It is said that the 21st century is the age of the advanced knowledge society. In a society in which science and technology has been developed by internationalization and the progression of information sharing, the abilities people need are also becoming increasingly sophisticated and fragmented. Against this background, the OECD defined three key competencies as essential skills for all people through the DeSeCo (*1) Project that took place over six years from 1997. These three competencies are: “Interacting in socially heterogeneous groups,” “acting autonomously” and “using tools interactively.” In order to measure these competencies with universal indicators, the PISA (*2) began in 2000. This is an international common test targeting 15 year old students. In a few years, the PIAAC (*3) will begin, targeting those aged from 16 to 64. Moreover, the development of a test for students of elementary school age is also being considered.
Currently, in order to develop these three key competencies, various countries overseas are looking to conduct new research in fields of education, including “ICT (*4) literacy education,” “social skills education” and “civic education,” and with the PISA and the PIAAC as well, the aim in the future is to develop the measurement of literacy and skills in new fields such as ICT literacy. However, unfortunately, the actual situation in Japan is that not enough progress has been made with the development of abilities necessary in society in future and the research in the measurement field.
While carrying out exchanges with overseas organizations under these circumstances, CRET aims to research and develop curriculums and tests in new educational fields that also take into consideration the special characteristics of Japan and Asia. Moreover, in order to achieve this, we have established three branches of research: Assessment and Analysis of Educational Testing, Development of Testing Items and Content, and Advancement of Testing Technology. We will push forward with surveys and research, as well as the research and development of tests in various fields, together with research and development on testing technologies. With these three branches of research working together, it is our hope to contribute to the improvement of educational skills in Japan and then the world.
(*1) Definition and Selection of Competencies
(*2) Programme for International Student Assessment
(*3) Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies
(*4) Information Communication Technology