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Japanese students apparently steer clear of America due to TOEFL

  • July 18, 2022
  • , Shukan Toyo Keizai
  • JMH Summary

Toyo Keizai Online reprinted a research paper published in mid-June by Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute delving into the continued decline in the number of Japanese students studying in the United States over the past two decades, focusing on the extremely sharp drop between FY2007 and FY2010. The number of Japanese students in the United States plummeted from 34,000 to 21,300 during this period. The decline was particularly steep among students seeking college degrees, with the number of Japanese undergraduates dropping from some 20,900 to 10,600. Research fellow Kamimura Reona, who wrote the report, surmised that the introduction of a new TOEFL test in 2006 was a more significant factor than the surge in tuition and living expenses in Japanese students’ decisions to forgo studying in the United States. He reasoned that some Japanese students were probably discouraged because the new TOEFL iBT measures applicants’ speaking ability in addition to listening, reading, and writing. As Japanese typically regard speaking as more challenging than the three other skills in mastering English or other foreign languages, the scholar claimed that some Japanese students probably decided against pursuing their studies in America based on the assessment that achieving high scores under the new format would be very difficult. 

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