Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

EDITORIAL: Competition Brings Improvement in National School Achievement Test

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

EDITORIAL: Competition Brings Improvement in National School Achievement Test

Article excerpt

Regions that previously produced poor grades were showing significant academic improvement, which may be the fruit of nationwide achievement tests for children.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry released the results of the test it conducted in April this year.

The test has been implemented since the 2007 school year for primary school sixth-graders and middle school third-year students to measure the basic understanding and applied skills of Japanese language and arithmetic or mathematics.

Under the administration of the Democratic Party of Japan, the tests were conducted in the 2010 and 2012 school years by selecting about 30 percent of primary and middle schools nationwide. But from the last school year, all primary and middle schools have been required to participate in the test.

This time around, sixth-graders in Okinawa Prefecture showed outstanding improvement. They have no lowest-ranking subjects according to prefecture-by-prefecture data. They rank within the top 10 on the basic understanding of arithmetic.

The sixth-graders in Shizuoka Prefecture, previously ranked lowest on their basic understanding of Japanese language in the 2013 school year, recovered to almost the average national level this year.

These municipalities that once had poor results are emphasizing classes where students express their opinions in writing. The teachers are also increasingly participating in training sessions to improve their teaching skills and are even interacting with those in high-ranking prefectures such as Akita and Fukui to gain insight into their teaching methods.

Detailed results available

Education ministry analysis indicates that such efforts to improve teaching methods raise the general level of academic ability. The change could also be the result of full participation in the national achievement test, which has produced moderate competition. …

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