For Survivors of a 9-Hour Chinese Exam, a Door Opens to America

((Independent Recorder))@

“From the student’s perspective, it opens a door,” Mr. Chen said in a phone interview.

Like other out-of-state students, students admitted to the University of New Hampshire through the gaokao program would have to pay over $45,000 a year in tuition and housing costs.

The University of New Hampshire joins dozens of European, Australian and Canadian universities, as well as a handful of private American institutions, who have been screening candidates using cutoff gaokao scores. The University of San Francisco, a Jesuit institution with about 6,800 undergraduate students, has an early admissions program that allows June test takers to enroll as early as the fall semester, based solely on their gaokao score, grades and a one-on-one interview in English. Last spring, more than half of the school’s 1,600 international students were from China.

On the program website, Paul J. Fitzgerald, the school’s president, said that although he was aware of criticism of the gaokao, it had the “advantage” of evaluating “whether students are able to master a given body of knowledge, as well as their ability to work hard and consistently.”

Mr. Fitzgerald noted that the SAT, which serves as a basis for admission at most four-year colleges and universities in the United States, is also an imperfect predictor of college success.

The gaokao is not set to replace American standardized testing altogether, however. Ms. Mantz said that although admissions criteria were still being finalized, students admitted to the University of New Hampshire would mostly likely have to take the SAT or ACT, a similar test, after their scores on the gaokao and an English exam were vetted.

“This streamlined process quickly gives feedback to students who need additional English prep, so that they can start on that path right away,” she wrote in an email.