In a first for a local government, all public-school students through the ninth grade in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward are taking achievement tests, ward officials said.

The ward office plans to have students take the basic-knowledge test and fill out a questionnaire every year so academic achievement can be tracked consistently for each student’s entire nine years of compulsory education, just like the annual health checks, the officials said.

About 8,500 students up to the eighth grade were tested Wednesday.

Ninth-graders, or third-year students in junior high school, will take the test Friday and Monday because of a scheduling adjustment for entrance examinations for public high schools in Tokyo.

Students at Arakawa’s 24 elementary schools, up to the sixth grade, were tested on Japanese and math, while students at the 10 junior high schools took tests on Japanese, math and English.

At Haketa Primary School, 444 students took the test. Principal Keizo Fujita, 59, said: “It is important for each child to know the level of his or her achievement. As the test will be conducted every year, I believe teachers can use (the results) like health records.”

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