Japan Data

Japan Reports Results of First National Achievement Test for School Students for Two Years

Society Education

Junior high school scores declined compared with 2019, but elementary school results improved slightly.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology has released the results of its 2021 national achievement test for all Japanese students in the final year of elementary and junior high school. The average percentages of correct answers on the test for Japanese and math, respectively, were 64.9% and 70.3% among sixth graders and 64.9% and 57.5% among third-year junior high students, revealing overall issues with the ability to apply knowledge and data. By prefecture, students in Akita, Fukui, and Ishikawa scored the highest on average.

The test was conducted on March 27, and was held for the first time in two years due to the pandemic-related cancellation of last year’s test. It was administered to 1,060,371 elementary and 1,092,580 junior high students. This was the first time for elementary school students to be asked questions based on new curriculum guidelines.

One item on the questionnaire that accompanied the test asked students to respond to the statement that the temporary school closures in the spring of 2020 amid the pandemic caused them to experience anxiety about their studies. A total of 55.0% of sixth graders and 62.5% of third-year junior high students said the statement was either “applicable” or “somewhat applicable.”

Questionnaire on Impact of Temporary School Closures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Statement 1: Experienced anxiety during school closure

Elementary school Junior high school
Yes 29.7 34.4
Somewhat 25.3 28.1
Not really 16.1 16.2
No 21.8 15.7
Don’t recall 6.9 5.4

Statement 2: Was able to follow study plan during school closure

Elementary school Junior high school
Yes 29.9 11.4
Somewhat 34.8 26.3
Not really 20.8 33.4
No 9.1 22.4
Don’t recall 5.3 6.3

Statement 3: Kept a regular daily schedule during school closure

Elementary school Junior high school
Yes 31.5 21.9
Somewhat 31.5 26.5
Not really 20.4 24.7
No 11.3 21.0
Don’t recall 5.2 5.7

Compiled by Nippon.com based on data from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.

Results from the speaking and listening section on the Japanese test for elementary school showed that students were able to understand the purpose of data and information and to use or discuss those materials according to the given objective, but they struggled to make connections between text and diagrams or charts to locate and read necessary information pertaining to the given aim.

The Japanese section results for junior high students revealed that they were able to read texts, consider the thoughts and actions of characters that appeared in them, and understand the content, but they had problems understanding the views and ideas expressed in the texts and forming their own ideas. They also lacked the ability to use honorific expressions appropriately depending on the person or situation.

The results on the math section among elementary school children showed that there was room for improvement in the area of applying data, for which the average score was 52.2%. This area included items where students had to compare and express the characteristics of multiple data in bar graphs and describe the differences.

The math results for junior high school students revealed problems in understanding how to find the area of a triangle and showing how to find the area of a parallelogram that combines isosceles triangles.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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