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Osaka junior high schools move up in national academic achievement tests

14 Comments

Osaka junior high schools have moved up in rankings after the results of national academic achievement tests were announced this week.

The Japanese and mathematics exams are held each April for final-year students at elementary and junior high schools across the country.

As in previous years, Akita, Fukui and Ishikawa prefectures ranked highest, and Okinawa and Kochi prefecture remained lowest, Fuji TV reported. However, junior high schools in Osaka moved up nearly 20 places in mathematics.

Many local governments have expressed concern that disclosing test results school by school will create a hierarchy of schools and cause excessive competition.

Prefectural governments are currently allowed to disclose results individually for schools upon agreements with municipal governments, while municipal education boards can do so on their own decision.

Osaka has obliged all schools in the city to disclose test results, mainly on their websites.

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Many local governments have expressed concern that disclosing test results school by school will create a hierarchy of schools and cause excessive competition.

This is already a problem. :(

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junior high schools in Osaka moved up nearly 20 places in mathematics

Without further information, this doesn't mean much. Assuming a normal distribution of results, if these schools were previously near the mean average, a tiny improvement could produce a huge jump in terms of ranking. As similar improvement at schools previously near the top or bottom would produce a much smaller jump in ranking.

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The test results are meaningless. There could be more middle class children in schools or weathly parents deciding to send their children to attend school and spend money on Juku instead. I feel sorry for these children riding on an unending merry go round of tests.

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People working in the public education system can be complacent as their jobs are guaranteed for life. There's too much security when it comes to public workers in Japan. Competition by disclosing school-by-school test results is one way of harnessing self-improvement in the sector which is otherwise so comfortably resting in the status quo. Without some kind of objective achievement measures which is linked to teachers' assessment and pay, what awaits us is a further fall to mediocrity.

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Squaring the circle in the comments again...

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Don't worry, within the next 4 years the dreaded college entrance examination will disappear and these standardized tests will hopefully fall by the wayside as well.

Many schools "allow" their worst students to take a day off when these tests are taking place, thus skewing the results too. Not to mention that a huge number of schools take an inordinate amount of time preparing the students for the standardized test by giving special classes and numerous practice tests too.

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Congratulations to the students. Were 100% of the students tested or just a select group of students who have demonstrated achievement? In the USA 100% of the students are asked to take the state's exit exams. It doesn't matter if an level 3 junior high student or an 18 year old has only passed the first year courses, he/she takes the tests. In other words, if he/she is supposed to have passed the 3 year level courses, he/she takes the tests. It is not surprising that the failing students score low and bring down the average score. What is the criteria in Japan?

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One wonders about the impartiality of these results. A few words spoken at the weekly teachers meeting can have amazing results.

Besides, as has been said, what purpose do they achieve other than create a hierarchy within the education system.

What a shame. all kids should be given the best free education available...and it should not be based on where you live or how much cash daddy makes.

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This has happened in the UK, it has added to the extra traffic on the roads, it also affects house prices, instead of kids walking to there local school mummy or daddy drives to the other side of town to drop the kid off, and then drives to work or drives home and this is repeated to collect said child, house prices are affected by the school results because if the school does well, people will move closer to that school so they can go to that school, but if its a failing school, its the reverse, will this be the same sanario in Japan? also kids are getting fatter here because they don't walk they get carried in cars, could this lead to more kids in Japan to get over weight?

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What a shame. all kids should be given the best free education available...and it should not be based on where you live or how much cash daddy makes.

Part of the problem is that unlike other tests or certifications in Japan, each prefecture has different tests with regards to how teachers are hired. So the standards for the teachers themselves vary, which of course affects the teaching methods used is different parts of the country.

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Well, hale-bloody-yuya! It seems that the competitive rote learning system is paying off for statistics! Isn't that just wonderful? If only the school curriculum was to include open mindedness, globalized minds and some related form of critical thinking it might actually mean something. However, on the brighter side, it shows that sleep deprivation due to excessive amounts of homework and going to juku can overcome memory loss and allow children to memorize answers. It's always struck me as strange that kids who attend regular school have to go to another school to learn the three Rs. It doesn't say much for the education system, does it? Fantastic! I come from a country that does not have juku nor do we have the 'summer vacation homework' because our school year finished at the start of the vacation. Yet, we were able to pass and be educated. Strange indeed!

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Wow This is exciting at least for me because my son is first year junior high school student in Osaka .

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good for these kids they must be super smart like everybody in japan

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Standardized testing, thanks in part to the Japanese model, has been creating havoc in the U.S. , resulting in a massive teacher shortage, among other things. Meanwhile student creativity has declined since 1990. Standardized tests require only one correct answer, which creates a stale mind set. Here in Japan critical thinking and creativity are not an issue, having been abandoned long ago.

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