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Research Projects in FY2017

Research Projects are the research activities, conducted by project teams composed of researcher both inside and outside NIER, through which NIER sets its research agenda for administrative policy issues.

1. Educational Administration and Finance

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

Research Project Leader INOUE Shimeon
Director of the Department of Research Planning and Development

 An empirical study was compiled and organized for the educational outcomes of Japan and other countries, and an empirical study is also currently being conducted on additional educational outcomes through the analysis of existing domestic data.
 In addition, with respect to longitudinal studies which are indispensable when measuring the outcomes of education, an experimental longitudinal study, "Study on Children's Growth" was carried out in FY2016, and its viability in Japan is currently being tested.
 In FY2017, we will continue to carry out an empirical study through analysis of the existing data, and will also be carrying out the experimental longitudinal study, "Study on Children's Growth" in seven municipalities.

(2) Study on the diversity and expertise of local educational administration- Regional revitalization and educational administration [FY2016-2018]

Research Project Leader WATANABE Keiko
Director of the 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 FY2017, we will be classifying the formulation process for the "outlines regarding education" of the local governments, and clarifying the characteristics of local educational administration in other countries, and backgrounds and factors thereof. In addition, we will be analyzing the results of the "Implementation Inclination Survey" in accordance with the updated data related to unified elementary and lower secondary school education. In analyzing the transfer data of teachers or other school personnel, we will be verifying the trends in each prefecture and will also be carrying out on-site surveys.

2. Elementary and Secondary Education

(1) Empirical study on the formation of school curricula [FY2017-2021]

Research Project Leader KATO Hiroki
Director of the Department for Curriculum Research

 We will be conducting an empirical study on the formation of school curricula in preparation for future revision of the courses of study. Specifically research will be focused on the three pillars of (1) an empirical study on designing and improving school curricula, (2) multifaceted and multilayered research on the kind of literacy required in the future, and (3) the trends of other countries, as well as the practical research of the R&D schools, and we will be providing basic materials gearedtowards future revision of the courses of study.
 In FY2017, we will be focusing on the framework of scientific literacy based on the results of the PISA, etc. and will be considering the issues of curricula geared towards nurturing literacy. In addition, for the abovementioned (3), we will be organizing the results of the curricula of the R&D schools and SGH (super global high schools), etc. and tracking the trends of competency building such as of scientific literacy in other countries. Based on these analyses, we will be considering the issues of (1) above in order to be able to enrich the school curricula.



(2) Study on the motivation and attitudes of Japanese students based on the survey results [FY2017-2018]

Research Project Leader KATO Hiroki
Director of the Guidance and Counseling Research Center

 In terms of such surveys as the students' awareness surveys accompanying the academic ability assessments of Japan and other countries, and the surveys on awareness relating to children's learning and school life etc. conducted by NIER, the national government and the national incorporated administrative agencies, etc., we will be analyzing the trends of the students' answers and associated factors with a particular focus on the following survey items: (1) feelings of self-affirmation and normative consciousness, (2) preference and usefulness in learning the subjects, and (3) sociability and the building of relationships with others. At the same time, while utilizing the results of these analyses, we will be asking for the opinions of the boards of education and other stakeholders, and conducting studies with the participation of outside academics and experts with regard to ways of presenting the results of the students' questionnaires so that they contribute to improved teaching in the schools and the policy planning of the boards of education.
 In FY2017, we will be collecting the results of academic ability assessments and questionnaires on school life conducted in Japan and other countries, and compiling the responses in the form of a literature review. In addition, in recent years, a working group for surveys conducted by NIER was established, and this group has been carrying out secondary and detailed analyses.



(3) Study on learning space from the perspective of active learning [FY2017-2018]

Research Project Leader ISOYAMA Takeshi
Director of the Educational Facilities Research Center

 In terms of efforts to improve classes towards the realization of "independent and interactive deep learning" (in other words, active learning), we aim to contribute to the planning of educational facility policies taking into consideration the new Courses of Study, and improvement of the school facilities by focusing on the practical examples of Japan and other countries, to examine and analyze the measures and challenges in terms of facilities and equipment which support "independent and interactive deep learning", and to summarize the findings.
 In FY2017, as part of a literature survey, we will be checking past research, and collecting and analyzing practical examples. In addition, based on the literature survey, we will be designing a questionnaire for schools which have been working on improving lessons by incorporating the perspective of active learning. Further, we will be conducting onsite surveys visiting those schools which are deemed to be using their facilities in a distinctive manner. With regard to the schools which we visit through our on-site surveys, we will be organizing and analyzing the characteristics, backgrounds, challenges, etc. of each school with a focus on the relationships between the teaching methods and use of the facilities.



(4) Study on growth and learning, and the quality of the learning process from infancy [FY2017-2022]

Research Project Leader WATANABE Keiko
Director of the Early Childhood Education Research Center

 The objective of this study is to obtain basic knowledge of the significance of pre-primary and primary education and the impact of the quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC) on subsequent growth and learning, by conducting a longitudinal study of children from pre-primary to primary education period.
 In particular, we aim: (1) to grasp a better picture of socio-emotional skills which sustain children's growing and learning by long-term monitoring from pre-primary to primary, and (2) to examine how to assess the quality of the learning process in early childhood education and how to utilize the assessment.
 In FY2017, we will conduct a questionnaire for ECEC staff and parents/guardians of 3-year-old children in approximately 100 to 200 ECEC facilities, such as kindergartens, nursery centers and centers for ECEC, collaborating with the municipal governments which have early childhood education centers. In addition, we will interview a number of children at selected ECEC facilities across Japan. A trial assessment of the quality of the learning process in early childhood education is also planned to be conducted.

3. Educational Staff

(1) Study on verification of educational policies on the allocation of teachers and other matters [FY2016-2018]

Research Project Leader INOUE Shimeon
Director of the Department of Research Planning and Development

 Verifying the impact that class size, the allocation of teachers and improvised teaching methods have on developing children's competencies and on problem behavior is an important issue in education policymaking.
 Based on these circumstances, we aim to examine the impact of the allocation of teachers and class size on academic ability and non-cognitive competencies by utilizing the surveys on the status of academic achievements and learning of individual local governments, to conduct research to empirically validate the effects of additional support for children exhibiting school refusal behavior, and to provide basic data for education policy planning.
 In FY2017, we will be conducting research by implementing a survey to measure the non-cognitive competencies of students.



(2) Study on fostering "teaching skills for ICT use" on a university teacher training courses [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 interview survey to the universities which offer teacher training course and to the boards of education in local government, and interview 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 FY2017, we will be conducting interviews with the universities and boards of education in Japan and other countries. In addition, prior to these interviews, we will be analyzing the questionnaire answered by the boards of education, etc. in FY2016. We will also be organizing the findings obtained through surveys and discussion meetings, and compiling them in the form of a report.



(3) Comprehensive study on pre-service training and in-service training of teachers in "next-generation schools", and strengthening of the functions of management [FY2017-2018]

Research Project Leader SARUTA Yuji
Director of the Department for Elementary and Secondary Education Research

 The purpose of this study is to steadily nurture the competencies required of children in the future, and to maximize the abilities of diverse children, as well as to provide findings which will contribute to the examination of policies in order to enhance the competencies of the teachers and the functions of management in "next generation schools", which are to be realized by the combined efforts of society through cooperation and collaboration between the schools and the local community. There are three pillars to consider in order to realize "next-generation schools". The first is the pre-service training and post-service training of teachers and other staff. The second is strengthening of the functions of management. The third is the enhancement of the teaching system comprising the teachers and staff. We will be conducting comprehensive research based on these surveys, and will provide basic data that contributes to education policy development.
 In FY2017, we will be conducting a comparative survey on the pre-service training of teachers and other staff of various countries. We will also be conducting a survey on ways to support the heads of education in order to strengthen the functions of management. Further, with regard to the teaching system comprising teachers and staff, we will be considering new forms of educational guidance and conducting experimental lessons to compare them with regular forms of educational guidance.


4. Higher Education

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

Research Project Leader FUKAHORI Satoko
Director of the 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.

 In FY2017, we will be conducting interviews and data analysis for each theme, and will compile a research outcomes report summarizing the results of the research.

Research Results Digest

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