|Kenji Ohtomo is a professor at Tokiwa University's College of Applied International Studies and a professor emeritus at the University of Tsukuba. A founding member and honorary president of the Japan Language Testing Association, Prof. Ohtomo is also on the board of directors for the Japan Association for Research on Testing and the editorial advisory board of Language Testing. After graduating from Tohoku Gakuin University in 1956, he taught junior high school English for half a decade, then worked for the English Language Education Council (ELEC). After studying at Georgetown University, he taught at Kanagawa University and then conducted research at the University of California at Los Angeles as a visiting scholar. In 1983 he became a professor at the University of Tsukuba and in 1996 joined the faculty of Tokiwa University. This interview was conducted by email in November 2003.|
[ p. 12 ]I was involved in this approach and tried to foster its use throughout Japan. Some questions occurred, however. We had adopted this approach believing it was the best. My question was, "How can we know whether it is actually the best approach?" It was this question that led me into the world of language testing. I thought we had to measure the language ability of students being taught by this new approach. If we could verify that the proficiency of students taught with this approach was greater than that of those who learned through other approaches, the benefit of the approach would be recognized. At that time Professor Robert Lado, who was perhaps one of the best scholars in the field of language testing, moved to Georgetown University. I therefore decided to study language testing at Georgetown University under his guidance in 1965-66.
|"For a long time, the practice of language testing in Japan could be characterized by what Bernard Spolsky has called the "pre-scientific period" in language testing history."|
[ p. 13 ]The third breakthrough came at the International Meeting of the Psychometric Society in July 2001 in Osaka. More than 300 participants from 19 countries gathered to discuss recent developments in the theory and application of psychometrics. The proceedings, edited by Haruo Yanai et. al., was published by Springer-Verlag in 2003. It includes papers on methods in psychometrics such as Structural Equation Modeling and IRT.
[ p. 14 ]Do you feel teacher training programs in Japan today are providing teachers with a sufficient basic knowledge of testing principles?
|"we need more professors who are qualified to teach language testing at university levels. Unless we have enough specialists in our universities, we cannot increase the number of teachers who are up-to-date on testing theory and practice."|
[ p. 15 ]Works Cited