Unmentioned by this article, but essential to understanding it, is the fact that since 1985 the gaokao has not been a uniform national exam. Zhejiang’s license to customize the exam for Zhejiang students dates from 2003. Wikipedia says that 16 provinces and municipalities customize their exams.
This is doubtless a complex matter which I am not qualified to judge, but it seems to me that varying the questions (as well as the grading protocols) from province to province compromises a national exam’s ability to ration access to the best universities based on merit.
A. E. Clark <firstname.lastname@example.org>