Three prefectures again rank highest in national achievement test this year

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) announced the result of its National Academic Ability Survey (National Achievement Test) for fiscal 2017 on August 28. The annual test covers elementary and junior high school students all over the nation. In terms of the average rate of correct answers, Akita, Ishikawa and Fukui prefecture ranked among top three again this year as in the past.



The national test was changed in fiscal 2007 to a system requiring all students to answer the same questions after Japan’s ranking sharply dropped in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international achievement test. The reformed test, which covers all sixth graders of elementary schools and third graders of junior high schools, was conducted on April 18 this year. Those who sat for the test were approximately 1.01 million from 19,645 elementary schools and about 1.02 million from 9,982 junior high schools. They were required to answer questions in two categories: knowledge (A) and application (B).



Both elementary and junior high school students from certain prefectures constantly keep better scores every year. They are from Akita, Ishikawa and Fukui prefectures. In this year’s test, Akita again ranked top in Japanese language A and B for both elementary and junior high schools. Ishikawa came out top in both Japanese language B and mathematics A and B for elementary schools and in Japanese language A for junior high schools. Fukui took the highest score in both Japanese language A and mathematics A and B for junior high schools. What efforts do the schools in those prefectures make to keep their good performances?



Akita has been promoting a small-group instruction system featuring smaller classes and team teaching since 2001, even before the start-up of the national achievement test. Moreover, it has been conducting its own “learning survey” since 2002. Ishikawa, in collaboration with Kanazawa University, launched a research system to tally and analyze test results after receiving the results of the national achievement tests for the three years from 2007 to 2009. Furthermore, the prefecture has been improving the learning environment and its quality by establishing what it calls “12 Articles on Learning + (plus)” aimed to enhance the students’ level of academic ability.



Fukui has analyzed the results from the annual national achievement tests and compiled a collection of cases clarifying teaching methods with a view to identifying the questions for which the rates of correct answers were particularly lower in the past.



What is common to the three prefectures is that they all analyze the results of the national achievement tests and their own academic ability surveys, find and sort out all relevant problems, set up definite goals and feed teaching methods back to the schools and teachers.



According to the August 28 edition of the Sankei Shimbun, Professor Fumio Imai of Tokyo Gakugei University’s Graduate School of Education, commented on this year’s test results, “Schools now make it a rule to examine and utilize the outcome of the national tests and some prefectures produce good results by learning the teaching methods adopted by higher-ranking prefectures.” What is clear from his remarks is that education to enhance the students’ academic ability needs to be based on their learning conditions and tendency. Many prefectures may learn much from the methods employed by Akita, Ishikawa and Fukui prefectures.

8月28日付の産経新聞によると、東京学芸大教職大学院の今井文男特命教授は、今回の調査結果を受けて「学校現場では調査結果を検討、活用することが定着し、上位県に指導方法を学ぶことで成果を上げた県もある」と述べている。この発言からもうかがえるように、学力向上のためには児童・生徒の学習状況・傾向を踏まえた教育が必要であり、多くの都道府県で上位の県の学習法を参考にしてもらいたいと思う。(Written by: Yuto Yawata)(八幡 侑斗)


メールアドレスが公開されることはありません。 * が付いている欄は必須項目です