Implications of Summative and Formative Assessment in Japan – A Review of the Current Literature

Jennifer Ngan Bacquet


My personal experience as a teacher in Japan has raised questions about the usefulness of both summative and formative assessment, the possible benefits of non-traditional approaches to classroom instruction, and the influence of assessment measures in the success of Japanese students. For instance, the use of collaborative, inquiry, task or project-based learning in Japanese high schools is nearly non-existent because of the structure of government-led educational standards, which mostly focus on preparing students for university entrance examinations. By critically looking at the latest existing literature on the uses and impact of assessment in Japanese education, this paper aims to further contribute to the discussion on the topic by elucidating possible implications for teachers and researchers who are interested in the context of Japan or similar educational settings. This paper also attempts to look at Japan’s current educational practices and how cultural tradition is woven into the integration of teaching philosophy.


Educational Models, Formative Assessment, Japan, Non-Traditional Education, Summative Assessment

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