A school in the Jiangsu province of China has come up with the idea of “marks bank,” where students can borrow marks to match their low scores but must pay them back later, like any other borrowed loan, with extra point scoring in the future exams.
The Nanjing Number One Secondary School introduced this idea in November on trial basis for 49 students of the 10th grade in an elite program aimed at grooming the students for entry in U.S. colleges.
The suggestion has now gained immense popularity. The bank that allows failing students to borrow marks was reportedly introduced by some parents in the banking industry.
Moreover, students can be charged “interest” if they don’t repay the borrowed marks quickly; this enables children to work hard so as to avoid the interest. If they fail to repay their loans on time they can be “blacklisted.”
The students also have the opportunity to earn “credit scores” based on attendance, behavior and classroom cleaning duties.
According to a 2014 study by a Beijing-based nonprofit education group, most cases of student suicides could be attributed to pressure from school tests.
A physics teacher named Mei Hong said the new scheme focuses on giving second chances to students.
“59 points and 60 points are actually not that different. But because the former means failing the exam while the latter means passing, the difference weighs heavily on students' psyches,” she said.
"Our objective is to look into new ways to evaluate performance; a holistic evaluation is better than having students' future determined by a single exam," said Huang Kan, the school's director.
Students are generally happy to use the marks bank.
"I missed some classes because I was sick, and I didn't do well in a geography test. But the 'marks bank' gave me a chance to save the situation," one student named Xiaozhu told Yangzi Evening Paper.
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