National

Application period starts for English test under new college entrance system

Kyodo

The operator of a private-sector English proficiency exam began accepting applications Wednesday for its tests that will serve as a component of Japan’s new standardized university entrance exam.

Under the new exam system, six operators will provide seven kinds of tests, such as GTEC and TOEFL, aimed at measuring students’ English skills in four areas — reading, listening, writing and speaking — from April next year.

The current English component of the standardized exam can measure only reading and listening, and the change is part of the reform of the whole entrance exam system to assess students in a more comprehensive manner, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.

By utilizing private-sector tests, students are allowed to take the tests twice if necessary, between April and December in 2020.

The Eiken Foundation of Japan became the first organization to start the application process. It will conduct its first batch of tests between April and July.

Test-takers can file their applications via the operator’s website until 5 p.m. on Oct. 7, it said.

But not all the operators have revealed their precise schedules for the application process and test locations, and some high school students and teachers have voiced their concerns.

“My classmate told me ‘I don’t know what to do.’ That’s the reality at schools,” a 17-year-old student from a Tokyo high school said last week at a gathering of dozens of high school and university personnel in front of the ministry, where they called for an overhaul of the new exam system.

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