The current tide of massification, marketization and globalization of higher education has encouraged many countries to adopt a more positive stance on enriching and reforming the First Year Experience (FYE). FYE started in the United States in the late 19th century and from the 1970s, it started flourishing nationwide. In Japan, the FYE was initiated around 2000 and became widely practiced. According to previous research, greater attention to accountability, educational emphasis, and student diversity in higher education has given rise to the rapid growth of FYE both in Japan and the U.S.
However, because the faculty structure in Japanese higher education is divided into different specialized studies, FYE in Japanese higher education has developed differently from its US counterpart. While FYE in U.S. colleges and universities tends to concentrate on students’ social life, in Japan emphasis is placed on academic life. Higher education in Taiwan has a number of similarities with Japan in terms of their educational systems, especially the faculty structure. But its FYE, which has been growing rapidly since the
late 2000s, more closely resembles the American FYE.
From this, the following two questions arise. The first asks whether there are any universal causes for the worldwide development of FYE. Secondly, why, despite the common reasons for introducing FYE programs, do its actual forms vary in different countries? These questions need to be investigated in order to reach a theoretical understanding of FYE's development. As the first step of the investigation, this paper focuses on Taiwan's FYE and examines why it has developed so differently from Japan, despite the similarities between their higher education systems.
Taiwan’s FYE has been growing rapidly since the late 2000s, but there have been very few studies dealing with it. This paper first discusses the higher education reform in Taiwan because of the close link between the development of FYE. It then focuses on two main aspects of FYE: its development process and its content structure. Finally, three features of FYE in Taiwan are examined based on the literature and on the results of questionnaire-based research conducted by the author.
The results show that (a) Taiwan's FYE has been extended and diversified as a part of reforms in higher education; (b) the policies of the Taiwanese government, which play a key role in the significant growth of FYE after the mid-2000s, were influenced by market economy theory; and (c) Taiwan's FYE aims to help first year students to achieve not just a successful start of school life and academic performance, but is also geared toward promoting holistic education that would have a life-long effect on its recipients. Finally, some significant aspects of FYE, including 'reforms and managements', and 'the decline of academic ability' are suggested as possibilities for further studying FYE.
The objective of this paper is to consider how to assess student learning with an investigation on the assessment framework of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.
In an increasingly globalized world, it is critical to strengthen development of human resource cultivating capabilities for global operation activities. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) believes Japan needs intensive fostering of students who possess global views, knowledge, skills, and desirable attitudes toward global citizenry and who intend to actively work to tackle various social issues. Accordingly, 56 high schools were designated as Super Global High Schools (SGH) in 2014 by MEXT.
For this reason, the school curriculum, design and assessment of developing global human resources is needed, since how to assess various student learning has been discussed. MEXT thinks we can learn from the IB program in this regard, as IB promotes active student learning, problem-based learning and assessment methods in a multilateral manner. IB aims to do more than other curricula by developing inquisitive, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed. In this study, I attempt to offer some useful information and suggestions of how to assess student learning which could be applied in Japanese high schools.
I visited an IB school, trying to gain information on IB through interviewing the school principal and four students, and observing classes. In this paper, the assessment framework of International School of Brussels (ISB) encouragement of independent learning is introduced.
ISB is the largest and oldest school with English education in Belgium. The school, committed to sustainability, has more than 1,500 students from 70 countries studying from early childhood education through high school.
According to the principal and the provided Assessment and Grading Handbook for Parents, the primary purpose of assessment is to improve learning, and should thus be seen as assessment for learning. In the process, students and teachers work together to improve learning, for example, by sharing the intended learning purpose, examining models and descriptions of what ideal learning resembles and using feedback from teacher, peer and self-assessment to plan a path to the next learning steps to meet the learning purposes. ISB has five assessment criteria, which are used for all appropriate subjects. They are 1) Understanding, Knowledge and Skills, 2) Language for Learning, 3) Learning through Inquiry and Problem-Solving, 4) Learning Relationships, and 5) Learning for Innovation. Based on these criteria, various kinds of assessments are implemented such as discussions, presentations, reports, projects and so on.
Through the research, it is revealed that the ISB assessment policy provides students with the tools and support to develop skills to self-assess and set goals for future learning by promoting increasingly independent learning. We should encourage students to take responsibility for their study so that they can continue to pursue innovation in this varied and complicated global society. By referring to the IB program, we should create a better instruction and assessment system to improve student learning.