Lower-ranked prefectures’ students see improved achievement tests

Kyodo

Achievement tests given last April indicate elementary and junior high school students in lower-ranked prefectures improved their learning performance, a recent education ministry report found.

The achievement tests for the 2013 academic year through March 2014 centered on two subjects — Japanese language and arithmetic or mathematics. The tests were taken by sixth-graders at all elementary schools and third-year junior high students.

According to the report released Tuesday, Akita and Fukui continued to take the top spots in the rankings of the country’s 47 prefectures. Ishikawa and Aomori also had good results, but results in Okinawa and Hokkaido were comparatively poor.

Students in Kochi and several other prefectures saw their performance increase significantly from the 2007 academic year, when the achievement tests were introduced in their current style.

In releasing the results, the education ministry said the gaps between the prefectures are narrowing with the low-ranked prefectures showing improved performances.

The ministry also said this year’s tests found that problems remain, in general, on the part of the students in questions testing how to utilize their knowledge.

In a poll conducted at the April tests, 64 percent of the elementary school students and 69 percent of the junior high school students replied they spent more than an hour a day on homework. The figures were up 5 percentage points.