Theses Doctoral

Analyzing the National College Entrance Mathematics Examinations in China in 1952–1965 and 1977–1984

Shen, Yihua

This research examined the Chinese National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) in mathematics before and after the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, specifically covering the periods 1952–1965 and 1977–1984. The central focus was on the organization, structure, and content of the examinations, as well as their influence on and interaction with Chinese people and society.

A mixed methodology approach was employed, primarily comprising three steps: (1) scrutinizing the sources and coding the information into structured formats, (2) organizing the data and tracking trends and changes, and (3) synthesizing the findings to formulate conclusions.

Key findings included: (1) An increase in the number of items from 1979 to 1984, attributed to the introduction of new question formats following international collaboration between China and the United States. (2) A shift in topic coverage from traditional to modern subjects after 1976, reflecting curriculum concerns raised by Chinese mathematicians who advocated for educational content to evolve with societal and human development. (3) A decrease in item difficulty during the post-war and post-revolutionary periods of 1952, 1953, and 1977, reflecting the education system’s recovery from disruption and generally lower quality of teachers and students. (4) A shift toward an exam-oriented approach in teaching and learning, with its negative ramifications leading to criticisms from Chinese society and the eventual abolition of the NCEE system in 1966.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Karp, Alexander P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 31, 2024