Chinese students risk exam failure for not recognising their lecturers

‘Attitude question’ in end of term test designed to see how engaged students are with their teachers, Sichuan college says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 4:56pm

Students at a vocational college in southwest China risked failing an important end of term exam recently if they were unable to recognise their course tutor.

As part of the Cultivation of Ethics and Fundamentals of Law paper – a compulsory element of all college and university curricula in China – students at Sichuan Vocational College of Culture and Communication were presented with a printout of passport photographs of faculty members and asked to identify, and correctly spell the name of, the person who had taught them, China Youth Daily reported on Tuesday.

While no points were available for getting the answer right, anyone who failed would have 41 points deducted from their final score, the report said.

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While some students were bemused by the question, others guessed it was intended as a punishment for anyone who had failed to attend lectures during the term.

“This is a good question,” a person wrote on social media. “Students won’t remember the teacher if they didn’t attend the lectures.”

“Is its purpose to check who was absent?” wrote another.

The actual aim of the “attitude question”, said Hu Teng, the person who drafted it, was to test how serious the students were about the courses they were taking.

“The name of each lecturer is at the entrance to each classroom,” he said. “If students don’t know your name, it means they are not interested in your lecture.”

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Despite the huge penalty payable by anyone who failed to identify their tutor, Hu defended it by saying the cultivation of ethics paper accounted for only 30 per cent of the total score for the whole course.

Another student bemoaned their own poor memory, fearing it might prove costly.

“To be honest, I wasn’t absent at all during the whole term, but I just didn’t know the lecturer’s name,” the person said.

Another was concerned not about recognising the tutor, but how their name was spelt.

“I made a spelling mistake, so all I can do now is keep calm and keep smiling,” the person said.

The Sichuan college is not the only seat of learning in China to have included questions about its faculty in examinations, however.

In a test at Jilin Architecture University recently, students were asked to identify their lecturers from samples of their handwriting and photographs of their backs.