Excerpts from an open letter to the Japanese government
Tim Murphey (Nanzan University)
The Japanese government has made great strides to create a more representative democracy through directly asking the people to express their views through a variety of panels. Recently the Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Education asked the general public asked the following questions in reference to educational reforms:
[ p. 5 ]
As in all interfaces of public transaction with institutions, the utilitarian assumption of best practice prevails. Members of society assume that banks, corporations, and hospitals conduct their business professionally and ethically. Entrance examinations, in their dual role as income-generators for universities and as edumetric instruments, are no exception to the best practice assumption. In order to ensure stakeholders' ongoing trust in institutional fairness and equal access, entrance examination policy needs to be firmly anchored in measurement practices that are rational, technically sound, justifiable, and concordant with the highest standards. Nothing short of such a policy should be considered ethical.Merely telling teachers to teach more communicatively (as with the 1993 OC-ABC Curriculum) without changing the exams has not worked. Now the Center Exam is adding listening and other universities will follow in their footsteps I believe. The same process can happen with "assessment literacy." When the Center Exams start reporting their reliability and validity, then so will the other universities. When the Ministry of Education "walks their talk" and demonstrates what they want others to do, things will change more quickly.
[ p. 6 ]At one university I know of, they did test their tests and they found the listening portion discriminated twice as well as the grammar/vocabulary (on the one test that had listening). However, they refused for financial reasons to add listening to their other exams. Hopefully the Incremental Plan mentioned in Proposal #1 could alleviate this fear of financial loss.