The 150-year history of English language assessment in Japanese education

Miyuki Sasaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study I describe the 150-year history of school-based English language assessment in Japan. The history is divided into four major periods according to the purposes of English language education set by the government in the different periods: (1) 1860 to 1945, when English was first introduced and taught in schools mainly for elite classes; (2) 1945 to 1970, when English became part of the compulsory education for the first time; (3) 1970 to 1990 when English began to be regarded as the most effective means to communicate with foreign people in the rapidly shrinking world; and (4) 1990 to the present, when several innovative policies have been introduced into classroom measurement systems. I describe how assessment practices for English education at schools in each of these periods were and still are affected by various factors, including political, economic, and demographic changes in society, as well as academic paradigm shifts in the fields of education and applied linguistics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-83
Number of pages21
JournalLanguage Testing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'The 150-year history of English language assessment in Japanese education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this