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2008年12月29日 (月)

学力調査―勇気ある撤退を求める

2008/12/29

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 27(IHT/Asahi: December 29,2008)

EDITORIAL: Testing academic ability

学力調査―勇気ある撤退を求める

In defiance of education ministry policy, Akita Governor Sukeshiro Terata publicly disclosed average scores by students of each city, town and village within the prefecture in controversial achievement tests taken nationwide. His decision came against growing confusion over whether to reveal the results of the annual tests for sixth-graders at elementary schools and the third-year students at junior high schools, which resumed in 2007.

 秋田県の寺田知事が、文部科学省の意向に反して全市町村別の平均正答率を公表した。 

 全国学力調査の結果公開をめぐる混乱がいっそう広がっている。 

It is the policy of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for prefectures to refrain from releasing a list of the test results for each municipality. It fears that doing so could create an unfair hierarchy in which municipalities are ranked on the basis of the scores. That, it says, could trigger excessive competition among schools and regions. The ministry says it should be up to municipalities to determine whether to release the data, and when doing so, they should announce not just the test results but also steps that may be needed to address the outcome.

 都道府県が市町村別の結果を一覧できる形で公開するのは、序列化や過度の競争を招く恐れがあるので控える。公表するかどうかは市町村が判断し、公表する際は結果だけではなく対策も合わせて明らかにする。これが文科省が決めたルールである。 

In going against the ministry's policy, Terata said, "Basically, all information on public education should be disclosed, except for that regarding personal privacy." He also argued that "valuable information is being monopolized by just a handful of people involved in education."

 これに対し、寺田知事は「公教育はプライバシーを除いて公開が基本」「有益な情報がごく一部の教育関係者に独占されている」などとして公開に踏み切った。 

Terata had repeatedly said in news conferences and on other occasions that he would release the data. However, it seems the actual announcement of the data caught everyone by surprise, not just municipal education boards but even the head of the prefectural board of education.

 寺田知事は、以前から記者会見などで公表の意向を明らかにしていた。とはいえ、突然の発表は各市町村の教育委員会どころか県の教育委員長らにも寝耳に水だったようだ。 

Terata also ignored the intentions of municipalities, which had all planned to withhold the test results. The situation in Akita Prefecture is different from that in Osaka Prefecture, where Governor Toru Hashimoto urges municipal education boards to voluntarily disclose their data.

 しかも、大阪府の橋下知事の場合とは違い、どの市町村も自らは公表しない意向だったにもかかわらず頭越しに強行した。 

We believe that Terata went too far. It is no wonder that more than half of the cities, towns and villages in Akita Prefecture said in reply to an Asahi Shimbun survey that they would reconsider whether to participate in the national achievement test next year.

 このやり方は乱暴にすぎる。朝日新聞の調査に秋田県内の市町村の約半数が、来年度からの参加について見合わせを含め検討する意向を示したのも当然だろう。 

However, we do understand why the governor decided to publicly disclose the test data. It is also natural from a viewpoint of information disclosure. Other local governments may well follow suit. What we find contemptible is the education ministry's dithering in trying to deal with the situation.

 ただ、知事が公表に踏み切った理由そのものについては、同意できないわけではない。情報公開の観点からみても当然だ。追随する自治体が出てくるかも知れない。 

 何よりあきれるのは、この流れに右往左往している文科省の姿である。 

For its part, the ministry says it tried to ensure that reinstating the national achievement tests after a 40-year hiatus would not set off a new round of excessive competition and hierarchy among schools and districts. This was why the ministry discouraged prefectural governments from releasing the results of individual municipalities.

 文科省は、全国学力調査を40年ぶりに復活するにあたって、かつての教訓から過度の競争や序列化を再燃させないように配慮したという。都道府県による市町村別結果の公表をひかえさせたことも、そのためだった。 

Apparently, the ministry had not expected a case like Akita to arise. Yet, the ministry could have expected that the data would have to be released if ever an official request was made for disclosure of the information. It hardly makes any sense for the ministry to prohibit prefectural governments from disclosing the data for each municipality when the ministry itself has made public the results for each prefecture.

 確かに知事が発表するという秋田の例は想定外だったかもしれない。しかし、情報公開請求があれば公開せざるを得ない事態に陥ることは十分に予想されたことだ。文科省が県別の成績は自ら公表しておきながら、都道府県には市町村別の公開を禁じるというのは何とも筋が通らない。 

There was a flaw in the original design. It is too late for education minister Ryu Shionoya to bemoan the mess, which is what he did in a recent Asahi Shimbun interview.

 そもそも制度設計に無理があったのだ。今頃になって文科相に「悩ましい」と嘆かれても困る。 

At this point, we feel that the education ministry should review whether it is worth continuing with the achievement tests at the cost of causing so much confusion.

 ここで考えるべきは、こんな混乱を招きながら調査を続ける必要があるのか、ということだ。 

The ministry began the tests as a means to grasp the nationwide state of students' scholastic prowess as a way to improve instruction methods. Because the ministry dictated that every single child should participate, it costs more than 5 billion yen each year to hold the tests.

 文科省は、学力の状況を全国的に把握し、指導に生かすためとして調査を始めた。全員参加としたため、毎年50億円以上にのぼる予算と膨大な手間がかかる。

Similar data could have been gleaned just as well by sampling surveys.

しかし、そこで得られる結果は抽出調査でも十分可能だ。 

Just think how much could be done to enhance teaching staff and school facilities with the amount of money spent for the nationwide tests.

 この費用があれば、どれだけ教員や学校施設の充実に回せるだろうか。

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