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TOEIC drops out of Japan's new university entrance exam

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That's a bit raw for the students that have been studying for the TOEIC. That said, hopefully it was English skills they were learning so the skills can be transferred to another English test.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Neither the TOEIC nor EIKEN exams are accurate in judging a student's ability to understand English.

TOEIC sitting this one out could very well make the test obsolete here, as outside of Japan, it's pretty useless!

25 ( +28 / -3 )

Well, language study ought not be aimed only at passing language proficiency exams; it should be for becoming proficient in a language. Any decent exam will aim to test for that, and any decent educational establishment will aim to teach that.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Drop the “for the test mentality” completely educators. It’s killing the entire learning process. Destroying it.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

This is stupid, how does Japan expect to export their wares to the world if their university students do not speak English?

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Because they realized it proves nothing except the ability to memorize lots of words

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Practical English proficiency test is not appropriate to measure students intellectual levels. Reading and writing English test can gauge more accurately and fairly.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Don’t worry! There are still seven other tests for the students to toil through. (roll eyes)

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The TOEIC test, in and of itself, is basically a test initially developed in the US but taken over by a Japanese man to be a rival to the EIKEN Step exam.

It is supposed to be a test to measure the taker's ability at understanding international business English. Yet there are few test takers that are actually able to COMMUNICATE in anything other than low level conversational English and nowhere the actual level required to work in international business!

Full marks in the TOEIC (Reading/Listening) are 990, my son, who never studied for the TOEIC scored a 975, and the only reason, according to him, that he didnt score full-marks, was because of the length of the exam.

A 2 hour exam that literally tests the ability of the taker to stay awake long enough to finish it! The listening portion would put even the most hyper-active person into a coma!

16 ( +20 / -4 )

For-profit translation: The 7 new Japanese financial donors to the ncuee are paying up. They advised the ncuee to say "it's too hard" to administer the test in the manner they already knew it would be administered. Cram schools will revert back to national standards, I'm-fine-thank-you-and-you.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Learning English is really a waste of time in Japan anyway.

-14 ( +7 / -21 )

Is there any test of English that teachers out there recommend?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"The Japanese operator of TOEIC said Tuesday it will not provide its English proficiency test as part of the country's standardized university entrance exam system due to start next April, because the process is too complicated."

Why isn't the process too complicated for the seven other private sector operators who are scheduled to be part of the system? TOEIC has been around so long, they have the budget for it, and they should know the ropes. It is a huge pile of money they are walking away from.

At least they want you to believe they are the ones who are making the choice to walk away and try not to lose face. Like some of the above comments, I agree TOEIC is an outmoded system even more so especially today with the way we use computers and smart phones to communicate. Some of what is on the TOEIC doesn't match what is happening in the business world. A lot of your English language textbooks probably have similar flaws.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I know Japanese people who have TOEIC scores over 800, but who cannot respond to the question "How's it going?" in an appropriate fashion.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

TOEIC, TOEFL, Eiken, you name.

All of them don't really indicate the communication ability of the learners.

Give them a chance to have a "real conversation" with some (close to) native speakers!

And let the native speakers judge whether or not they were successful!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This is the result of Japanese bureaucracy love for paperwork and long drawn out application procedures. Good on TOEIC for not standing for it.

I teach University professors to doctors and they all say the same thing. The government paperwork increases and changes all the time and it becomes half of their job to satisfy the system.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Klausdorth* sounds simple doesn’t it? But in the 30 or so years since they’ve realized the grammar-translation and test focused methods don’t work, what with all of the PHDs , resources, research, government incentives, Jet programmers and man hours into this one obvious problem, no ones been able to crack it! It’s one of the great mysteries of the education world. It’s almost like the flawed system now feeds on itself! A massive farce.

Days are numbered though. AI will step in.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Neither the TOEIC nor EIKEN exams are accurate in judging a student's ability to understand English.

that's utter nonsense. it's a great way to measure a student's listening and reading comprehension. for work, that's all most will need.

it's a horrible way to measure their speaking communication ability. but that's not what the tests are really designed to do.

The TOEIC test, in and of itself, is basically a test initially developed in the US but taken over by a Japanese man to be a rival to the EIKEN Step exam.

what does this have to do with anything regarding the topic of this article?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Originally toiec is the test to measure ones communication skill in English at that time. So the score through hard study is worthless. Actually there are so many business people who can't speak English well, even though they have high score of it. Because their companies levy high score on them by in-house rule. There are numerous "secret " or "technical " books for toiec in bookstores all over Japan. Furthermore high school students don't need to study English through such a worthless way.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Isn't being part of the standard what these types of tests, live and strive for. So its somewhat silly to quit due to it being too complicated. With that said, 8 different standards for the same thing basically means there's no standard.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The university I work in has this and it is an absolute nightmare to have to grade! It is very complicated and staff have been calling for it to be removed as part of the grading system for a while. No surprise that ALC is involved in the process. Having worked for them in the past, they are very apt at over complicating simple tasks!

Good riddance to this, but I hope universities don't implement something worse!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

that's utter nonsense. it's a great way to measure a student's listening and reading comprehension. for work, that's all most will need.

it's a horrible way to measure their speaking communication ability. but that's not what the tests are really designed to do.

I have a business student who scored 750 on his recent TOEIC test. His English is crap in all areas and he admits to just "guessing the answers".

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Funny Facts:

Case1: A staff who studied in US and working in a TV channel in Kyushu region requested to translate a subtitle of a video from Japanese to Eng.. Really surprised though i am not a translator or doing any job like this.

Case2: Former Head of middle east expertise of NEC requested to explain the conversion in english at a Japanese meeting where a friend of former US president was presented.

Many times this kinds of experience was pain to me while some of them know english with very good institutional background.

At the end of the day all of them are good actors to save their history.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Is there any test of English that teachers out there recommend?

Yes the TOEFL or IELTS (Academic) test. There is no reason these tests as well that these English tests need to be part of the entrance exam. These tests can be given throughout the year and like other universities in the world there is a published level students need to achieve.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good for TOEIC to dropout.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

English is not very necessary in Japan anyways. Very few good paying jobs require English, and even in those cases you would be judged more on your Japanese skills rather than English. There’s no real need to make English education mandatory, as most people would forget everything once they start working anyways.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

I used to work for TOEIC and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it's a total waste of time. A perfect example of what happens when a team of 60-year-old Japanese men who don't understand the mission feel the duty to demonstrate they've spent hours and hours in meetings about how to handle it.

The bureaucratic labyrinth smothering this test of any vestige of usefulness is exactly what you'd expect to find in a project governed by oyajis.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Why are they dropping out? Money. Complicated my oshiri. It's about money.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

An IIBC official said it was asked by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations to hold the two tests closer together, but decided this would be too difficult.

The center said the institute is the only organization withdrawing, and that it plans to sign a contract by the end of July with the six operators administering the other seven tests.

So basically the National Center for University Entrance Examinations asked for an understanding and IIBC refused. The other six test makers accepted the understanding and now have a licence to print money. Business as usual, n'est pas.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@ Yabaru,

"TOEIC sitting this one out could very well make the test obsolete here, as outside of Japan, it's pretty useless!"

Because here everything based on domestic requirements, Main is Japanese language ( which Japanese don't need to learn as English), TOEIC here is just beautification, another cosmetic brand

3 ( +4 / -1 )

TOEIC is a joke, many Japanese with a high score can't even have a basic English conversation... time for Japan to use IELTS to test English ability.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

IELTS is easier than TOEFL especially the Speaking section. You just simply need to remember a limited number of set responses. My friends were specifically recommended to take it over TOEFL since it is easier to take. It is a cash cow for British Council, Cambridge, and the Australian company.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@gogogo

how does Japan expect to export their wares to the world if their university students do not speak English?

Japan is in the post-industrial era, with its industry moving away from manufacturing and shifting toward finances and tourism.

With its manufacturing industries waning, Japan doesn't need English speakers to sell its product.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Two separate applications and two separate dates for basically one test. The other day I bought a sokutatsu envelope and a stamp to mail it. I had to do two separate transactions at the post office to accomplish this. We've all been there before.... no one in this country is all that interested in doing things faster and better, especially outside of a factory. Got to give people something to do until they retire because they cannot afford lay them off.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

For those who want to study sciences, medicine etc, why do they have to spend a lot of time for practical English lessons? Limit it only to those who want or have to use English for their jobs after graduation.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I know a lot of people who take Toeic, Eiken, an other tests (like TOEFL), and I have to say that while I think TOEIC is a decent supplement to language Learning, and of course the listening portion is a good test of ability, on the whole it is not indicative of any kind of ability to communicate. Eiken is the better test for that. TOEFL is just insanity.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

A public relations official at Kawaijuku Group, another cram school operator

why do cram schools need public relations officers?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japan should just drop the obsession with English. 99% of the population don't need it in daily life, and being forced to struggle studying it just closes up their minds more to the outside world.

Better idea is to add a subject for the full 6 years of elementary school called foreign languages. The kids can have exposure to a number of languages in a fun way when they are most receptive to it, and then make various languages (not just English) elective options at junior and senior high. The ones that want to study will do so. Japan still seems paranoid that unless the whole country studies English at school, the nation will fall behind. But why? Almost all private junior and senior schools still obsessively promote how much English they teach in their curriculums, but no mention of teaching other important world languages like mandarin for example. Why?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

i don't forgive this decision because some student had already studied it to enter the university. We, adults, must not confuse children who have passion and goals. Japanese government should take this result seriously and think more deeply for promising youth.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan should just drop the obsession with English. 99% of the population don't need it in daily life

They had best study Chinese, they're going to need that more and more.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Smart decision. Why did the TOEIC have to be part of the two days they give all the exams? Just have the students take the test on their own before the Center Test and forward the scores to their uni of choice.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Who cares? The average Japanese university graduate can't string a simple 3-word sentence together in English as it is.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I know Japanese people who have TOEIC scores over 800, but who cannot respond to the question "How's it going?" in an appropriate fashion.

I know an American speaker of English who did not know the meaning of “cast down your bucket” as in the Atlantic Compromise. They make us learn these “useful” expressions in schools.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

TOEIC is a business English test, so what is it doing as part of university entrance tests in the first place? Tests of academic English are more suitable. It seems TOEIC can’t (be bothered?) to organize the testing of the 4 skills to be done on one day, which will be a basic requirement for all English tests from April 2020 if they are to be used as university entrance qualifications.

I know a lot of people who take Toeic, Eiken, an other tests (like TOEFL), and I have to say that while I think TOEIC is a decent supplement to language Learning, and of course the listening portion is a good test of ability, on the whole it is not indicative of any kind of ability to communicate. Eiken is the better test for that. TOEFL is just insanity.

There are two types of language learning; the learning of knowledge (grammar, also known as ‘focus on form’) and the learning of skills (communication, also known as ‘focus on meaning’). For language learning, both types of learning are necessary.  From my experience (and I have a lot of it) generally speaking, Eiken is a knowledge-based test that tests language form (grammar). The most obviously indication of this is the fact that people who succeed in Eiken tests (and from general observations, TOEIC too) generally cannot communicate in the English language based alone on what the test requires them to do. The Eiken speaking tests are in the most part very systematic and can be 'winged' quite easily with diligent practice.

The purpose of real language use is to not pass tests but to give and receive new information. This involves gathering, processing and giving information, something Eiken does not do. The TOEFL, IELTS and the TEAP tests measure these areas to different degrees and are the best of the bunch if you want to produce learners who can actually use English (not just pass tests), which is the main point of language learning in the first place.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If they wanted people to learn English, they'd remove it from entrance exams and make it an compulsory subject in jr high and and elective in sr high, and hire people qualified to teach it as a language, not as an artificial exam subject. Then only those who want to learn the language, not pass tests, would do so from high school onward. The current system prevents those who wish to do so from developing any sort of meaningful proficiency, while forcing 90% of students to suffer 6 years of boredom and frustration that impede their efforts to get into university.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Without toeic english languagge will disapper in japan.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

When I first came to Japan on a working holiday I did a stint at an English conversation school. I met loads of adult students who proudly told me they had such n such a high TOEIC score only for me to find they couldn't actually speak English. I always wondered what the point of it was, not conversational English that's for sure.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Pretty much, I have an apple I have a pen is the standard.

those that are actually cogniget enough go overseas

and stay there

Apple pen.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

TOEC and EIKEN are the most two useless test ever,at the end of the day no one is capable to have a proper conversation in English with other foreigners.

But let's keep it quiet,otherwise some people might get offended and will ask to keep the TOEC test as part of the Japanese culture "roll eyes" .

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What does this really change?

First off PLENTY of schools have their own in-house or privately outsourced entrance exam. 2 of the 3 universities I have worked for have. And the 3rd one had an in house grammar test along with the TOIEC Bridge.

And why boo hoo for all the students who had been studying for TOEIC. They are still going to take TOEIC, probably 4 more times AT LEAST by the time they graduate. I am sure there are some out there but every uni I know of has the students take the TOEIC at least twice while enrolled in English classes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seth M

Learning English is really a waste of time in Japan anyway.

How so? Even if Japanese can't speak English well, most students can read and write it.

You think because few people speak the language in Japan that it's a waste of time?

Just about every financial institute are well aware of the Japanese economy shrinking. With domestic spending declining, over spending budget on military equipment, a lack of foreign investments, the future doesn't look bright.

Its funny when many of the students go into the financial industry thinking they won't need English because they are working with numbers. You need English to do trading, overseas M&A, communicating with subsidiaries and other branches and so on...

My point is, you won't get far in your career without English, but hey, if you're happy working in a factory or a deadened job, by all means go for it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The concept of "how to better teach English in Japan" is a frustrating one. Clearly the existing systems don't work, but those systems are impossible to get around. Let's say someone opens an English school with an innovative method of teaching authentic English, geared toward making it possible for students to travel overseas and do well there. Sounds great, right? But... who would sign up for those lessons? Trying telling the parents of a junior high school student that "Our lessons are the best in the country, but aren't designed around improving your child's EIKEN or TOEIC score." How quickly would they be running out the door?

Well, then you could gear your English school and method toward adults, who are less reliant on the standardized test scores (except for businesses that require TOEIC scores). But then you run into the problem of trying to go against the bad English this person has learned for decades and decades. When someone has "I'm fine thank you, and you?" drilled into their head for decades, and then you suddenly teach them more natural phrases, do you think they'll immediately make that switch? No way. Old habits die hard. It's much easier teaching someone from scratch, than taking someone with mountains of bad English in their brain and trying to change it. They keep reverting back to what they've been taught and what they saw in their textbooks.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

With this report, one thing that came to mind is that TOEIC may simply be dropping out to save face. It’s seems to have the smallest amount of takers based on the numbers they have given. Holding 2% of a shrinking market may eventually lead to losses if they start creating specialized tests for the entrance exams.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It’s not a very good idea to use private-sector English proficiency tests for college entrance exams. It’s unfair because students living in big cities have more access to these tests than those living in rural areas. It’s about time universities dropped English from their entrance requirements.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

 Even if Japanese can't speak English well, most students can read and write it.

This is an old saw that's brought out quite often. The reality of what I saw in 10 years in Japan was that there were many people who supposedly 'couldn't speak, but could read and write it well' who couldn't string together a coherent paragraph, and who'd struggle to read a newspaper like USA Today (which is intentionally written at an elementary school level).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

that's utter nonsense. it's a great way to measure a student's listening and reading comprehension. for work, that's all most will need.

If you business only requires people to be able to read and write in English, I for one would say your businesses has no foreign English speaking employees, and does not allow anyone to have any contact with foreigners and avoids foreigners, because actually communicating with a foreigner scares the shite out of you!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What is preventing the Monbusho from going to Denmark to see how they teach English? Best speakers of English by far, in my experience. Truly admirable. Japan? Oyaji Central, I guess.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You definitely don’t need English to do well in Japan, In fact, having good English can be a disadvantage in many cases in Japan.

Most Japanese companies only need a few English speakers. These people have to work longer hours, attend telephone meetings in early mornings and late nights, all for negligible additional pay compared to their Japanese-only co-workers.

Let’s not forget many Japanese companies’ global divisions are less profitable compared to domestic divisions, so you are potentially looking at worse bonuses as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why isn't the process too complicated for the seven other private sector operators who are scheduled to be part of the system? TOEIC has been around so long, they have the budget for it, and they should know the ropes. It is a huge pile of money they are walking away from.

Part of the problem is on the technical side of the house, and it will cause TOEIC and everyone else, to raise the cost of their tests. TOEIC already is about ¥5,000 for the reading and writing, and sorry I forgot the cost of the 2nd half, which not all that many actually take.

It will be a requirement to video the entire testing process. Using the EIKEN as an example, currently the interview portion is recorded (oral only) using a dedicated IC recorder that is sent from EIKEN to the testing centers.

In the near future the written portion will need to be recorded with video/with sound, and all interviews will be recorded on video as well. Setting up the equipment needed and the technical support for it, and collection, reviewing, everything, is going to cost money. A hell of a lot of money, and EIKEN is lathering at the mouth looking forward to making even MORE money!

Interview test examiners, get roughly ¥30,000 per day for interviewing and one location could have up to 20 different examiners, plus staff who assist, getting roughly ¥10,000 per day, (all include lunch and drinks) for about 9AM to 4PM. 3 shifts in the AM, and 3 in the PM. Running the interview exams alone, in one location can costs literally well over 1 million yen!

There are multiple locations in EVERY prefecture, interview exams are given basically 6 times a year, (This year June 30th /July7th) in November and March.

In 47 prefectures, ALL on the same days (basically speaking)

We are talking about literally, hundreds of millions of yen being spent to give this test!

EIKEN is a money making machine!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, there is a need for students to show some mastery of a language and that is accomplished by testing.

How to gauge proficiency when all around cannot ?

That is the conundrum.

However, in Japan, when the most important language in the world is turned into a series of tests designed to be failed by the student, well, that is the root of the problem!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having participated in their programs, I can nderstand the limitations they have and face.

The huge burden will be in their "oral" examinations. There are many hired so called "native" teachers, but almost no or very few are capable of testing and scoring oral capabilities. Just because one qualifies as being "native" does not mean that one is a "teacher" or that oine is using an recognized as acceptable level of English. Even those "certified" school teachers who are specialists in "oral" English have extreme difficulties in testing and scoring examinations outside of predetermined and prepared examination questions and answers. To begin with even in the US or UK or even Australia, there are only a limited number of examiners that can conduct "oral" tests effectively and effciently, espcially when there are no definite standards set up and prolicies and procedures to score them.

It will take much more time and effort by Japan's Monbusho to achieve its goals.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To resolve this oral English problem, it would probably be much more efficient if they were to "require" all English teachers and teachers to be to spend at least one intensive year at and in an UK or USA college where there are specialits that teach phonics and phonetics as well, specializing only in Standard English Speech. Meanwhile they should designate and require all existing English teachers to take a year of intesive English speech courses by inviting specialists from the US and UK.

The "problem" in Japan is NOT the "tests". The problem is the "English teachers" themselves. One cannot expect results when the teachers are incapable to begin with. Those that learned English before and during WWII are capable, but have retired or are not in the educational system. The entire teaching and testing system established since, concentrated only on written examinations. That is the reason why there are so many "jukus" and independent English speech teachers. That is why TOEIC started to begin with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yubaru thanks for this info I never understood the system. My son 18 just entered Waseda is doing fine, daughters are 10 and 14, elder one must score high levels in 5 subjects to get teachers recommendation to enter her preferred HS or get high scores on entrance exams, quite stressful. In S Calif in the 60's we just went to the nearest high school in our district. I was Navy kid lots of moving attended 3 different ones.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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