- 1 American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math
- 1.0.1 Socio-Economic Class Plays a Larger Role in the U.S. Than in Other Countries
- 1.0.2 North Korea's Nuclear Test: What We Know and Don't Know
- 1.0.3 Will People Return to Houston After Hurricane Harvey?
- 1.0.4 Genetic Testing Is Recreating Bonds Broken by Slavery
- 1.0.5 Are there any special qualifications needed to take the JLPT?
- 1.0.6 Can elementary school or junior high school students take the JLPT?
- 1.0.7 Can I apply to take only some sections instead of all sections?
- 1.0.8 At the time of registration, I will not be in the country/area where I want to take the test. What should I do?
- 1.0.9 Do all examinees take the same test and their level determined based on their scores?
- 1.0.10 When the JLPT was revised in 2010, the form of test items was changed or newly added. How were current test levels matched with old test levels?
- 1.0.11 I passed Level 3 in the old test. Which test level should I take with the current test?
- 1.0.12 I heard that N4 of the current test is basically the same level as Level 3 of the old test. In what ways are they the same?
- 1.0.13 I heard that N1 of the new test is a little more advanced than Level 1 of the old test. Does this mean N1 is harder to pass than Level 1 of the old test?
- 1.0.14 Does the JLPT include a conversation or composition test?
- 1.0.15 Why is the test section "Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar)гѓ»Reading" for N1 and N2 divided into two sections -- "Language Knowledge (Vocabulary)" and "Language Knowledge (Grammar)гѓ»Reading" -- for N3, N4 and N5?
- 1.0.16 The last question in "Listening" for N1 and N2 has a note saying, "гЃ“гЃ® е•ЏйЎЊ пј€ г‚‚г‚“гЃ гЃ„ пј‰ гЃ«гЃЇ з·ґзї’ пј€ г‚Њг‚“гЃ—г‚…гЃ† пј‰ гЃЇгЃ‚г‚ЉгЃѕгЃ›г‚“гЂ‚(No practice available for this question.)" What does this mean?
- 1.0.17 Does the JLPT include questions that require cultural knowledge of Japan?
- 1.0.18 Why is "Test Content Specifications" no longer available after the 2010 revision of the JLPT?
- 1.0.19 Can I listen to audio of listening comprehension question examples?
American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math
What the latest results of an international test tell us about the state of education in the United States
Joerg Sarbach/AP Photo
The U.S. education system is mediocre compared to the rest of the world, according to an international ranking of OECD countries.
More than half a million 15-year-olds around the world took the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012. The test, which is administered every three years and focuses largely on math, but includes minor sections in science and reading, is often used as a snapshot of the global state of education. The results, published today, show the U.S. trailing behind educational powerhouses like Korea and Finland.
Not much has changed since 2000, when the U.S. scored along the OECD average in every subject: This year, the U.S. scores below average in math and ranks 17th among the 34 OECD countries. It scores close to the OECD average in science and reading and ranks 21st in science and 17th in reading.
Here are some other takeaways from the report:
The U.S. scored below the PISA math mean and ranks 26th out of the 34 OECD countries. The U.S. math score is not statistically different than the following countries: Norway, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Lithuania, Sweden, and Hungary.
On average, 13 percent of students scored at the highest or second highest level on the PISA test, making them “top performers.” Fifty-five percent of students in Shanghai-China were considered top performers, while only nine percent of American students were.
One in four U.S. students did not reach the PISA baseline level 2 of mathematics proficiency. At this level, “students begin to demonstrate the skills that will enable them to participate effectively and productively in life,” according to the PISA report.
Even the top students in the United States are behind: This year, the PISA report offered regional scores for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida. Massachusetts, which is a high-achieving U.S. state and which averaged above the national PISA score, is still two years of formal schooling behind Shanghai.
The U.S. ranks fifth in spending per student. Only Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland spend more per student. To put this in context: the Slovak Republic, which scores similarly to the U.S., spends $53,000 per student. The U.S. spends $115,000. The PISA report notes that, among OECD countries, “higher expenditure on education is not highly predictive of better mathematics scores in PISA.”
Socio-Economic Class Plays a Larger Role in the U.S. Than in Other Countries
Fifteen percent of the American score variation is explained by socio-economic differences between students. Less than 10 percent of score variation in Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, and Norway is due to socio-economic differences.
The U.S. also has a lower than average number of “resilient students,” which PISA defines as “students who are among the 25 percent most socio-economically disadvantaged students but perform much better than would be predicted by their socio-economic class.” On average, seven percent of students are considered resilient. Thirteen percent of of students in Korea, Hong Kong, Macao-China, Shanghai-China, Singapore, and Vietnam are “resilient.”
Parts of China, Singapore, Japan, Korea, and Liechtenstein topped the rankings for math, reading, and science. Finland, which is often pointed to as an example of an excellent school system, continued to perform well. However, the country dropped 2.8 points in math, 1.7 points in reading, and three points in science in “annualized changes in score points,” which are the “average annual change in PISA score points since the country’s earliest participation in PISA.”
The biggest annualized score improvements came from Brazil, Tunisia, Mexico, Turkey, and Portugal. Italy, Poland, and Germany also showed gains since 2003.
Click for larger image of chart
How seriously should we take these dismal findings? Educators around the world have called for tempered reactions to the PISA scores and questioned the usefulness of the tests. Nevertheless, this year’s report—and the United States’ poor math results—may be worth paying attention to for at least one reason. A 2011 study found that PISA scores are an economic indicator: rising scores are a good sign that a country’s economy will grow as well.
The Lawyer and Gold Star father believes that Americans should look to its oldest documents for guidance.
- Jasu Hu
More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.
O ne day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”
Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”
There are no good options. But some are worse than others.
T hirty minutes. That’s about how long it would take a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched from North Korea to reach Los Angeles. With the powers in Pyongyang working doggedly toward making this possible—building an ICBM and shrinking a nuke to fit on it—analysts now predict that Kim Jong Un will have the capability before Donald Trump completes one four-year term.
About which the president has tweeted, simply, “It won’t happen!”
Though given to reckless oaths, Trump is not in this case saying anything that departs significantly from the past half century of futile American policy toward North Korea. Preventing the Kim dynasty from having a nuclear device was an American priority long before Pyongyang exploded its first nuke, in 2006, during the administration of George W. Bush. The Kim regime detonated four more while Barack Obama was in the White House. In the more than four decades since Richard Nixon held office, the U.S. has tried to control North Korea by issuing threats, conducting military exercises, ratcheting up diplomatic sanctions, leaning on China, and most recently, it seems likely, committing cybersabotage.
Why the science of healthy eating appears confusing—but isn’t
If you’ve ever been on the internet, you’ve noticed that some things are popular, and other things aren’t. The popular ones have something in common. It’s not quality, or importance, or accuracy, but novelty.
An example of this is Moby-Dick. It’s a timeless novel by an acclaimed writer, and most people haven’t read it. The complete text is free on the internet. You could be reading it right now. But are you? And how many of your Facebook friends shared Moby-Dick today? Probably not more than one or two.
Obsession with novelty has been called “neophilia.” The term was used as early as 1965 in a story by J.D. Salinger, who was apparently wary of it. But being attracted to novelty doesn’t necessarily mean readers are dumb or attention-deficient. To some degree, novelty-seeking is evolutionarily adaptive and associated with good health.
The country has conducted its sixth nuclear test. Is Donald Trump committing deterrence malpractice?
President Trump is establishing a reputation for himself at the Threatener-in-Chief. Trump has said that if Congress won’t fund his border wall, he will shut down the federal government—a threat he quickly backpedaled. He has declared his own finances a “redline” in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, vaguely threatening to fire him, or Attorney General Jeff Sessions, if the investigation gets too personal. And then there’s North Korea. As Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Gulf Coast, 6,000 miles away, Kim Jong Un sent a ballistic missile flying right over Japan, America’s treaty ally, and followed that up with its sixth nuclear test. It was a slap in the face to both the president and his secretary of state, who had publicly praised North Korea for its “restraint” just days before. And it was a stark reminder that the North Korean nuclear problem is nowhere close to blowing over.
Was the white-nationalist march better understood as a departure from America’s traditional values, or viewed in the context of its history?
Broad swaths of the American public repudiated the white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville and President Trump’s response to them. But even in their condemnations, many officials asserted that the hate-filled demonstration and racist violence was un-American. “This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for,” tweeted Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. “The hate being spewed in Virginia is … deeply disturbing and un-American,” wrote Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. The hashtag #ThisIsNotUs trended on Twitter.
But America is a country in which racially motivated white-on-black violent crime forms a clear, unbroken pattern across every generation. Slaves arrived in America through violent crime, and whites have used violence ever since to maintain the racial hierarchy of white supremacy. And yet many Americans of good will honestly, if erroneously, believe that what happened in Charlottesville is “not us.” How can this be? Answering this question demands a look back at some of the most significant patterns of white-on-black violence in American history to identify the precise ways in which that violence was justified, forgotten, or defined as something other than the racist terror that it was.
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.
When did America become untethered from reality?
I first noticed our national lurch toward fantasy in 2004, after President George W. Bush’s political mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the remarkable phrase reality-based community. People in “the reality-based community,” he told a reporter, “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality … That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” A year later, The Colbert Report went on the air. In the first few minutes of the first episode, Stephen Colbert, playing his right-wing-populist commentator character, performed a feature called “The Word.” His first selection: truthiness. “Now, I’m sure some of the ‘word police,’ the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s not a word!’ Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books.
In the fall of 1958 Theodore Kaczynski, a brilliant but vulnerable boy of sixteen, entered Harvard College. There he encountered a prevailing intellectual atmosphere of anti-technological despair. There, also, he was deceived into subjecting himself to a series of purposely brutalizing psychological experiments—experiments that may have confirmed his still-forming belief in the evil of science. Was the Unabomber born at Harvard? A look inside the files
Like many Harvard alumni, I sometimes wander the neighborhood when I return to Cambridge, reminiscing about the old days and musing on how different my life has been from what I hoped and expected then. On a trip there last fall I found myself a few blocks north of Harvard Yard, on Divinity Avenue. Near the end of this dead-end street sits the Peabody Museum—a giant Victorian structure attached to the Botanical Museum, where my mother had taken me as a young boy, in 1943, to view the spectacular exhibit of glass flowers. These left such a vivid impression that a decade later my recollection of them inspired me, then a senior in high school, to apply to Harvard.
This time my return was prompted not by nostalgia but by curiosity. No. 7 Divinity Avenue is a modern multi-story academic building today, housing the university’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. In 1959 a comfortable old house stood on the site. Known as the Annex, it served as a laboratory in which staff members of the Department of Social Relations conducted research on human subjects. There, from the fall of 1959 through the spring of 1962, Harvard psychologists, led by Henry A. Murray, conducted a disturbing and what would now be seen as ethically indefensible experiment on twenty-two undergraduates. To preserve the anonymity of these student guinea pigs, experimenters referred to individuals by code name only. One of these students, whom they dubbed “Lawful,” was Theodore John Kaczynski, who would one day be known as the Unabomber, and who would later mail or deliver sixteen package bombs to scientists, academicians, and others over seventeen years, killing three people and injuring twenty-three.
But we’re better off believing in it anyway.
F or centuries , philosophers and theologians have almost unanimously held that civilization as we know it depends on a widespread belief in free will—and that losing this belief could be calamitous. Our codes of ethics, for example, assume that we can freely choose between right and wrong. In the Christian tradition, this is known as “moral liberty”—the capacity to discern and pursue the good, instead of merely being compelled by appetites and desires. The great Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant reaffirmed this link between freedom and goodness. If we are not free to choose, he argued, then it would make no sense to say we ought to choose the path of righteousness.
Today, the assumption of free will runs through every aspect of American politics, from welfare provision to criminal law. It permeates the popular culture and underpins the American dream—the belief that anyone can make something of themselves no matter what their start in life. As Barack Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope, American “values are rooted in a basic optimism about life and a faith in free will.”
North Korea's Nuclear Test: What We Know and Don't Know
Preliminary data suggest the test is the most powerful conducted by Kim Jong Un’s regime.
North Korea said it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be fitted onto a long-range missile. The test, its first of this kind since September 2016, is in defiance of international sanctions and pressure from the United States, China, North Korea’s main political benefactor, and others. In that time, North Korea has also tested multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching U.S. shores and medium-range missiles capable of striking its neighbors.
The test, a major escalation in the North’s recent belligerent actions, came at the end of a dramatic summer of threats lobbed back and forth between Pyongyang and Washington. Last month Japanese defense officials said North Korea had likely miniaturized a nuclear warhead that could be fitted onto an ICBM capable of reaching America. The revelation led to President Donald Trump declaring the U.S. would react with “fire and fury” if the North threatened it. On Sunday morning, he said the North’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” and that it was a “rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”
Will People Return to Houston After Hurricane Harvey?
How past natural disasters have impacted migration patterns
Even when the water is gone, Houston will not be as it was.
Residents who fled their homes to escape Hurricane Harvey will return find their cars junked, their houses full of mold, their furniture destroyed. And they’ll have a visceral, first-hand experience of just how bad it can get when Houston floods.
Natural disasters are many things, and they can be an impetus for people to move. Leah Boustan, an economist at Princeton—along with her colleagues Matthew Kahn, Paul Rhode, and Maria Lucia Yanguas—have tracked migration after 5,000 natural disasters in the United States between 1920 and 2010. I spoke to her about what to expect after Houston recovers from Hurricane Harvey.
A transcript of our conversation, condensed and edited for clarity, is below.
From a moral standpoint, it makes the world worse.
Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks to PBS NewsHour about Obama’s childhood, his legacy, and how he connected with the American people.
Genetic Testing Is Recreating Bonds Broken by Slavery
Alondra Nelson discusses how ancestry tests can empower African Americans.
FAQ regarding the JLPT are listed here.
Please also check here for the JLPT administered in Japan.
If you do not find the information you need or your question is not answered, please inquire from here.
The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test is held in Japan and abroad to evaluate and certify Japanese-language proficiency of non-native speakers.
Are there any special qualifications needed to take the JLPT?
The JLPT is open to all non-native Japanese speakers.
Can elementary school or junior high school students take the JLPT?
Yes, they can. There are no age restrictions for the JLPT.
Yes, you can. We make special testing accommodations for examinees with disabilities. Please inquire at the institution conducting the test in the country/area where you plan to take it. Those who would like to make special testing accommodations need to submit " Request Form for Special Testing Accommodations " along with their application form upon registration.
Twice yearly, in July and December. Outside Japan, the test may be held only in July or December in some cities. Please check "List of Overseas Test Site Cities and Local Host Institutions" for the test schedule in your city.
In 2017, the tests will be conducted on Sunday, July 2 and Sunday, December 3. пј€Outside Japan, the test may be held only in July or December in some cities. Please check "List of Overseas Test Site Cities and Local Host Institutions" for the test schedule in your city.пј‰
You can take the test in major cities all over Japan. If you are planning to take the test outside Japan, you can find cities where the test is offered in "Local Host Institutions of JLPT."
Can I apply to take only some sections instead of all sections?
At the time of registration, I will not be in the country/area where I want to take the test. What should I do?
Please make sure to apply with the institution conducting the test in the country/area where you plan to take it. Registration methods differ by country. Please contact the local institution. If you cannot apply for the test by yourself, please ask a friend or acquaintance in the country/area where you want to take the test for help with registration.
The Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services.
Japan Educational Exchanges and Services conducts the test in Japan, and the Japan Foundation conducts the test overseas with the cooperation of local host institutions.
In Taiwan, the JLPT is co-hosted with Japan - Taiwan Exchange Association.
Do all examinees take the same test and their level determined based on their scores?
No. Test questions differ according to level. Different questions are provided to measure the Japanese-language competency of examinees as accurately as possible. Please choose a suitable level when taking the test.
Please refer to "Summary of Linguistic Competence Required for Each Level." In addition, you can check specific levels by going over "Sample Questions." If you have taken the old test through 2009 or have information about it, this can give you an idea of what to expect, since the current test corresponds to the old test in terms of passing lines.
<Reference9gt; Level correspondence between current and old tests
When the JLPT was revised in 2010, the form of test items was changed or newly added. How were current test levels matched with old test levels?
Based on statistical analysis, the passing line for the current test is designed to match that of the old test. This means that examinees with the Japanese-language competence to pass Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the old test can pass N1, N2, N4 and N5 in the current test. The passing line for N3, a level added in 2010, is designed to fall between Levels 2 and 3 of the old test, based on statistical analysis of the Japanese-language competence required to pass these levels.
I passed Level 3 in the old test. Which test level should I take with the current test?
Because Level 3 in the old test is basically the same level as N4 in the current test, taking the one-level higher N3 test is suggested. N3 is a newly introduced level that falls between Level 2 and Level 3 in the old test. You might try N2 if you wish to try a slightly more difficult level. Please review "Sample Questions" to find out which level would better suit you.
N3 is the newly established level when the JLPT was revised in 2010.When compared to the old test's levels, N3 falls between Level 2 and Level 3. Many of those who passed Level 3 of the old test have commented that "Level 2 is difficult to pass." To respond to this situation, N3 was created as a level between Level 2 and Level 3 of the old test.
Please refer to "A Summary of Linguistic Competence Required for Each Level." N1 and N2 are levels where learners can listen to and read "Japanese used in a variety of circumstances." N4 and N5 are levels where learners can listen to and read "basic Japanese" that is studied in class. N3 is a level that falls between N1/N2 and N4/N5 and bridges the gap.
I heard that N4 of the current test is basically the same level as Level 3 of the old test. In what ways are they the same?
The passing standard is basically the same. Those who could pass Level 3 of the old test will likely pass N4 of the current test. However, please note that test sections and scoring sections are different.
I heard that N1 of the new test is a little more advanced than Level 1 of the old test. Does this mean N1 is harder to pass than Level 1 of the old test?
No. The passing standard is basically the same for N1 and Level 1. Those who could pass Level 1 of the old test will likely pass N1 of the new test.
Does the JLPT include a conversation or composition test?
No, neither is currently included.
Why is the test section "Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar)гѓ»Reading" for N1 and N2 divided into two sections -- "Language Knowledge (Vocabulary)" and "Language Knowledge (Grammar)гѓ»Reading" -- for N3, N4 and N5?
Because there are fewer test items in vocabulary and grammar that can be included in levels N3, N4 and N5, placing Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar) and Reading in the same section may inadvertently provide hints for answers. In order to avoid such a situation, two separate test sections -- "Language Knowledge (Vocabulary)" and "Language Knowledge (Grammar)гѓ»Reading" -- are offered for N3, N4 and N5.
They are summarized in "Composition of test items." "Sample Questions" covers all question patterns for all levels. Please take a look at it.
Yes, the JLPT uses a multiple-choice computer-scored answer sheet. There are four choices for most questions, although some "Listening" questions have only three choices.
The last question in "Listening" for N1 and N2 has a note saying, "гЃ“гЃ® е•ЏйЎЊ пј€ г‚‚г‚“гЃ гЃ„ пј‰ гЃ«гЃЇ з·ґзї’ пј€ г‚Њг‚“гЃ—г‚…гЃ† пј‰ гЃЇгЃ‚г‚ЉгЃѕгЃ›г‚“гЂ‚(No practice available for this question.)" What does this mean?
Other "Listening" questions have examples to help examinees understand the form and how to answer. The last question does not have this kind of example with which to practice.
Does the JLPT include questions that require cultural knowledge of Japan?
No question specifically asks cultural knowledge of Japan. Some questions may refer to cultural aspects, but all questions can be answered without cultural knowledge.
No, you cannot take the test paper with you. If you do, you will automatically fail the test.
Test question copyrights are held by test organizers, the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services.
Exactly the same test questions are not published. However, "Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Official Workbook" was published in March 2012. It includes test items taken from actual tests conducted in 2010 and 2011, and have almost the same number of test items as the actual test. Sample questions based on past test questions will be published regularly in the future. The publication schedule will be announced on the official JLPT website.
Why is "Test Content Specifications" no longer available after the 2010 revision of the JLPT?
We believe that the ultimate goal of studying Japanese is to use the language to communicate rather than simply memorizing vocabulary, kanji and grammar items. Based on this idea, the JLPT measures "language knowledge such as characters, vocabulary and grammar" as well as "competence to perform communicative tasks by using the language knowledge." Therefore, we decided that publishing "Test Content Specifications" containing a list of vocabulary, kanji and grammar items was not necessarily appropriate. As information to replace "Summary of Linguistic Competence Required for Each Level" and "Composition of test items" are available. Please also refer to "Sample Questions."
In addition, since levels of the current test correspond to those of the old test through 2009 in terms of passing lines, old test questions and "Test Content Specifications" for the old test can provide useful information.
Can I listen to audio of listening comprehension question examples?
Yes, you can. You can download audio files from "Sample Questions."
In addition, the following books come with audio CDs.
гѓ»"New Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Guidebook: An Executive Summary and Sample Questions, N1-N3 edition (945 yen, tax included)
гѓ»"New Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Guidebook: An Executive Summary and Sample Questions, N4-N5 edition (840 yen, tax included)
гѓ»"Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Official Workbook (N1/N2/N3/N4/N5)" (735 yen for each level, tax included)