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2013年11月 2日 (土)

大学入試改革 人材の発掘・育成に繋がるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun November 2, 2013
Planned college entrance exam reform must help nurture promising youths
大学入試改革 人材の発掘・育成に繋がるか(11月1日付・読売社説)

A drastic reform of college and university entrance examinations will certainly be a costly undertaking. An envisioned entrance exam overhaul should be carefully scrutinized over whether it will deliver any real benefit.

A government panel, the Education Rebuilding Implementation Council, has worked out proposals for exam reform.

The proposals focus on changing the current entrance exam system, known as the national center test and given by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, with two achievement tests of differing difficulty, to be called “basic” and “advanced” exams. The national center test has been in place since 1990.

The basic exam will gauge high school students’ basic scholastic abilities. The panel wants universities to consider the results of the basic test for recommendation-based admissions and for admission office (AO) exams, which include interviews and other criteria.

Many people have pointed out increases in the number of university admissions based on recommendations or AO exams have led to waning motivation among high school students to study and a decline in academic performance.

If the envisaged entrance exam reform encourages high school students to study and leads to enhanced academic abilities, the reform will be worthwhile.

The advanced examination is aimed at assessing academic abilities necessary to enter university.

Unlike the national center test, the planned exams will categorize test takers based on a rough stage assessment, classifying them into groups based on score levels, rather than highlighting every single point of difference, a system currently used.

Individual universities will consider these test results and conduct their own screening, including having applicants write essays and engage in group discussions under given themes, while also taking into account their high school extracurricular activities, according to the panel proposals.

Effectiveness uncertain

Another proposal introduces the idea of having professionals from the business world interview applicants.

The conventional mode of judging applicants solely by scores on written exams has been criticized for having overly emphasized academic abilities and failing to evaluate applicants’ eagerness to learn and potential creativity.

During a time of extreme change, university education must help nurture human resources with flexible thinking and problem-solving abilities.

It can therefore be said to be sufficiently meaningful to study ways of changing the assessment of applicants from comprehensive and multiple points of view.

There are, however, many problems to address before employing new assessment methods.

The applicant selection process would require far more time and effort as well as manpower than the current system. Could large universities cope with a large number of applicants?

Given that a clear evaluation yardstick in the form of test scores would be lost in the advanced exam, applicants may complain over the impartiality in applicant selection.

The planned tests would presumably be conducted multiple times. The tests, if conducted around autumn of the third year of high school, could have an adverse effect on ordinary classwork and school events.

What is of greatest concern is whether the introduction of advanced exams could really lead to fostering human resources with real potential. The Central Council for Education, an advisory panel to the education minister, must have in-depth discussions on this.

Many universities in Japan have been falling short of conducting strict academic evaluations of students for their advancement and graduation.

The circumstances under which students, once admitted, can graduate fairly easily have hardly changed.

In addition to entrance exam reform, drastically strengthening university education as a whole must be addressed.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 1, 2013)
(2013年11月1日01時45分  読売新聞)


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