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Research Projects in FY2016

1. Educational Administration and Finance

(1) Study on educational effect [FY2015-2017]

Research Project Leader TAGUCHI Shigenori
Director, Department of Research Planning and Development

With collecting and classifying previous empirical studies on educational effects inside and outside Japan, we conduct a new study through the analysis of existing domestic data such as government surveys; "National Assessment of Academic Ability", "Curriculum Implementation Survey", and "Longitudinal Survey of Middle-aged and Elderly Persons". Then this project aims to provide fundamental data contributing to policymaking. Furthermore, we attempt a longitudinal survey which measures educational effects from preschool years and verify the feasibility in Japan. As for available empirical studies in the past, those research results are gradually disclosed on our website.
In FY2016, we intend to proceed a new empirical study on educational effects and a longitudinal survey concerning preschool education is commenced in seven municipalities from April.

(2) Study on variety and specialization of local educational administration: Regional revitalization and educational administration [FY2016-2018]

Research Project Leader WATANABE Keiko
Director, Department for Educational Policy and Evaluation Research

Based on a series of implementations of measures which can affect educational administration in local government, such as transition to a new board of education system in FY2015, correspondence to decentralization reforms, regional revitalization, and the depopulating society, this study aims to acquire comprehensive knowledge which contribute to plan measures of educational administration in local governments by verifying reality/challenge of educational administration in local governments and effect/influence of decentralization reforms and new board of education system.

In FY2016, we will undertake: to analyze factors from case studies of effective cooperation/harmony between board of education and administrative chief in local government, and compare those factors with those in other countries: to verify the variety of personnel affairs of faculty members: to analyze effects of school consolidation or closure to the region: and to analyze effect of higher education measures which is originated in the local government (university locations and influence to the students).

2. Elementary and Secondary Education

(1) Study on the curriculum to nurture competencies [FY2014-2016]

Research Project Leader UMEZAWA Atsushi
Director, Curriculum Research Center

This study aims to provide integrated and comprehensive insights into curriculum development for nurturing competencies by verifying goals, contents, teaching methods and assessment. To this end, we closely examine teaching methods and learning activities, assessment and various supporting measures to nurture competencies which are deliberated in the Central Council for Education.

In FY2015, we investigated the actual condition of implementation of "active learning" domestically and internationally, reviewing the trends in other countries and collecting relevant information especially on science and social studies. We compiled an interim report on the trends and practices for promoting "active learning" in other countries. Furthermore, we prepared for three reports, on the curricula and learning activities in other countries ?Vol.2 overall trends and Vol.3 science-, and Vol.4 on theoretical study on ICT literacy.

In FY2016, we continue our research for providing data that contributes to policy-making by looking ahead to the ongoing deliberations of the Central Council for Education. In particular, we continuously: (i) conduct a theoretical study on "active learning" and its assessment; (ii) compare overseas cases of competency assessment; and (iii) collect, analyze, and investigate case examples of teaching methods and assessment at schools conducting practical research on nurturing competencies. The final report is to be published at the end of FY 2016.

* interim reports on the curriculum to nurture competencies

(2) Study on development of non-cognitive (socio-emotional) competence and scientific assessment method [FY2015-2016]

Research Project Leader ENDO Toshihiko
Senior Visiting Fellow/Professor, Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo

This study aims to reveal "non-cognitive competencies" focusing on socio-emotional development. We present (i) specific contents of socio-emotional competencies at each stage of each development during lifetime and (ii) methods of scientific measurement and description used in studies for those competencies. In relation to effective factors and environment that support and promote the development of competencies, we get information and data from research done inside and outside Japan. We aim to obtain insights which lead to more meaningful discussion about socio-emotional competencies, clarification of issues in Japan, and research design.

In FY2016, following on from the previous year, we intend to obtain insights of socio-emotional competencies for each stage and list the development process that gradationally promotes from infancy to adolescence. In addition, for infants, preschool 'children', pupils and students, we conduct experiments and surveys to measure socio-emotional competencies. For the purpose of obtaining knowledge, information, and data within Japan, we undertake small-scale experiments and collection analysis of preliminary data.

(3) Study on secondary analysis on results of the National Assessment of Academic Ability [FY2015-2016]

Research Project Leader UMEZAWA Atsushi
Director, Curriculum Research Center

Based on the results of the National Assessment of Academic Ability, we aim to: (i) develop method(s) of utilizing data; and (ii) clarify insights obtained through secondary analysis of data (including specific initiatives implemented by schools that had high achievements) by analyzing data for several years.

In FY2016, following on from the previous year, we overview changes in research results over the years and in terms of data utilization we implement case studies of schools and the boards of education in order to clarify effective initiatives for academic development, including the introduction of specific cases. Furthermore, we carry out a basic study of research results for database creation and clarify insights obtained through various secondary analyses, such as the correlation analysis between results of academic ability surveys and those of questionnaire surveys and detailed analysis of responses to written questionnaire.

(4) Study on English education at elementary school [FY2015-2016]

Research Project Leader ONO Akiko
Director, Department for International Research and Co-operation

We perceive the state of achievement of progressive approach, such as provision of foreign language education as a school subject (with evaluation of students' performance) or foreign language activities (without evaluation of students' performance) from early elementary grades at experimental schools and curriculum exception schools. The initiative is analyzed from three perspectives: educational goal, teaching method, and evaluation. At the same time, we intend to classify and analyze issues surrounding foreign language education in elementary schools and aim to provide information useful for foreign language education in elementary schools through case examples of goal, teaching method, and evaluation in terms of the cooperation between elementary and junior high schools.

In FY2016, we undertake hearing surveys as well as study the situation in other countries to deepen our analysis of (i) the questionnaire surveys held at experimental schools and curriculum exception schools [respondents: administrators, teachers, pupils] and (ii) progressive approach for the boards of education.

(5) Study on growing and learning during the transitional period from pre-primary to primary education and the quality of education and care in early childhood [FY2015-2016]

Research Project Leader TAGUCHI Shigenori
Director, Early Childhood Education Research Center

Transition from preschool to school education and the quality of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) have been considered to be important globally. This study aims to provide information on children's growing and learning during the transitional period, especially with regard to contributing to the revision of the Courses of Study for Kindergartens. It also aims to obtain basic insights on the evaluation of the quality of ECEC, which will contribute to the future longitudinal studies covering early childhood and later childhood. More specifically, studies will be conducted on: (I) the method to figure out children's growing social emotional skills for learning during transitional period; suitable curriculum for this period, and (II) development of evaluation indicators to capture the quality of ECEC with the examination of the indicators by using them at the center-based in-service trainings.

In FY2016, for (I) the above, analyzation of the results of the surveys carried out at cooperated kindergartens in FY2015, and the follow-up surveys for the first graders will be conducted. Regarding (II), development of the indicators based on the results of trial assessment by such scales as ECERS3 and SSTEW, and study on the methods of using the scales at the center-based in-service trainings, will be conducted.

3. Educational Staff

(1) Comprehensive study on training, personnel allocation and continuous education of teacher to develop the qualifications and abilities of pupils [FY2015-2016]

Research Project Leader OSUGI Akihide
Director, Department for Elementary and Secondary Education Research

The aim of this study is to conduct a comprehensive study on: (i) overall approach (training and continuous education) through their entire teaching career that enhances teacher's competencies for the purpose of securement of student's qualifications and abilities required in a new era; and (ii) measures (personnel allocation and management) that enable teachers and other specialized staffs to exercise their expertise including initiatives and enable the entire school organization to work effectively as a team. It is also aimed to obtain fundamental data contributing to educational policymaking.
In FY2016, based on knowledge obtained in FY2015, we advance further surveys and analyses in order to complete the final report.

* interim reports as of April 2016 *

(2) Empirical study on allocation of teachers and class size [FY2016-2018]

Research Project Leader TAGUCHI Shigenori
Director, Department of Research Planning and Development

Concerning the development of the competencies of pupils and students, it is imperative to examine influence exerted by class size, allocation of teachers and teaching methods. In addition, at schools facing the issues such as bullying, non-attendance, and poverty, required task for teachers is becoming increasingly complex and diverse. Taking into account such circumstances, by utilizing data of prefectural assessment of academic ability, we empirically examine the effects of allocation of teachers and class size on academic ability and non-cognitive competencies and the effects of additional support to students for the purpose of alleviation of problematic behavior such as non-attendance. This study aims to provide fundamental data contributing to educational policymaking.

In FY2016, through questionnaire surveys to the boards of education and conducting experimental classes at school, we intend to carry out theme-based research and publish those outcomes on our website, once available.

(3) Study on fostering of "teaching skills for ICT (Information and Communications Technology) use" during the period of teacher training course at universities [FY2016-2017]

Research Project Leader YOSHIOKA Ryoei
Senior Researcher, Department of Research Planning and Development

Taking into account the dissemination of interactive whiteboards to each school and a forward-looking discussion on introduction of digital textbooks, we conduct survey research on fostering of "teaching skills for ICT use" which is absolutely essential for teachers. In this process, we intend to get findings useful for improvement of various challenges such as curriculum with regard to fostering of "teaching skills for ICT use" that should be acquired during the period of teacher training course at universities. In particular, throughout the period of study, we carry out questionnaire surveys and hearing surveys to the universities which offer teacher training course and to the boards of education in local government, and hearing surveys to overseas universities which are actively engaged on fostering of "teaching skills for ICT use". Furthermore, we intend to establish a committee of research collaborators, who are mainly the profession of college professor, in order to examine the teaching contents and teaching methods with respect to fostering of "teaching skills for ICT use" and the guidelines during the period of teacher training course at universities.

In FY2016, we advance further study through the questionnaire surveys to universities and the boards of education, and reviews of previous study.

4. Higher Education

(1) A Study of Teaching and Learning Environments that Support Students' Growth [FY2016-2017]

Research Project Leader FUKAHORI Satoko
Director, Department for Higher Education Research

This study is an empirical study that aims to show the relationships between university learning outcomes and the teaching and learning environment.

Based on the analyses of national-level survey data and case studies, the study aims to clarify whether the following aspects of the teaching and learning environment, including (i)institutional globalization strategies, (ii) university reform efforts in teaching and learning content and approaches, (iii) student diversity, and (iv) the size of student enrollment and class size have positive correlations with learning outcomes defined broadly as "students' growth," and measured by indicators such as the attainment of knowledge and skills, number of study hours and student satisfaction, development of civic competency and engagement, and retention and graduation rates.

Research activities for FY2016 include literature review, interviews, and the analyses of existing survey data.

Research Results Digest

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