Unified college entrance test to be replaced

Kyodo

The education ministry plans to scrap the unified test for university admissions and instead establish a new achievement test for high school students, ministry sources said Thursday.

Currently, high school students who want to go to a university must take the exam known as the national center test. The National Center for University Entrance Examinations organizes such tests over two days each January. In addition, students need to take another round of tests at the university of their choice.

The education ministry plans to offer the new achievement test two or three times a year and allow students to pick their best results in applying for university admission, the sources said.

It plans to launch the new system in five years at the earliest, the sources said.

A 15-member government panel on education reform will soon begin discussions on the launch of the new achievement test, they said. Waseda University President Kaoru Kamata heads the panel.

The ministry plans to ask universities and colleges to add interviews and essay writing to the second of round of tests.

Responding to the falling birthrate, some universities have already scrapped achievement tests and enroll students on the recommendation of their high school.

National and prefectural universities began using the common first-stage test for university admissions in 1979. The first-stage test was changed to the national center test in 1990. About 570,000 students took the national center test last January.

  • Glen Douglas Brügge

    “Responding to the falling birthrate, some universities have already scrapped achievement tests and enroll students on the recommendation of their high school” – as it should be. Tests are a crock. They don’t reflect any positives other than one’s ability to retain facts and parrot them. People should be accepted on a more holistic evaluation of the abilties.

    • Masa Chekov

      School recommendations should only be a part of the criteria. Schools have a very strong motivation to make sure their students move on to good universities so are likely to overstate a student’s skillset.

      • Glen Douglas Brügge

        Quite true – I did not think of them “padding” the facts; I would hope that they don’t, but in Japan, having your students get into a fancy university will be of great prestige – so undoubtedly, it will be abused. I was thinking more along the lines of recommending students based on all their strengths, good student, maturity, intelligence etc.

  • Sho Takeda

    I’m afraid that it would just accelerate student’s number-oriented study motivation, which would eventually increase their stress and negative emotions. They need to add a way in which they can evaluate students from much longer perspective to evaluate internal aspects of students like motivation to study,and maybe their personality, rather than depending on interviews or essays. Those “clever” people still don’t understand that attainments of test are not everything?
    Falling birthrate would help them to evaluate students more elaborately. And we Japanese would be able to do that becoming an example to the rest of the world.

  • Mark Garrett

    “The education ministry plans to scrap the unified test for university admissions…”

    OK. Finally. It’s about time Japan realized that there were too many tests and started cutting down on them.

    “…and instead offer a new achievement test for high school students two or three times a year.”

    Wait. Wha? They’re replacing it with 2 or 3 MORE tests? With ADDITIONAL CRITERIA?? Ughhh (face palm)