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June 16, 2004

Students Lacking Communicative Skills

The Tokyo metropolitan board of education has released the results of its latest test of academic ability (gakuryoku). The English test taken by second year junior high school students showed high results in most areas - listening, reading and writing scores were all around 70%, and the overall average was 76.1%. However, when it came to communicative ability, the scores dropped drastically. For example, questions where students were asked to create a sentence using four words from a list of seven had the lowest level of student understanding and only 46.3% percent got correct answers. The results indicate a need to move away from simple writing exercises to activities where students write more expressively, based on understanding and analysis. When asked what helped their studies, students gave such replies as: "I attend cram school or study at home", "I'm taught by an ALT" or "The teacher teaches efficiently." The test was taken in February by 72,466 8th-grade students at 652 public schools. The next test, which will also include 5th graders, is scheduled for January 18, 2005.
Report (Japanese)

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