Education ministry panel approves private-sector English testing for university entrance
Japan Times -- Jul 12
Education ministry panel approves private-sector English testing for university entrance

The envisioned shift to a private testing system reflects the nation's intention to improve students' ability to write and speak English - something long overlooked by the national standardized exam called "center shiken" (center test).

The proposed plan, approved Monday by a panel of experts set up by the ministry, will phase out the decades-old center shiken system, stipulating its English section give way to a variety of privately-run proficiency tests by fiscal 2024.

Possible candidates include TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the Eiken proficiency test, ministry officials told The Japan Times on Tuesday.

The plan also involves a revamp of the testing system for subjects such as Japanese and math, replacing the current multiple-choice format with a new standardized testing system in fiscal 2020.

"We have found that after six years of studying English in junior high and high schools, few Japanese students can actually speak and write in the language sufficiently," said Taizo Yamada, an education ministry official in charge of college examinations.

In a move that surprised many, a revised education guideline unveiled by the ministry in 2009 called for an "all-English" policy that demanded teachers conduct their English classes in a Japanese-free setting.

But "students aspiring to pass college entrance exams wouldn't feel motivated enough to hone their speaking and writing skills after all if the very exams they're trying to pass are focused on reading and listening," the official said.

新たな大学入試試験の英語について、4年間は英検などの民間検定と今までのマークシート方式が併用されることが決まりました。 2020年度からセンター試験に代わって「共通テスト」が始まり、英検などの民間検定が採用されます。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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