Chinese examination system
Chinese examination system, civil service recruitment method and educational system employed from the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) until it was abolished by the Ch'ing dowager empress Tz'u Hsi in 1905 under pressure from leading Chinese intellectuals. The concept of a state ruled by men of ability and virtue was an outgrowth of Confucian philosophy. The examination system was an attempt to recruit men on the basis of merit rather than on the basis of family or political connection. Because success in the examination system was the basis of social status and because education was the key to success in the system, education was highly regarded in traditional China. If a person passed the provincial examination, his entire family was raised in status to that of scholar gentry, thereby receiving prestige and privilege. The texts studied for the examination were the Confucian classics. In the T'ang dynasty (618–906) the examination system was reorganized and more efficiently administered. Because some scholars criticized the emphasis on memorization without practical application and the narrow scope of the examinations, the system underwent further change in the Sung dynasty (960–1279). Wang An-shih reformed the examination, stressing the understanding of underlying ideas and the ability to apply classical insights to contemporary problems. In the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) the commentaries of the Sung Neo-Confucian philosopher Chu Hsi were adopted as the orthodox interpretation of the classics. Although only a small percentage of students could achieve office, students spent 20 to 30 years memorizing the orthodox commentaries in preparation for a series of up to eight examinations for the highest degree. By the 19th cent. the examination system was regarded as outdated and inadequate training for officials who faced the task of modernizing China. After it was abolished, mass education along with a Western type curriculum was promoted.
See W. Franke, The Reform and Abolition of the Traditional Chinese Examination System (1960); J. M. S. Meskill, The Chinese Civil Service (1963); E. A. Kracke, Jr., Civil Service in Early Sung China, 960–1067 (1968); I. C. Y. Hsu, The Rise of Modern China (1970); I. Miyazaki, China's Examination Hell (tr. 1981).
"Chinese examination system." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chinese-examination-system
"Chinese examination system." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 17, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chinese-examination-system
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.