New unified exam system guidelines announced

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry on Thursday announced guidelines for the country’s new unified examination system for university entrance that will begin in fiscal 2020.

According to the guidelines, open questions will be introduced for the Japanese-language and mathematics tests.

For English, tests administered by private-sector organizations to evaluate examinees’ reading, writing, listening and speaking skills will be utilized.

The current multiple-choice English test by the government-affiliated National Center for University Entrance Examinations that assesses examinees’ reading and listening skills will also be used until fiscal 2023.

Universities will be allowed to use either or both of the private and existing tests during the four-year transition period.

The government-affiliated center will certify private-sector English tests meeting certain criteria from among such candidates as the Test in Practical English Proficiency, known as Eiken, and the Test of English for International Communication, or TOEIC.

Examinees will be allowed to take such English tests up to twice, between April and December in their third year at high schools.

The center will provide universities with examinees’ test results and English levels based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or CEFR, an international standard for grading language ability.

From fiscal 2017, Japan will conduct pretests under the new format covering 50,000 to 100,000 high school students. The ministry is scheduled to set details of the new unified examination system in fiscal 2019.

From fiscal 2020, universities will be obliged to evaluate academic skills of examinees taking admissions policy- and recommendations-based entrance examinations that assess examinees mainly by holding interviews and examining their essays.Speech

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