chemistry may not be good at biology. However, when the students take the “college entrance examination”, these three subjects count. Nobody cares how many points that a student gets in biology; they just care how many points they get as a total. In contrast, most of my friends in China have a hard time to choose their “high school major”. They might be able to pick three subjects they are good at out of these six subjects, but it is hard for them to choose a “major”.
Another difference will be English. Schools in China are focusing on teaching English, and they mainly teach the writing part. This is the reason why the majority of Chinese students have excellent writing skill but not performing well in orals. In the “college entrance examination”, English also is one of the biggest parts of points. However, most Chinese have no chance to speak or write in English in their whole life. From the courses both in America and China, the direction that they want students to go and how the colleges pick students is appearance.
The high school in China is easy to define everything is about “college Entrance Examination.” Under this examination system, there are always some high scores and low abilities of students in China. Many people have observed that the Chinese are good at mathematics but have poor social skills. In America, this is much more complicated. The scores of such thing like SAT or TOEFL is critical. However, there are also other things like GPA, recommendation letter, volunteer hours, etc., that American students need to worry about. These things are harder to build. It needs time and experience. From these additional conditions, colleges also can see a more realistic student. A straightforward example, a student who is doing a volunteer job for five years without any interruptible, this action clearly can tell the kindness that this student has. Our society needs people like this student. Another example: a student who is good at sports but has an average grade. This is not a problem either. Some universities would like to have a student like this. This student also can get more professional in the future and become a professional sports player. All these things are hard for Chinese College. There are 6 billion people in China and nearly 3 million seniors each year. The average amount of each high school class is 60 to 70 and even more students. This is another difference between school organization in China and America.
Let’s begin with the American high school. American high school always has all kinds of clubs, student organizations and activities. The headmaster is more like the leader of teachers, not students. Students have their leaders. These leaders of the whole school usually lead the big events in the school. After this, the other organizations’ leaders can organize their events. There is usually a consulting teacher in each organization, but from the critical decisions to the simple choices are all decided by students. If the school has some polices that students don’t like, they also can make a protest or write a letter directly to the headmaster. Social life is an essential part of American high school beside study, so there are always events or activities happening during the school year, such as prom, homecoming or spirit week, as in my high school. Students are joining these events of their accords. Compared with the American high school, tiny events are happening in Chinese high school. The biggest event is the sports meeting. Other than that, there is only “headmaster’s speech” happening all the time. Of course, there are other events and activities which will occur, but these activities are mostly from by teachers and harsh. Headmaster can decide everything in the school. Students are a force to join these activities, and they not going to have fun. Besides, there is always subject competition happened as an activity. Chinese high school is trying their best to let students learn more for their College because there are also competitions between each high school.
America’s education system is way more developed than China because they already explore for hundreds of years. Not like America, the Chinese education system is way different in the old days and just starts this new system several decades before. China is progressing. After only ten years, the education system already changed a lot. Compare with the old China; the students nowadays are much luckier. China has a long way to go, and I hope the educationist in China can discover a better education system that more fit China.