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Open Access Comparison of the Big Tests’ Origins in Japan and the United States: The Characteristics of the “Elementary School Examination” of the Early Meiji Era

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Comparison of the Big Tests’ Origins in Japan and the United States: The Characteristics of the “Elementary School Examination” of the Early Meiji Era

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

It is known that Japanese elementary school examination was developed in the early Meiji era, around the 1870–80s, under the influences of the American school examination. But little has been known about the similarities or the differences of those examinations in both countries hitherto.Close investigation uncovered that early Meiji examination inherits many tools from the samurais’ examination of the feudal ages, e.g. the examination hall’s layout, preparation procedure, and the format for questioning, scoring, marking, and reporting. And those Japanese examinations were mainly given to encourage prudent learners as opposed to making selections, promotions, accreditations, or any other high-stakes decisions.Even Japanese, following the Meiji era, had imported “the purpose of testing” to make such significant decisions, the Japanese had not changed their manners of handling examinations in a true sense. This could lead to examinations in Japanese schools functioning differently from the “intended” purpose of the examination.

Affiliations: 1: National Institute for Educational Policy Research of JapanKasumigaseki 3-2-2, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8951Japansoubun@white.plala.or.jp

It is known that Japanese elementary school examination was developed in the early Meiji era, around the 1870–80s, under the influences of the American school examination. But little has been known about the similarities or the differences of those examinations in both countries hitherto.Close investigation uncovered that early Meiji examination inherits many tools from the samurais’ examination of the feudal ages, e.g. the examination hall’s layout, preparation procedure, and the format for questioning, scoring, marking, and reporting. And those Japanese examinations were mainly given to encourage prudent learners as opposed to making selections, promotions, accreditations, or any other high-stakes decisions.Even Japanese, following the Meiji era, had imported “the purpose of testing” to make such significant decisions, the Japanese had not changed their manners of handling examinations in a true sense. This could lead to examinations in Japanese schools functioning differently from the “intended” purpose of the examination.

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2015-04-29
2018-04-21

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