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To Graduation and Beyond

To Graduation and Beyond

High School Entrance and Juku

(p.191) Chapter Seven To Graduation and Beyond
Schooling Selves
Peter Cave
University of Chicago Press

This chapter considers issues surrounding learning assessment and entrance examinations for high school. Assessment and examination structures individuate junior high students, but tend to promote self-reliance rather than individuality or autonomy. Self-reliance is also strongly promoted by discourses and practices at the juku (“shadow schooling” tutorial colleges) that many junior high students attend. Interviews with students and parents suggested that juku could help students exercise autonomy in learning, but they could also create pressure to follow the crowd. The chapter describes the process whereby teachers guided students as they decided their post-graduation pathway (shinro shidō). Students’ autonomy to decide their own path after junior high was limited, because the diversity of options open to them was largely hierarchical and promised very different career and life opportunities. This was not a problem of the educational system alone, but also of employment and reward systems in Japanese society.

Keywords:   assessment, examination, juku, shadow schooling, tutorial college, shinro shidō, autonomy

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