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High Stakes Schooling: Japan's Experiences with Testing, Accountability & Education Reform

Global Education Colloquium

June 7, 2016
Christopher Bjork, Vassar College

In this presentation, Dr. Christopher Bjork will describe and analyze the factors that led a nation celebrated for academic excellence to de-emphasize testing.  Focusing on a set of reforms collectively known as relaxed education (yutori kyoki), he will scrutinize recent efforts by the Ministry of Education to alter curriculum, instruction, and contexts for learning.  Drawing from his experiences in Japanese schools, he will explore a variety of questions related to testing and reform: Does testing overburden students? Can a system anchored by examinations be reshaped to nurture creativity and curiosity? What role do teachers play in implementing reforms? He will address these questions with careful attention to the actual effects of reform initiatives introduced in Japan and other Asian settings, and draw parallels to issues that schools in the US currently face.

About the Speaker

Dr. Christopher Bjork is professor and the Dexter M. Ferry Chair of Education at Vassar College.  He is the author of Indonesian Education and editor or co-editor of many other books, including Education and Training in Japan, Educational Decentralization, Taking Teaching Seriously, and Japanese Education in an Era of Globalization.