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Walt Gardner

For Walt Gardner's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Aug 3, 2014

Japan has a word to add about teaching math

Before critics conclude that Americans suffer from an incurable case of innumeracy, they might want to ask if the long-standing poor performance of U.S. students in international math test competition, compared with Japanese students, is the result of the way the subject is taught ...

Jul 7, 2014

High test scores, low expectations

Young people in Japan, like their counterparts in the U.S., know that high scores on tests have little to do with their job prospects. So why do a higher percentage of American students still report being hopeful about their prospects for a good life?

May 31, 2014

Bullying weakens Japanese, U.S. schools

Bullying of LGBT students is reaching epidemic proportions in schools in Japan and the United States even as greater tolerance is demonstrated for students of different races, cultures and abilities.

May 20, 2014

Design tests to measure priority outcomes

The discovery of fraud in the adminstration of the high-stakes TOEFL and TOEIC tests is disturbing, but the larger issue — which has been given short shrift — is that these tests are designed to emphasize written English rather than spoken English.

May 9, 2014

Japan should treat test scores with discretion

Although the education ministry's decision to allow local boards of education in Japan to make public the results of achievement tests for individual schools appeals to those who are frustrated by what they perceive as a lowering of standards, the tests are far too ...

Mar 8, 2014

A student's responsibility for education

It's good that Japan is open to improving its system of education, but it may want to consider the disadvantages of the American approach that practically exempts students of responsibility for their education.

Mar 1, 2014

Handle moral education with extreme care

When Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura met with a ministry panel recently to discuss the inclusion of moral education for elementary and junior high school students beginning in 2015, he unwittingly stepped into a potential minefield.