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August 29, 2009

The DPJ may cut back on the national achievement test

DPJ.jpegIf elected, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) may cut back on the national achievement test. At present, all students in the 6th grade of elementary school and 3rd grade of junior high school take the achievement test at a cost of about 6 billion yen a year. Many DPJ members are suggesting that a sample group of students could be used to assess nationwide trends at a much lower cost. This proposal has caused a lot of consternation in the Ministry of Education.

The test was introduced in 2007 in response to concern over the apparent deterioration in academic skills since the school week was shortened from 6 days to 5 days and textbook content was greatly reduced in 20002.

The test has been criticized by those who oppose encouraging an overcompetitive attitude among students and between schools. In the early 1960's, when national achievement tests were last introduced, they had to be stopped after three years mainly because of opposition from teachers and unions.

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