By Yong Zhao
"One of the most sought-after assets in the 21st century is also one of the casualties of test-oriented education in China: creativity. In his book The Writing on the Wall: How Asian Orthography Curbs Creativity, linguist William Hannas (2003) documents the fact that modern development in Asian countries has relied primarily on technology transfers from the United States and European countries. Leaders of Asian nations are acutely aware of their creativity (lack thereof) problem and have been trying to address it, albeit with limited success; but somehow this fact escapes the attention of leaders and educators in the United States, "where East Asia's technical skills are typically confused with real creativity, and where people have little clue about the degree to which their creative resources are utilized abroad for commercial profit" (Hannas, 2003, p. 4). As a result, Asian nations have been working on closing the creativity gap, while the United States has been troubled by the "achievement gap" revealed by international comparison tests, such as TIMSS and PISA."