Project Research for Fiscal 2010
Project research takes up research topics that NIER is called to undertake in relation to government policy issues. Project research is conducted by project teams formed of a wide range of researchers hailing from both NIER and outside institutions. Projects are generally three to five years in length. Research commenced in fiscal 2010 has "New" written next to the title.
This study seeks to develop an organized scheme of knowledge to support the creation of FD programs in universities, by mapping and structuring the diverse range of FD programs in existence and using the results to explore possibilities for a standardized approach to FD programs and a basic framework of requirements for university faculty members. An additional aim is to identify the abilities demanded of "FDers" -the individuals responsible for planning and operating FD programs and the conditions for effective deployment thereof.
In fiscal 2010, we will bring the study to a conclusion, continuing to accumulate knowledge and review it theoretically while pursuing the task of clarifying processes for development of FDer abilities through the design and use of portfolios. We will also develop FD-related tools and hold an international seminar (tentative) and FDer training sessions.
This project involves basic, developmental research on paradigms for placement, development, and reorganization of elementary and lower secondary schools in Japan in the face of a declining birthrate and ageing population, with the aim of acquiring fundamental insights to inform the development of vision and strategy for the compulsory education system into the future. In order to achieve this aim, research activity is organized into the areas of (1) school placement and (2) school size.
In fiscal 2010, we will produce a final report after pursuing (1) research toward the construction of methods for appropriate placement of elementary and lower secondary schools in light of the special features of communities experiencing a decline in school-aged population, (2) research on programs for the maintenance of educational environments as schools are amalgamated and abolished, and (3) in the area of research on school size, comparison of data from the survey conducted on lower secondary schools in Yamagata prefecture in fiscal 2009 with the results of the onsite survey of schools and boards of education to be conducted in fiscal 2010, and review of these findings in the context of research on school size.
This study looks at the current state of and the issues faced in teacher-training programs at universities and other training frameworks to improve educators' teaching skills. The study aims to contribute to the planning and design of measures to raise the quality of teachers, including the improvement of teaching skills, teacher-training systems at universities, and other training frameworks.
The fiscal 2010 study includes (a) an analysis of the results of the fiscal 2009 study, (b) a questionnaire survey on teacher evaluations conducted by boards of education and public school principals, (c) interview and questionnaire surveys of educators at teacher-training colleges and teacher-training departments at comprehensive universities, and (d) a survey of school principals with experience in the private sector and others nationwide from the perspective of looking at how best to train school administrators.
Oriented to the enhancement of teaching abilities and the development of attractive class content in the area of science, this project explores the kinds of instructional skills required of teachers (particularly newly inducted teachers) and seeks to develop curricular programs for the cultivation of such skills in university teacher training programs.
In fiscal 2010, the current state of teacher training programs in science and the actual instructional abilities of teachers will be surveyed, and consideration given to the kinds of skills needed by all teachers, including newly inducted ones, and the content that should be included in a teacher training curriculum in order to develop those skills and methods of training.
This study examines systems for assessment of learning outcomes as an exit-point quality assurance approach in universities. It identifies the implications and difficulties in introducing such systems and how these vary depending on the nature of the university's quality assurance system.
In fiscal 2010, we will identify (a) the features of university quality assurance systems under different conditions of university autonomy and massification, (b) the characteristics of the roles played by learning outcome assessment under different quality assurance systems, and (c) the ways in which the impact of introducing systems for assessment of learning outcomes is affected by the nature of the quality assurance system itself.
This study examines curricula, instructional materials, teaching methods, approaches to assessment, and other factors oriented to the establishment and enhancement of education for sustainable development (ESD) in schools.
Activities in fiscal 2010 will involve: (a) bringing together the findings of research in fiscal 2009 and producing an interim report, (b) developing models for the introduction of ESD into different subject areas, and practical case studies on the inclusion of ESD in curricular subjects and the Period of Integrated Study under the New Courses of Study, (c) collecting materials on leading initiatives in ESD within Japan, (d) collecting materials on ESD in countries other than Japan and producing translations of works with practical applicability within Japan, (e) hosting meetings of experts and study sessions for practitioners to discuss the implementation of ESD at each level of the school system, and (f) examining models for training on ESD.
This study concerns the organization of educational curricula (including structuring of subject areas, etc.) in elementary, lower secondary, and upper secondary schools. It aims to furnish a basic reference to underpin the diversity of policy options surrounding the school curriculum in Japan into the future, by identifying the operational conditions and issues in Japan's new school curriculum and surveying and analyzing trends in curricular organization in other countries.
In fiscal 2010, we will (a) conduct research on curricular frameworks and recent trends in ten countries including the U.S. and UK as part of the survey of curricular trends in countries other than Japan, (b) gather materials on trends in curricular development in MEXT experimental schools and specially-exempt schools, and begin a survey after establishing its basic framework in terms of subjects, scope, methods, etc., and (c) survey the status of curricular implementation and changes in the school curriculum in Japan.
This study will develop a variety of feasible yearly teaching plans and instructional methods in order to cultivate linguistic competence and enrich the linguistic activity of schoolchildren in each subject area, as demanded under the new Courses of Study. Particular attention is given to learning methods involving problem-solving through the application of primary basic knowledge and skills.
In fiscal 2010, the study will involve (a) commissioning six elementary schools and three lower secondary schools as pilot schools, (b) collecting and organizing leading cases and using them as reference in the development of model yearly teaching plans and specific instructional methods for cultivating language-related abilities in different subject areas, (c) developing proposals for yearly teaching plans, unit plans, and instructional content for each pilot school based on the model yearly teaching plans and instructional methods, and achieving improvements through consultation with delegates from both within and outside NIER, (d) implementing research classes at each pilot school and formulating improvements to instructional methods through class study forums thereafter, as well as measuring effectiveness through ex ante and ex post surveys of attitudes and study conditions, and (e) conducting several research classes at each pilot school during the course of the year and making ongoing improvements.
The Study on Education Funding and the Optimal Division of Costs conducted in fiscal 2009 was dissolved and this improved study designed. In addition to a comparative analysis with other countries, a survey and analysis will be conducted of demand for funds for envisioned responses to issues and estimates of the effectiveness of such investment. Empirical data will also be collected and analyzed to help design measures that will be needed in the future.
Based on the findings of the comprehensive international comparative survey conducted in fiscal 2009, the fiscal 2010 research will select specific topics by educational stage and consider anticipated issues from various perspectives. The supply and demand situation for the education spending required to address those issues and the effectiveness of such investment of funds will also be examined.
This study identifies and assesses the changes that have occurred in lifelong learning policies since the 1990s and undertakes a comparative analysis of Japan's lifelong learning policies. The study then focuses on social capital as an output of lifelong learning activities and undertakes an empirical analysis of the formation process of social capital. Finally, some observations are made concerning the necessary conditions for achieving the hoped-for results.
The fiscal 2010 study includes (a) surveys and empirical research to be conducted in selected localities to examine the impact of cooperation between schools and local communities on the formation of social capital among local residents, and (b) collection and collation of basic materials and data on social education administration aimed at community building and the achievement of other forms of public value from an education development theory approach.
This study uses the results obtained from the following studies conducted by the Department for Lifelong Learning Policy Research to investigate demand for learning and long-term changes in such demand: Survey of Attitudes of Adults Concerning Lifelong Learning (1991), Study on Education and Training by Companies and Employees (1991), Longitudinal Study on Changes in Demand for Lifelong Learning (2001). The study focuses on such contemporary issues as an aging and information-intensive society and limits is scope to learning needs that pertain to career education and home education.
The fiscal 2010 study involves four teams assigned to the following themes: (a) vocational education and training of adults, (b) digital literacy, (c) social participation of the elderly, and (d) support for home education. Each team will collect data from the past ten years and engage in theoretical and case-study research. Research and policy issues pertaining to each theme will be studied and preliminary web-based surveys will be conducted on each theme. The results of these surveys will be utilized to coordinate among the four themes and to design questionnaires to be used in a comprehensive survey.
The agenda of this study encompasses "surveys and research on the development of indicators to address the concept of 'school management quality' and approaches to appointment, employment, and placement of school personnel needed to maintain certain levels of 'school management quality'," and "surveys and research on approaches to the placement of support staff and forms of collaboration with NPOs, the private sector and other partners." These tasks are approached with a view to (1) defining "school management quality" in schools for compulsory education, and (2) identifying methods for developing conditions for assurance of "school management quality" as defined. The aim of this work is to derive fundamental knowledge regarding the development of school organizations in line with school size, location, environment, and other conditions.
In fiscal 2010 we will conduct exploratory research, mainly through case analysis, on matters including school organization and teacher roles in both public and private schools, the deployment of support staff, and the differing characteristics of public schools. The research on teacher workloads conducted in previous years will also be continued, and used as a fundamental resource when considering possibilities for organizational development in schools. Review of earlier studies from both within and outside Japan will also be pursued, along with other basic tasks such as gathering, reading, and analysis of leading cases.
This study examines appropriate educational initiatives from the perspective of science-related career choices. It involves surveys of the relationship between students' perceptions of science-related occupations and their choice of career paths, and the relationship between the choice of science-related career paths and social, cultural, and economic factors such as gender. The study also uses surveys to identify highly effective initiatives in this area and produce a collection of cases of good practice. Furthermore, an adjunct survey will be conducted in conjunction with the 2011 TIMSS study and used to analyze the attitudes of second-year Japanese lower secondary students towards future career paths in comparison with levels of academic ability in mathematics and science internationally.
In fiscal 2010, in preparation for the nationwide questionnaire survey to be conducted in fiscal 2011, we will formulate survey content and methods and implement a pilot survey in order to finalize the questionnaire format. Other preparations for the nationwide survey will also be undertaken, such as selecting the lower secondary schools, upper secondary schools, and higher education institutions where it is to be implemented. In addition, we will conduct a questionnaire survey of student perceptions of future career paths as an adjunct to the TIMSS survey that will implemented in March 2011.