Li Yuhui, Li Yuli, Bai Yuanjun
Recently, China has deployed a push for the Chinese path to modernization, requiring education to cultivate socialist builders and successors for the country. China’s current leader Xi Jinping has been paying attention to education reform and has made a series of important instructions on running education to satisfy the people.
Five years ago, he proposed establishing “cultivating people with morality as the fundamental task of China’s education.” Last year he reiterated that “the fundamental task of educating people lies in cultivating morality,” emphasizing the core position of moral education and proposing to “improve education management and education evaluation system in the school”.
Thus, the evaluation of moral education has become an important measure to fulfill the task of fostering virtue through education.
In 2020, the Central Committee of CPC and the State Council issued the “Overall Plan for Deepening the Reform of Education Evaluation in the New Era” (hereinafter referred to as the “Overall Plan”), which pointed out that “improving result evaluation, strengthening process evaluation, exploring value-added evaluation, perfecting comprehensive evaluation, making full use of information technology, and enhancing the scientificity, professional and objectivity of education evaluation.”
The Overall Plan has pointed out the direction for the reform of moral education evaluation, emphasized the urgency, and demonstrated the important principles of building a moral education evaluation system that meets the requirements of the Chinese path to modernization.
The Report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC put forward the new concept of “science and technology as a primary productive force, talent as a primary resource, and innovation as the primary driver of growth”, and constructed a scientific view on talent ,i.e. “putting people first, help people to become talented and make the best use of their talent”.
Thus, the “Overall Plan” specified a scientific view on how to become talented, that is, “adhering to morality first, ability-oriented, comprehensive development, adhering to education for everyone, teaching according to aptitude, integrating knowledge with practice, and resolutely changing the practice of labeling students with scores.”
The plan regards “morality” as the first standard for talents. Only by cultivating people with high moral standards can we achieve great things. The plan regards “ability-oriented and comprehensive development” as the only way to develop talents, to cultivate morality and skills comprehensively.
The plan regards “integrating knowledge with practice” as the fundamental method for evaluating talents. Therefore, The 20th National Congress of the CPC and the “Overall Plan” provide new ideas and methods for solving the problem of paying more attention to intellectual education than moral education and paying more attention to scores than behavioral effects.
In the traditional education model, most moral education evaluation methods focused on the mastery of ideological and political knowledge, taking the examination results as the main indicator.
These methods ignore the cultivation of students’ moral quality as well as the transformation of students’ cognition to behavioral practice, neglect the unity of knowledge and action. The direct result is that students who perform well in theoretical exams may not necessarily behave morally, while students with high moral standards may not necessarily get high scores in moral education.
Therefore, moral education evaluation must shift from knowledge evaluation to integrating knowledge and practice, apply knowledge to usage to achieve the organic unity of knowledge, emotion, intention, belief, and action.
It is necessary to guide students to transform implicit knowledge of moral education into concrete practical behavior and continuously turn cognitive achievements into behavioral actions.
We must attach importance to evaluating students’ behavioral performance so that the evaluation of behavioral effects of moral education becomes a guiding light for students’ growth. Of course, evaluating “behavior” involves many complex factors and has become a significant issue that needs in-depth research and exploration in educational evaluation.
Thoughts, political awareness, and moralities are personal psychological qualities composed of knowledge, emotion, intention, belief, and behavior. Observing or describing the outward characteristics of any of these elements is not easy, and neither is making accurate and objective evaluations of these characteristics and behaviors. It requires scientific methods that are both trustworthy and viable.
Building a moral education effect evaluation system for vocational education in the new era
Xi Jinping attaches great importance to the reform of education evaluation, who has repeatedly mentioned the need of improving the mechanism of strengthening moral education and cultivating talents, and to reverse the unscientific orientation of education evaluation.
In September 2018, at a forum for the representatives in the fields of education, culture, health and sports, General Secretary Xi Jinping particularly emphasized the need to deepen the implementation of the overall plan for the reform of education evaluation in the new era, and to construct an evaluation system that is in line with China’s actual situation.
In the context of the Chinese path to modernization, we must establish a system for evaluating the effectiveness of moral education in higher vocational education to cultivate builders and successors of socialism with Chinese characteristics, practicing the core socialist values, following the law of students’ growth, highlighting the characteristics of higher vocational education.
We must construct an evaluation system for moral education with the main perspective of focusing on behavior, taking students as the subjects of evaluation and enhancing value-added evaluation.
What to Evaluate? The Five Principles Framework Evaluation Model and Indicator System
To construct the model and system, we established five principles: “guidance by the theory of behavioral science research”, “integration of knowledge and practice with an emphasis on action”, “four-dimension evaluation dominated by value-added evaluation”, “self-evaluation of students with longitudinal progress perspective”, “cultivating morality during the evaluation process and evaluation serving moral education work”.
Based on these five principles, we designed a new moral education evaluation system for the higher vocational education in the new era.
The establishment of the system is based on three dimensions, we set the national standard as the main dimension, such as the “Outline of Moral Education for Chinese Higher Education Institutions” issued by the Ministry of Education and the “Implementation Outline for Building Citizen Morality in the New Era” issued by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council.
The other two auxiliary dimensions are: highlighting the characteristics of the school and meeting the demands of industry and enterprise. The index system has five primary indicators and 12 secondary indicators. In terms of setting up tertiary indicators, we divided them into “knowledge” and “practice”, with 16 and 31 indicators, respectively.
To ensure the scientificity of the index system, we consulted ten experts for suggestions and tested the reliability and validity of the system with a medium sample size.
How to evaluate: Student-oriented, innovative tools with a four-dimension evaluation mechanism dominated by value-added evaluation.
First of all, the moral education evaluation system in the new era of vocational education must be student-oriented. The reason for making students the main subject of evaluation and combining diversified evaluation methods is that only the educated person knows best about their own educational achievements.
The purpose of the evaluation is to enable students to obtain correct self-awareness, stimulate students’ self-drive for growth, and meet students’ personalized needs for growth.
Secondly, vocational college students are in a special stage of development, any evaluation will impact their growth. We must pay attention to the growth and changes of students in moral education process, enable students to see their growth and progress immediately and make evaluation play its’ role of positive incentive.
To this end, we adhere to the evaluation concept of “looking at progress vertically without making horizontal comparisons”, take “value-added evaluation” as the main method. We establish a “four-dimension evaluation mechanism including result evaluation, process evaluation, and comprehensive evaluation and dominated by value-added evaluation” for objective and fair evaluation, to ensure the evaluation system plays the incentive , educational and guiding role.
Thirdly, we make full use of information technology platforms and measurement tools, use and tap the value of value-added data at different stages, form visual personal diagnostic reports and comprehensive reports.
These reports will go back to students on the one hand so that they could see the records of their development. They will also go to the teachers, on the other hand, to help them adjust the content and strategies of moral education and improve the pertinence and effectiveness of moral education.
We will also exchange the results of moral education evaluation with students’ credits to encourage students to pay attention to their moral progress and enable them to improve the comprehensive evaluation of graduation.
Adhere to the principle of “cultivating morality in the evaluation process”.
Actually, the evaluation of moral education is to judge whether the educational activities of a school have achieved the social values advocated by the state.
The educational policy of “cultivating socialist builders and successors with comprehensive development of morality, intelligence, physical fitness, aesthetics, and labor skills,” formulated by the Communist Party of China and the government, is undoubtedly not only the goal of moral education, but also the ultimate standard for evaluating moral education work and its effects.
In the process of answering and solving the three questions of “what to evaluate”, “how to evaluate,” and “how to do it,” we always regard evaluation as a type of educational activity for moral education.
The moral education indicators are like “batons” and “yardsticks,” telling students what should be done and what should not, what is advocated by the state, and what is opposed by society, thereby consciously establishing standards for distinguishing right from wrong, mastering behavioral norms and standards.
Adopting self-enhancement evaluation by students is to advocate that the evaluated person self-evaluates with an objective attitude and accepts the baptism and test of honesty repeatedly.
Feeding back the results to the evaluated person is to hope they can refer to various data, know where they need to put more effort to improve themselves and move from education to self-discipline and growth quickly.
Establishing students’ moral education growth records is to expect students to see their own growth trajectory, carry forward their strengths, make up for their weaknesses, form stable excellent ideological, political, and moral qualities, and gradually achieve comprehensive self-development.
In short, building a moral education evaluation system for higher vocational education under the Chinese path to modernization in the new era requires innovating moral education evaluation theory and methods, as well as forming a replicable and operational implementation path and plan, allowing evaluation to play a role as a baton for moral education during the evaluation process.
This also enables evaluation to serve the purpose of moral education, improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and benefits of the school’s moral education work, fulfill the fundamental task of cultivating morality and talent, and play a strong role in “education for the Party and the country.”
*The writers are part of Guizhou Forerunner College， China.
**Views and research in this article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily represent those of the publication.