Journal of East China Normal University(Educational Sciences) ›› 2023, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (4): 72-82.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2023.04.006

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Research on the Relationship between Exam-oriented Education and Students’ Creativity

Zheng Ke1, Can Liang2   

  1. 1. Institute of Curriculum & Instruction, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    2. No.2 High School of East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Accepted:2022-12-13 Online:2023-04-01 Published:2023-03-11


Although many people rightly believe that exam-oriented education hinders the development of Chinese students’ creativity, there is no basic evidence to prove that the overall creativity level of Chinese students is lower than that of other countries. Therefore, it should not be simply asserted that exam-oriented education restricts the cultivation of Chinese students’ creativity. But this does not mean that exam-oriented education has nothing to do with students’ creativity. A reasonable explanation is that exam-oriented education has different effects on different types of students. It is effective in “raising the bottom”, but it will obviously hinder the creativity of top students. This is supported by many direct and indirect factual evidence. Although the number of highly creative students accounts for a small proportion, their creativity is affected, which is related to national security and competitiveness and deserves attention and vigilance. Exam-oriented education has a significant negative impact on the creativity level of top students, which does not mean that other groups of students are not affected by it. But in the environment of exam-oriented education, the top students are more affected and restricted. Using the analytical framework provided by the “the componential theory of creativity”, this negative impact can work through three mechanisms, that is, reducing the width and depth of top students’ knowledge mastery, reducing the spirit of adventure and questioning, as well as the tolerant attitude towards uncertainty, and weakening the internal motivation of learning.

Key words: exam- oriented education, creativity, cultivation of creative student