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February 26, 2004

Upper or Lower Class English?

The Osaka Municipal Board of Education has announced plans to apply a tiered English class system based on students' abilities. The system is to be implemented for second and third year junior high school students over the next three years, with 60 schools starting from this April. Students will be assigned to one of two tiers for English classes following consultations with teachers. The plan, which also covers Japanese and math classes in elementary and middle schools, will involve the hiring of an additional 120 part-time teachers. It is based on a 2003 survey that showed students roughly divide into two levels of achievement. Classroom improvements were observed when the plan was tested at one primary and one middle school last year.

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