STEP up to Help Students Pass the Eiken English Proficiency Test

Source: Gaijin Pot
STEP up to Help Students Pass the Eiken English Proficiency Test

Often as an English teacher in Japan, especially in the early days, you will hear all kinds of buzzwords, abbreviations and short forms being thrown around — TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Unless you studied for a teaching credential before coming here — which in all honesty the vast majority of new native-speaking English teachers haven’t — you’ll most likely be unsure what many of these points actually mean.

One such word that often came up in my case was “eiken.” If you work with junior or senior high school students and in some cases even older elementary students, then there’s a good chance you will be called upon to coach your students for this test at some point.

So what is the Eiken test and why is it so important to your students? Let’s dig a little deeper.

The Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency is an exam that caters to all levels of study: from school students all the way up to English language teachers.. It’s often called the STEP Eiken in reference to the previous name of the Eiken Foundation — the Society for Testing English Proficiency

In some respects, it’s similar to the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) although unlike the JLPT, which lacks a speaking component, the Eiken requires verbal answers — so it is stronger in this regard. However, it is still mostly about reading and response rather than spontaneous conversation and communication.

Having seen both exams in detail, my personal opinion is that the Eiken Test gives a more accurate measure of a student’s all-round language ability than the JLPT. It is, however, still a standardized test and as such, it has its flaws. I spoke with one of my …continue reading