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EDUCATION > English Language

Private sector tests to be used to gauge English proficiency of university applicants

  • August 20, 2016
  • , Yomiuri , p. 34
  • Translation

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has drafted a plan to use private sector tests to gauge “speaking” ability in the “aptitude test for university applicants” (tentative name) that will replace the current test administered by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations from School Year 2020.


The current National Center test assesses only “reading” and “listening” abilities with a computerized answer sheet and a listening test. The new test will also evaluate “writing” and “speaking” abilities. For now, MEXT plans to allow universities to decide whether to use private sector tests for the “speaking” ability part only or for all four abilities, but will transition to using private sector tests completely in the future.


The new test will accept results of private sector tests taken by December of the third year in senior high school. At present, the listening tests often used for the evaluation of students applying to study in universities in the U.S. and other countries are TOEFL and Benesse Corporation’s test for high school students. These are done by speaking to a computer or a tablet device. (Abridged)

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