High-stake Assessment for College Admission and Its Efficiency in Vietnam, China and South Korea

Presentation author(s)

Jessi Nguyen’22

Majors: Education and Youth Studies; International Relations
Minor: Asian Studies


The National High School Examination (NHSE) is now regarded as one of the most important, if not the most important, exams for many Vietnamese senior students. It is a high-stake standardized national test administered once a year to evaluate students’ eligibility to finish high school and pursue post-secondary education.

Prior to 2015, Vietnamese students completed their 12 years of study by taking two distinct and consecutive exams: the high school graduation test and the college admission exam. Since 2015, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has been reforming the assessment by adjusting the high school graduation and college admission tests on an annual basis. The most significant change thus far has been the consolidation of the high school graduation and college admission tests into one single exam — the 2-in-1 NHSE.

The inefficiency of 2-in-1 NHSE has been reflected in the quick birth of independent extra entrance tests administrated by colleges and universities, usually called competency examination. Consequently, it means that Vietnamese students both involuntarily take the NHSE to get a high school diploma and voluntarily take extra ones to get admission to their desired schools.

In my paper, I reviewed literature on

  1. the overall success and failures of the current NHSE test
  2. the strengths and drawbacks of alternative independent tests in college admission
  3. lessons for Vietnamese educators and policymakers to learn from China and South Korea, whose educational systems are also driven by examination and use assessment as a key determinant in college admission.


Jingjing Lou

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read our Web Privacy Policy for more information.

Got it! ×