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Private test scores could be 20% of total English univ. entrance exam mark

Questions from a trial of an English test, set to be introduced as part of a new standardized university entrance exam, are seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on March 14, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The national university association is set to propose that scores achieved in English proficiency exams prepared by private educational companies, which will be introduced as part of a new standardized university entrance examination in the academic year of 2020, be at least 20 percent of the total English mark, sources close to the organization said.

The Japan Association of National Universities (JANU) is expected to approve the proposal at a general meeting to be held on June 12. However, the association regards its proposal as just a reference, and a decision on whether to follow the proposal will be left up to the discretion of each member university, according to the sources.

JANU decided in November 2017 to use a variety of private English examinations to gauge applicants' reading, listening comprehension, writing and speaking abilities. These will be used in addition to a common English examination for the standardized university entrance examination from the academic year of 2020 to 2023.

The organization has discussed how to utilize private English proficiency and qualification examinations in the standardized entrance examination. The discussions have been based on guidelines that JANU unveiled this past March, which proposed to allow applicants to submit the results of private examinations only if their scores reach certain levels, add applicants' marks of private tests to those of the common English exam, or use both methods.

Specifically, JANU has proposed to allow applicants to submit the outcome of their private English examinations on condition that their scores are equivalent to at least the A2 English level, the second lowest set under the 6-scale Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Scores achieved in private proficiency and qualification examinations would make up at least 20 percent of the total English score in the entire entrance examination.

Each member university will announce their respective English entrance exam policy for academic 2020 by around July this year. However, some have raised questions about JANU's proposal to allow only applicants who have achieved certain scores to submit their private test results, as well as the method of adding private test scores to the standard entrance examination.

(Japanese original by Sooryeon Kim, City News Department)

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