national

Education ministry to change college entrance exam system

23 Comments

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is considering scrapping Japan's Center Test system, according to reports.

The National Center Test for University Admissions is Japan's standardized series of exams used by public and some private universities in Japan. The exams have traditionally been held annually in mid-January over a period of two days.

However, a ministry panel on Thursday announced plans to scrap the current system in favor of a series of "achievement tests" to be taken through high school, Sankei Shimbun reported.

According to MEXT, the new tests would be taken two or three times each year, with the student's highest grade being accepted for final consideration.

The ministry says the new system is likely to be introduced in five years' time at the earliest, Sankei reported.

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23 Comments
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Oh, please, yes, cancel this awful test! Anything would be better than having students go through the two days of hell that is euphemistically called a test.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

yes bring it into line with western style of schooling were all you results over the last 2-3 years of high school give you a national average and an Uni entrance score. that way if you perform poorly in one test you can work harder to make up for it coming tests. instead of bringing in down to one main do or die test. will make Japanese high school that little less stressful and the pressure to perform less concentrated.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Good riddance, if and when they actually scrap it. My guess is they won't, in the end -- it's big money to prepare for and take the tests (either via cram schools or registration, etc.). Also in the end, the tests are simply about rote memory, not about knowledge or performance in general.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Byebye cram schools. Now, all they have to do is teach the necessary skills to gain acceptance into college during the regular daytime classes.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I must say, it is totally insane. Multiple tests just accelerates their score based hierarchy. It destroys the school education. They already have mid-term tests and term-end tests, 6 times a year. Plus a couple of national exams? No way man, just juku (clam school) industry says horray. They must be over the moon, as they can expect extra income. It spoils their ordinary school life. Spoilers!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The ministry says the new system is likely to be introduced in five years’ time at the earliest,

too early to comment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Actually it is true, cram schools used to just expect highschool students who are 3rd grades for juken, now they announce it is 'a good news' to them as highschool kids eager to achieve high scores from early stage of the grades, for a couple of more tests for the assessments which reports go to the university. (Actually they've already stated so in the major Japanese newspapers!!) Of course, some students are really concerning these scores as they make the final exist to the higher education. We can't win as the multiple tests with an ordinary scoring system, no interviews, no debate tests, - just multiple choice tests for multiple tests. What do you expect guys. Just hell. They have to think of something. That I've heard of the expected reaction from Japanese. Tests do not do anything good to them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yes bring it into line with western style of schooling were all you results over the last 2-3 years of high school give you a national average and an Uni entrance score

You need to be more specific when you talk in generalities about "western-style" of schooling. Ever hear of the ACT and SAT?

Byebye cram schools. Now, all they have to do is teach the necessary skills to gain acceptance into college during the regular daytime classes.

Not at all, in fact cram schools are going to get more students as some kids wait until the last minute to join one in preparation for the center test. Too much emphasis is going to be placed on the standardized tests and particularly in private schools there is going to be more pressure on teachers to get their students to get high grades on them.

Multiple tests just accelerates their score based hierarchy. It destroys the school education.

You hit the nail on the head! Goodbye high school education! Traditional HS education will give way to standardized test based curriculum and classes will be geared towards the achievement tests alone.

The end result will be more "dumb" kids. Test smart, but common sense lacking! And once the test is over.....everything is forgotten!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Exam hell can now continue for 3 years...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For once I have to agree with all said by Yubaru.

There should be standardized tests at school though as kids at easier schools have higher achievement scores than at harder ones.

Entrance exam has to be specific to the University. I don't see why you should have common studies included in test for Architecture for example! Maths and drawing is necessary in this case plus the average of the last 3 years at high school standard tests.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Entrance exam has to be specific to the University. I don't see why you should have common studies included in test for Architecture for example!

There's nothing unusual about this. At Oxford University, for example, if you are interviewing with a tutor to read, say, Jurisprudence, there won't be any questions on Law. Tutors are looking for a wider intelligence at this stage, not specific knowledge of the intended major.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Disagree with everything Yubaru said. The assessment is based on a multitude of tasks and those tasks are not going to be tests. The jukus can't individually prepare all their students to give different presentations as each school and teacher will solely decide the assignments. That's the point of this, get more student and life skills employed outside of just tests.

Schools will still have the opportunity to get their students to take standardized tests but for those students who don't want to attend the top universities an assessment is more telling than a simple pass fail.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I saw this on NHK last night, they also want universities to take into account student's extracurricular activities and conduct interviews with students, to guage the student as a whole, not just based on one test.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wtfjapanJUN. 07, 2013 - 02:37PM JST yes bring it into line with western style of schooling were all you results over the last 2-3 years of high school give you a national average and an Uni entrance score. that way if you perform poorly in one test you can work harder to make up for it coming tests. instead of bringing in down to one main do or die test. will make Japanese high school that little less stressful and the pressure to perform less concentrated.

Not all westerns style of schooling are like that. It would be bliss if it were!! I passed through hell during uni entrance exams.

I don't agree with tests, you cram for tests, I cram for tests. Life is not about crammed knowledge but about applying information and knowing how to work with your mind..I'm a university student who fails in the last two and I realized it the moment I started working.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I saw this on NHK last night, they also want universities to take into account student's extracurricular activities and conduct interviews with students, to guage the student as a whole, not just based on one test.

This is great.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Great idea but will it destroy the Juku industry? Not that I really care about those spin doctors...

This may actually force the teachers in JHS and up to be competent at their jobs

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kinda of reminds me of my schools from elementary school on. Tests on different subject matter each year. You do get good at taking tests. Don't really remember any tests in JHS but high school start with PSAT then SAT at the end you the Jr year. By senor year, colleges notified early decision candidates by the end of the first semester and regular decisions were received around March and April.

They did say they plan to give test through HS but the national test will be give 2 or 3 times a year. The cram schools will just be getting younger kids in their second year for each test maybe every trimester. Will the kids have an option to not take the other test if they do well on the first? Otherwise, it not going to hell week but several hell weeks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Disagree with everything Yubaru said. The assessment is based on a multitude of tasks and those tasks are not going to be tests. The jukus can't individually prepare all their students to give different presentations as each school and teacher will solely decide the assignments. That's the point of this, get more student and life skills employed outside of just tests.

What assessment are you talking about? The center test is going to give way to standardized tests given throughout the school year. So what happens with the "normal" tests that students currently take in HS? Typically they have 5 to 6 "major" tests that determine their grades now. Throw on top of that another 3 achievement tests that will be used to determine whether or not they get into college or university, and which test do you think will become the main focus of the schools? The parents, teachers, and students, are going to focus on the ones that matter for college.

Schools will still have the opportunity to get their students to take standardized tests but for those students who don't want to attend the top universities an assessment is more telling than a simple pass fail.

What is going to happen is the schools with students who score higher on these tests will get more students studying to enter there and competition for the HS entrance exams is going to get even worse, as higher ranked schools will get more applicants. There will be a major trickle down effect through all levels of education.

There is nothing wrong with having one standardized national test, similar to the ACT and SAT.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

1 standardized test is fine if its just 1 aspect of admissions. When I went to Uni in the US the SAT ( only math and English) was 1/3 of consideration. Another 1/3 was high school grades, last 1/3 was extracurricular and essay

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Honestly it is completely unnecessary. Every student in Japan who wants to go to University can find a place. There are more than enough University places.

As a result the central testing becomes all about who goes to the TOP universities... but the top universities have their own tests... so the net result is completely and utterly illogical...

...students go through massive stress to pass a test that will be over-ruled by the university's test. Teachers end up teaching towards a very limited curriculum in order to pass an irrelevant test. As a result real education is crippled.

It just makes zero sense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's all on the universities. If top Unis say they are interested in an overall portfolio, like grades, tests AND extra curricular activities, then the rest should shake out accordingly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@qazwsx....I agree! Unfortunately here the system is so convoluted that it's hard to know what each school wants in the first place that along with the schools themselves having their own entrance exams on top of the center test seems to me to say that these schools dont trust the center test either.

Ever since the university system went private schools are fighting for money to keep themselves in business and the higher ranked schools garner more attention and money and are forcing the lesser known schools to fight for students. Students that at one time may not have been able to get into school are passing, and the overall level or gap is getting larger and larger.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not sure how many of u are aware of the fact that most highschoolers don't attend cram school..Being that highschools throughout Japan have different levels of education..Third year junior highschoolers take an exam in order to get into the highschool of thier choice..So being that the highschool curriculum varies from school to school,makes it difficult for cram schools to take on highschool students..Therefore the main focus of cram schools is on junior highschoolers..A bit of knowledge for u all!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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