EDITORIAL: Preparation Needed before Implementing New University Entrance Examinations

The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), December 25, 2014 | Go to article overview

EDITORIAL: Preparation Needed before Implementing New University Entrance Examinations


Using college entrance examination reform as leverage for improving high school and university education is a reasonable idea, but a vast number of hurdles must be cleared before achieving this goal.

The Central Council for Education has complied a report on reforming the university entrance examination system, including the abolition of the National Center Test for University Admissions and the introduction, instead, of a test to assess applicants' scholastic achievements, mainly their abilities to think and express themselves.

In addition to reviewing test results, each university would gauge applicants' abilities to act and think on their own and to cooperate with others through such multifaceted methods as interviews and group debates.

The report is in line with a report released in autumn last year by the government's Education Rebuilding Implementation Council.

It is difficult to adequately face various problems in society by merely memorizing textbooks, and the entrance examinations thus far have undeniably put too much emphasis on gauging applicants' abilities to study.

The report pointed out that the entrance examination system needs to go through a sweeping transformation if Japan wants to cultivate people who have flexible ways of thinking and abilities to solve problems, and who are capable of contributing to society. In some respects, we understand the council's stance.

However, the report lacks specifics on the new assessment test the council wants to introduce, including how it will gauge applicants' ability to think and make judgments.

According to the report, the new test will pose questions assessing students' knowledge on more than one subject as well as comprehensive questions that are not bound by the frameworks of subjects. High schools, however, give instructions subject by subject. High school students preparing for entrance examinations will surely be baffled by such an overhaul. …

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