World Education News and Reviews

August 2006

Japan

On this page:

Selectivity rankings
Yoyogi college preparation school
Kawaijuku preparation school (2001)
Media rankings
Asahi Shimbun Newspaper
Recruit Ltd.
Sunday Mainichi Newspaper (2002)


Due to the highly selective nature of university admissions in Japan, the ranking of Japanese universities has historically been based exclusively on the stringency of entry requirements: the harder a university is to get into, the more prestigious it is considered. With the introduction of a standardized nation-wide entrance examination for public institutions in the late 1970s the importance of selectivity in determining institutional quality was further heightened, and selectivity scores became the undisputed single-most important factor for high school students in choosing a university. Accompanying this obsession with selectivity was the growth of a market for periodicals providing information on university admissions, in essence the emergence of a university ranking system based on a single criteria.

Although university ranking systems have matured in recent years, there is still a strong emphasis and weighting placed on the average university admissions scores of incoming freshmen. While the University of Osaka is generally regarded as among the nation’s best, and as a university that has developed an increasing level of prestige over the last few decades, any ranking that places it above the University of Tokyo or the University of Kyoto would likely be dismissed out of hand because the average score required for entry still remains lower than that for Tokyo and Kyoto. With that being said, there has been a move in recent years to change this picture.

Recent ranking initiatives, mainly in the commercial sector, have been introduced in an effort to broaden the general public’s understanding of institutional quality. Despite making some headway on public attitudes, it is the opinion of many that graduating high school students will continue to strive for entry to the most selective schools that their talents (or scores) allow.

The rankings produced by Yoyogi and Kawaijuku college prep schools are examples of rankings that rely exclusively or heavily on admissions scores. The Asahi Shimbun and Recruit Ltd. rankings are examples of initiatives aimed at broadening the definition of university quality. 

Selectivity Rankings

Yoyogi College Preparation School
<
www.yozemi.ac.jp/rank/gakubu/index.html>

Based in Tokyo, the Yoyogi college preparation (or cram) school possibly the nation’s most famous produces a series of annual rankings of public and private university departments based on the average score that students must earn on the national university admissions examination for entry.

If a student achieves the score associated with a particular institution, he or she is judged to have a 60 percent chance of being admitted. Yoyogi produces rankings for four different academic departments in both the public and private sector: law and economics; art & literature and education; science and engineering; and medical fields.

Results

Ranking of National Universities by Subject and Average Admissions Score on National University Examinations (2006)


Institution

Department, Rank & Score

Law & economics

Art & Literature, Education

Science & Engineering

Medical sciences

Rank

Score (%)

Rank

Score (%)

Rank

Score (%)

Rank

Score (%)

Tokyo

1

93

1=

91-93

1

92-94

1

95

Kyoto

2

91

1=

91-93

3=

91

3=

93

Osaka

3

90

5=

88

5

89

3=

93

Nagoya

4=

89

10=

86

9=

86

2

94

Kobe

5=

87

10=

86

11=

85

8=

92

Osaka City

13=

83

14=

85

9=

86

8=

92

Kyusyu

8=

86

-

-

6=

88

3=

94

Tohoku

8=

86

-

-

11=

85

8=

92

Hokkaido

13=

83

-

-

11=

85

3=

94

Nagoya City

15=

80

-

-

9=

86

8=

92

Yokohama National

11=

84

14=

85

14=

84

-

-

Kanazawa

15=

80

10=

86

14=

84

-

-

Ochanomizu

-

-

2=

89

6=

88

-

-

Hitotsubashi

4=

89

5=

88

-

-

-

-

Source: Yoyogi University Preparation School
Note: Schools are ranked by department in four separate tables in the Yoyogi ranking. The ranking above is an average of each university’s department rank. Only the top 16 universities for each departmental league table were considered. Source: WENR

Ranking of Private Universities by Subject and Average Admissions T-Score (on Yoyogi Practice Exams, 2006)


Institution

Department, Rank & Score

Law & economics

Art & Literature, Education

Science & Engineering

Rank

Score (%)

Rank

Score (%)

Rank

Score (%)

Keio

1=

69

2

64

1

64

Waseda

1=

69

1

65

2

63

International Christian University

4=

64

3=

63

3=

60

Jochi (Sophia)

3

65

3=

63

6=

59

Doshisha

4=

64

8=

60

3=

60

Ritsumeikan

7=

63

3=

63

8

58

Rikkyo

7=

63

7

61

9=

57

Tsudajuku

9

62

6

62

11=

56

Meiji

10=

61

11=

59

6=

59

Kansai Gakuin

12=

59

11=

59

9=

57

Aoyamagakuin

10=

61

11=

59

15=

55

Chuo

4=

64

8=

60

-

-

Gakushuin

12=

59

11=

59

-

-

Nanzan

-

-

8=

60

15=

55

Tokyo University of Science

-

-

-

-

3=

60

Source: Yoyogi University Preparation School
Note: Schools are ranked by department in four separate tables in the Yoyogi ranking. The ranking above is an average of each university’s department rank (in three departments). Only the top 16 universities for each departmental league table were considered. Source: WENR

Ranking of Private Universities
Medical, dental, pharmacy, agriculture

Institution
Score
Keio
70
Jikei University
67
Osaka Medical College
67
Nippon Medical School
66
Juntendo
65
Kansai Medical University
65
Kurume
65
Iwate Medical University
64
Jichi Medical University
64
Kyorin
64
Showa
64
Tokyo Medical University
64
Tokyo University of Science
64
Aichi Medical University
64
Kinki
64

Source: Yoyogi University Preparation School

Kawaijuku Rankings (2001)

The following ranking was published in 2001 by the Kawaijuku college preparation school. It is based on four criteria: research funding, citations in research publications, average scores in entrance examinations, and a reputation survey.

Rank
Institution
1
Tokyo
2
Kyoto
3
Osaka
4
Tokyo Institute of Technology
5
Tohoku
6
Keio
7
Kyushu
8
Nagoya
9
Hokkaido
10
Tsukuba
11
Kobe
12
Chiba
13
Waseda
14
Hiroshima
15
Kanazawa
16
Okayama
17
Tokyo University of Science
18
Tokyo Metropolitan University
19
Tokyo Medical and Dental University
20
Osaka City University
21
Niigata
22
Kumamoto
23
Tokushima
24
Osaka Prefecture University
25
Gifu
26
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
27
Yokohama National University
28
Yamaguchi
29
Nagoya City University
30
Kagoshima

Source: Kawaijuku prep school

Media Rankings

Asahi Shimbun Newspaper

Asahi Shimbun began publishing its annual Daigaku Ranking in 1994. The ranking is designed to give high school students, universities and government officials broad information and benchmarking data on university performance.

The Daigaku rankings, which are published annually in book format, assess institutions according to three broad criteria: education, research and contribution to society. Much of the data is collected through surveys and questionnaires.

An important innovation introduced by Asahi Shimbun is the collection of data regarding research output. The indicators used to measure research quality include: the number of publications produced by scholars, the number of publications quoted in other publications, the amount of research funding provided by the Japanese government or other institutes, and the number of joint research projects of universities and corporations.

The following indicators, among others, measure educational quality: students per instructor, personal computers per student, books borrowed from the library per student, quality of cafeteria, and facilities and services for the handicapped. Student, high school teacher and human resource evaluations of teaching standards are also conducted once every two or three years.

Contribution to society is designed to measure the degree to which academics share their insights, knowledge and research with the general public. This factor is measured by the frequency of academic appearances in the general media, the number of extension courses offered, patents, membership in governmental committees, and articles written for newspapers, magazines and other high circulation periodicals.

This is not an exhaustive list of the indicators used by Asahi Shimbun, in fact the newspaper collects data across more than 70 indicators, although the absolute number changes every year depending on what information is available. Because of the great variety of university size and type in Japan, Asahi Shimbun does not attempt to integrate all indicators to produce one overall ranking. The 2006 edition included 76 rankings in a book that was almost 1000 pages long. In addition to rankings, the book contains articles by experts on how to use the data, and half- to two-page descriptions of each university with an A to C grading in areas such as teaching, facilities, and libraries.

Despite initial hostility from the public, universities and government toward these ranking criteria, efforts by the government in the late 1990s to increase the level of competition among universities and to increase the quantity and quality of research output, led to a greater appreciation for the role of the Daigaku rankings. The ranking results are now frequently referred to as benchmarks of reform measures undertaken over the last ten years.
 
Recruit Ltd.

Aimed at prospective university students and their high school councilors, Recruit Ltd. produces guidebooks that aim to provide detailed information about universities while also offering a broader picture of university life and institutional quality beyond the traditional measures of reputation, history and selectivity. Overall institutional rankings are not offered; rather institutions are analyzed in great detail across a broad spectrum of factors.

One of the more unusual assessments made by Recruit Ltd. was its “Survey on Student Recognition of Educational reforms at Universities.” The survey asked senior students questions regarding the quality of the educational services they had received at their respective universities. Smaller institutions (enrolling 600 students or less) were excluded from the survey; however, it did cover almost 50 percent of all universities and colleges, representing approximately 80 percent of all four-year university students. The survey covered two main criteria over 86 questions: overall student satisfaction with teaching and facilities, and relevance of their university experience to post-university life. Questionnaires were sent to 78,000 students, 300 for each university, and students were asked to answer each question on a scale of 1 to 5. A threshold of 30 responses from each institution had to be met in order for the school to receive a ranking.

The ultimate purpose of the survey was to broaden the perspectives of high school students and others when making their university selection calculations. No overall ranking was published; rather a ranking for each individual question was produced. General conclusions from the exercise were that Japanese universities had made gains in improving their facilities, however teaching quality in general is still in need of serious improvement. Smaller institutions were generally considered to offer better and more thorough education than larger institutions.

The survey was conducted in 1997 and 1999, but does not appear to have been repeated since.

Sunday Mainichi Newspaper (2002)

Rank

School

Ranking Criteria

S
c
o
r
e

L
a
w

P
o
l
i

E
p
o
l

Emp
l

Ma
n
a

R
S
S

RE
S

I
n
t

CEO
s

A
t
m
o

1

Tokyo

10

10

10

9

10

10

10

10

10

9

98

2

Kyoto

10

8

9

10

10

10

10

10

10

9

96

3

Osaka

8

6

8

10

9

8

10

9

9

9

86

4

Tohoku

7

7

8

8

9

9

9

9

9

9

84

5

Waseda

9

9

8

8

9

8

8

7

8

8

82

 

Keio

9

9

7

10

9

8

7

7

8

8

82

7

Tokyo Inst of Tech

-

5

8

9

9

-

9

8

8

9

81

8

Hitotsubashi

9

7

8

10

10

10

-

7

4

7

80

 

Kyushu

7

6

8

8

9

8

9

8

8

9

80

 

Nagoya

7

6

7

8

9

9

8

8

5

9

80

11

Kobe

7

6

7

8

9

9

8

8

5

9

76

12

Hokkaido

5

6

8

6

8

8

8

8

8

9

74

13

Tsukuba

4

6

4

5

8

9

8

10

7

10

71

14

Chuo

8

8

6

6

7

8

5

7

5

6

66

15

Jochi

7

6

4

8

6

7

5

8

5

8

64

16

Ritsumeikan

6

7

5

6

6

7

5

8

7

6

63

17

Osaka Prefecture

6

6

5

6

7

6

6

4

5

10

61

 

Yokohama National

5

5

4

6

7

6

6

7

6

9

61

19

Hiroshima

5

4

4

6

6

4

7

9

6

9

60

20

Doshisha

7

6

6

7

7

7

4

5

4

6

59

 

Tokyo Metropolitan

7

4

4

6

7

6

7

4

4

10

59

 

Chiba

6

6

4

5

6

6

8

5

4

9

59

23

Meiji

6

7

5

6

7

5

4

5

4

6

55

 

Tokyo Uni of Science

4

4

6

8

6

5

6

4

4

8

55

25

Kanazana

5

4

4

4

6

4

7

6

5

9

54

 

Kansai Gakuin

6

5

5

7

7

6

4

4

4

6

54

 

Rikkyo

6

6

6

6

7

4

4

5

4

6

54

28

Nihon

5

7

4

5

7

4

5

4

5

7

53

 

Aoyama Gakuin

5

6

4

7

6

6

4

5

5

5

53

 

Okayama

6

4

4

4

4

4

7

7

4

9

53

 

Hosei

5

7

4

5

6

7

4

5

5

5

53

Key: Law = no. of lawyers; Pol = no. of politicians; Epol = no. of elite politicians; Empl = employment opportunities; Man = no. of top managers; RSS = research in the social sciences; RES = research in science & engineering; Int = International faculty & students, CEOs = no. of CEOs; Atmo = Facilities and atmosphere
Source: Sunday Mainichi, Nov. 24, 2002


 

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