“Explain the history of wine and write the chemical formula of wine fermentation.”
Students might be asked interdisciplinary questions like this when the National Centre Test for University Admission (‘Centre Test’) will be replaced by new one in 3 years.
The Centre Test, a set of multiple-choice style examination, has taken place once a year since 1979 for the purpose of measuring students’ academic performance. Applicants have to take 3 to 7 subjects including English, mathematics and Japanese etc. The Centre Test aims to assess students’ basic academic performance, which has led the schools to place emphasis on the importance of acquiring knowledge. In response to growing demands for people who can compete in globalizing world, however, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and English (MEXT) is trying to make a shift, laying more emphasis on problem solving skills, discussion skills, critical and logical thinking, and a good command of English. Therefore, MEXT has recently considered the abolition of the Centre Test and designing a new examination.
On the other hand, some people express concerns about the change. A teacher at a private secondary school is worried if the government provides enough time for them because the details of a new scheme is still unannounced. They hope that the MEXT will decide on the details and inform the teachers and schools of their conclusions as soon as possible so that they would prepare themselves to make a new curriculum.
Still, others are optimistic about the Centre Text. “It is true that there have already been many strategies and tips to get high scores in the Centre Test but the test still plays good roles in measuring student’s academic performance” said Naohiko Adachi, a study adviser at TOEFL Seminar, which is a cram school for university admissions and study abroad.
He also said this “Since Japan is poor in natural resources, it needs to create good human resources”. He said passionately he hoped that the Centre Test would be replaced with a new one that would help cultivate human resources.
More than 500,000 students take the Centre Test every year. No wonder it will transform itself according to social needs. Teachers and student are anxiously waiting for how the examination would change.
Written by Yoshiyuki Shimizu, Satoshi Machida
Edited by Rinpei Aoki, Erika Wakabayashi