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In April 2007, the education ministry conducted a nationwide achievement test for school children — the first such test in 43 years — spending ¥7.7 billion. The results were partially made public in late October. There are plans to hold a similar test in 2008 and 2009. There are many reasons, however, for the ministry to rethink this decision.

About 2.25 million elementary-school sixth graders and middle-school third-year students took the test, which focused on Japanese and math. The test’s ostensible purpose given by the ministry is to help improve teaching methods for individual students.

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