Will College Entrance Exams Change in Japan?

In Japan, the college entrance exam is the main, and perhaps only, criteria for entering a good school. This year, a record number of students took the exam.

The exam, however, will change to address criticisms that it does not take into account thinking ability; rather, the ability to to remember information is much more important than the ability to use that information. In English, this can lead to students being able to understand written English but being unable to speak it.

The test is schedule to involve more interviews, essays, and group debates, which will be extremely difficult to judge, administer, and create. Critics argue that this will be impossible, and the test will still be ineffective in predicting future performance.

Still, it is difficult for any society to easily measure variations in human intelligence without a standardized test of some sort. The college entrance exam surely needs to change, but it also should be less important than it currently is. Simply because one can pass a test does not mean that they will continue to work hard in college–many students have pointed out that the difference between the American and Japanese systems is that in Japan, entrance exams are hard, but graduating becomes rather easy. However, in the US, entering colleges is easy, but graduating is very hard. Which society produces more successful people?

Source: College entrance exams fail to make the grade | The Japan Times.

Image: Xavi