A school in eastern China has set up what other academic institutions may never have or even imagine: a fully-operational “grades bank.”
Nanjing Number One High School established the system back in November as a way of helping students reduce stress. Parents who were banking professionals were even consulted to devise it. Since then, it has attracted both support and criticism from the public.
Under the scheme, students can “borrow” marks and “repay” them on subsequent tests by scoring extra points. They must also pay on time or face “interest” charges. Those who fail to pay their “debts” will be blacklisted.
Mei Hong, a physics teacher, said it gives students a second chance (via South China Morning Post):
“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.”
However, only students from the school’s 10th grade Advanced Placement class were qualified to join the bank. Thirteen out of 49 have already borrowed marks. One of them is Xiao Zhu, who found it extremely helpful (via The Telegraph):
“I was sick before the mid-term exams and missed several geography classes. I failed the exam, so I am glad the ‘grades bank’ gave me a chance to fix that.”
Those in favor of the “grades bank” say it gives students room to breathe, since they will soon end up sitting for the Gaokao, China’s grueling national college entrance test that “determines” their future.
Others worry that students might be too lax knowing that grades can be taken for granted.