Approximately 700,000 face-to-face EIKEN speaking tests are conducted each year.
Jidō Eiken is a suite of tests and learning materials offered in three levels (BRONZE, SILVER, and GOLD) and made up of listening tasks designed to encourage young children in Japan to learn English.
Disclaimer: This English webpage provides general information about the tests but is not a direct translation of the official Jidō Eiken website, which is provided in Japanese. For authorized information or to register to take the tests, visit the official Jidō Eiken website at this link.
Goals of Jidō Eiken
Our objective is to support English education for children through test development. We hope to foster children who:
Jidō Eiken aims to promote these goals and support children who are learning English.
Characteristics of Jidō Eiken
|Listen and choose|
The goal of Jidō Eiken is to determine the examinee’s listening ability, which is said to be essential for children in the early stages of learning. In most sections, the examinees listen to English vocabulary/phrases, dialogs or sentences, and then choose the illustration (answer) that corresponds to what they have heard. SILVER and GOLD grades contain sections in which the answer choices are not illustrations but are written out as a bridge to further studies.
|Jidō Eiken attaches importance to the examinee experiencing feelings of joy and accomplishment by taking the test and therefore becoming more motivated to learn. Because the test is not pass/fail but scored by percentage, the children’s motivation will not be hindered by any feeling of failure. Examinees may use this information to decide which grade to apply for next time.|
|Variety of test formats|
|Jidō Eiken has three grades, which are divided according to level of difficulty. The vocabulary and expressions chosen for the test are based on the Jidō Eiken syllabus, in which English words and phrases are classified into different grades. The topics and settings of the questions are based on situations that children are familiar with. Some test formats will require examinees to use their imagination and inference skills.|
|All pages of Jidō Eiken test booklets are printed in color. This not only projects a bright and fun image, but also makes it easier for the examinee to understand the situation (the people, background, etc.) in the illustrations.|
|Subjective test section: "The Challenge Corner"|
Children have a strong interest in self-expression. Jidō Eiken has developed a subjective section called the Challenge Corner. This new format motivates children to actively take part in the test.
|Level of difficulty in accordance with English activities in Japanese elementary schools (Bronze)|
The main objectives of introducing foreign language activities into elementary schools are to develop a positive attitude in children to communicate with others, to accustom children to sounds and basic expressions of a foreign language, and to provide children with a deeper understanding of a language and culture. Jidō Eiken takes these objectives into consideration when developing the test, especially for the BRONZE level. This grade consists of very basic content and simple formats so that elementary school students who are new to English can easily take the test.
|Objective score data compiled from nationwide test|
Jidō Eiken is taken by children who study English in different environments. The test is administrated nationwide, thus the score data compiled from these tests is highly objective. Each personal Report Card shows the child’s score relative to other examinees of the same age and who have been studying English for the same number of years. Report Cards also give an easy to understand explanation of the score and advice about studying English.
Test structure: BRONZE
|Number of questions (sections)||40
|Test duration||approximately 30 minutes|
|Achievement goals||1. To be familiar with English sounds and rhythm|
|2. To listen to and comprehend words, phrases and expressions necessary for basic communication|
|Aim of questions
(areas of testing)
|Vocabulary & Phrases||O||Understanding nouns, adjectives and verbs in fixed expressions and basic sentences|
||Understanding basic conversations with one exchange, using greetings and verbs|
|Sentences||O||Understanding basic sentences (one to three sentences)|
|Everyday life (at home or school) including interaction with family, friends and teachers, routine daily activities, topics of interest to children, etc.|
|Examples of language content||Word categories||food, animals, colors, time, weather, numbers, body parts, transportation, basic manners in daily life, etc.|
|Word functions||confirming, introducing, agreeing, greeting, describing likes and dislikes, expressing gratitude, requesting, etc.|
Test structure: SILVER
|SILVER||＊The topics and language content of SILVER expand on the BRONZE level|
|Number of questions (sections)||45
|Test duration||approximately 35 minutes|
|Achievement goals||1. To listen to and to comprehend basic vocabulary/phrases and expressions related to everyday occurrences and to produce simple responses|
|2. To comprehend information in basic conversations and sentences|
|3. To promote interest in the connections between written letters and sounds|
|Aim of questions
(areas of testing)
|Vocabulary & Phrases||O||Understanding prepositions in fixed expressions and basic sentences. Understanding nouns, adjectives and verbs in various sentence types. Understanding words from within the same category|
|Dialogs||O||Choosing a correct response, understanding two or three short sentence exchanges|
|Sentences||O||Understanding two to three easy, short sentences. Understanding and responding to negative and interrogative sentences|
|Reading||O||Recognizing the connection between written letters and their sounds, exposure to simple, short words in written form|
|Familiar social (regional) life, interactions with new people and with people from other countries, school studies, extracurricular activities, general knowledge of matters related to a child’s life, etc.|
|Examples of language content||Word categories||hobbies, sports, leisure, shops, public facilities, school facilities and supplies, events, club activities, things in the neighborhood, words that describe quality and condition of something, play activities, etc.|
|Word functions||expressing desire, responsibility, ability, intention, choice, emotions, suggesting, answering phone, etc.|
Test structure: GOLD
|GOLD||＊The topics and language content of GOLD expand on the SILVER level|
|Number of questions (sections)||50
|Test duration||approximately 45 minutes|
|Achievement goals||1. To listen and to comprehend vocabulary/phrases and expressions related to familiar daily-life situations, and to produce questions and responses appropriate to the topic|
|2. To comprehend information in conversations and sentences, and to grasp the main idea of the situation|
|3. To read familiar words/phrases and short sentences|
|Aim of questions
(areas of testing)
|Vocabulary & Phrases||O||Understanding words and phrases in various sentence types|
|Dialogs||O||Understanding simple conversations of more than three exchanges|
|Sentences||O||Understanding more than three sentences that are linked, responding to and forming 5 Wh- and How questions|
|Reading||O||Recognizing basic words/phrases and exposure to simple sentences in written form|
|Familiar topics, events and culture of Japan and foreign countries, overseas travel, social activities, volunteer activities, dreams and future ambitions, stories, fiction, and solving problems, etc.|
|Examples of language content||Word categories||Words related to degree and quantity, occupations, things necessary during travel or living abroad, the natural environment, familiar social life, Japanese and foreign culture, etc.|
|Word functions||describing personal impressions, giving examples, describing ideas and expectations, exchanging opinions, etc.|
Choosing which grade to take
|Jidō Eiken||Children who are taking Jidō Eiken for the first time||Children who have received more than 80% of the total points possible in BRONZE||Children who have received more than 80% of the total points possible in SILVER|
|English conversation school||6 months to more than 1 year||1 year to more than 2 years||2 years to more than 3 years|
|Elementary school||1.5 years to more than 2 years||2.5 years to more than 3.5 years||4 years to more than 5 years|
|Learning the alphabet||None||1 year to more than 2 years||2.5 years to more than 3 years|
|Others||Children not yet enrolled in school but have learned English at home||-||-|
|CHILD'S LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
||LEARNING SITUATION||First Test||Subsequent Tests|
|Elementary school||Children exposed to English for their first time in elementary school, with approximately 10 classroom hours per year for 3 years or more.||BRONZE||→||BRONZE|
|Children studying according to elementary school curriculum, mainly through phonetic method focused on songs and games.|
|Children who want to increase their motivation to study English or to understand the pleasure of studying English.|
|Children who have an English learning experience of 2 to 3 years or more, but have no experience learning the alphabet.|
|Children with an English learning experience of 3 years or more with approximately 35 classroom hours per year (and can recognize the letters of the alphabet).||BRONZE||→||SILVER|
|Children who have received more than 80% of the total points possible in BRONZE and would like to challenge themselves to the next step (and can recognize the letters of the alphabet).|
|English conversation school/home||Children who are studying phonetically and have no experience learning the alphabet.||BRONZE||→||BRONZE|
|Children who know the alphabet but have no experience reading words or sentences.||BRONZE||→||SILVER|
|Children who have taken BRONZE or SILVER or GOLD and want to measure their achievement after a few months of study.||BRONZE||→||BRONZE|
|Children below 6 years old, who are not yet enrolled in elementary school, and spend their daily life among family or friends who speak English in their home or neighborhood.||BRONZE||→||BRONZE|
|Children who have received more than 80% of the total points possible in SILVER and can listen to and understand rather long sentences and conversations or can read words and short sentences.||SILVER||→||GOLD|
|Children who have received more than 80% of the total points possible in SILVER and have put more emphasis on reading words and sentences rather than listening to long sentences and conversations.||SILVER||→||
|Children who have received more than 80% of the total points possible in GOLD and are studying to learn words and sentences. Children who want to test their ability without being discouraged by the pass/fail line.||GOLD||→||
Dates and administration
|The Online Version is available year-round, on demand. The dates below are for the paper-based version.|
| 2013-2014 Academic Year
|Summer session||Registration dates||May 1 - 31 (applications must be received during this period)|
|Test dates||Jun 17 - 23|
|Fall session||Registration dates||Sep 2 - Oct 4 (applications must be received during this period)|
|Test dates||Oct 21 - 27
|Winter session||Registration dates||Dec 2, 2013 - Jan 13, 2014 (applications must be received during this period)|
|Test dates||Feb 3 - 9, 2014
|Duration of test||BRONZE: approximately 30 minutes / SILVER: approximately 35 minutes / GOLD: approximately 45 minutes|
|Test fees (includes tax)||BRONZE: 2,000 yen / SILVER: 2,200 yen / GOLD: 2,400 yen|
|Test sites||A site / location determined by the representative of each individual group or organization|
|Test administration||Administered by the representative of the group (administration date and time will be designated by the representative during the period of the specified seven days)|
|Qualifications||1. Group registered with STEP|
|2. Must have 5 or more applicants|
|3. No given qualifications for examinees|
|* Examinees may take 2 adjacent grades.|
|Required documents||1. Application for group test site|
|2. Application fee|
|Notification of results||1. CERTIFICATES for each individual examinee at their test site|
|2. Report Cards for each individual examinee at their test site|
|3. A Group Report Card|
|* Results will be delivered approximately one month after the test.|
Report cards and feedback
|A CERTIFICATE will be issued to all examinees. This CERTIFICATE is written in English and a BRONZE, SILVER or GOLD medal sticker will be enclosed so that the examinee can put it on the CERTIFICATE. Many teachers report that: CERTIFICATE encourages the students” and “I enjoy seeing the children’s smile as I hand out the CERTIFICATES to each of them and read the English statements written on the CERTIFICATES.”|
|GROUP REPORT CARD|
|The list shows the results for all the examinees in your group. If an examinee has taken Jidō Eiken in the past, scores for the past three tests will be indicated. Scores for each of the four testing fields will be listed, which will enable you to compare the strengths and weaknesses of an examinee. The report will also suggest which grade each student should take the next time.|
|The list will indicate the percent of correct answers for each question. Each section of the test will have a specific explanation of which area (vocabulary/phrases, dialogs, sentences or reading) was emphasized. National scores will also be indicated for each question. It may be used to compare where the examinees stand on a national level.|
|Data of examinees and average scores by age, experience in studying English and prefecture will be displayed in charts and graphs.|
|THE JR. STEP TEST "PERFECT SCORE AWARD"|
|Jidō Eiken presents examinees who achieved a perfect score of 100% on the BRONZE, SILVER or GOLD with the “Perfect Score Award” (does not include examinees of the Jr. STEP Online Test, although all registered examinees receive the Jidō Eiken CERTIFICATE). The purpose of the “Perfect Score Award” is to raise the incentive for learning English and thereby increase familiarity with English, rouse curiosity about English and enjoy positive communication in English. The concept of the “Perfect Score Award” came from comments by parents and educators who wanted to “encourage children to study harder in order to do their best. It is our hope that the “Perfect Score Award” gives children the incentive to learn more when studying for Jidō Eiken.|
Registering as a test site
|Multiple groups may jointly administer an exam. Furthermore, children not belonging to a certain group may join the group exam. In any case, the representative of the group must take all responsibility of administrating the test and handling of fees.|
|RULES FOR ADMINISTERING Jidō Eiken|
|1. Strict observance of the test
2. Preparation of proper test site
3. Fair administration of the test
4. Safe-keeping of test booklets / prevention of information leakage
5. Protection of confidential data (personal data/score of examinees)
6. Prompt and accurate feedback to examinees
|PROCEDURES FOR GROUP REGISTRATION|
Please contact the Jidō Eiken Information Center (tel. 03-3266-6463) for any questions (in Japanese).
Deadline for group registration is 10 days before the final day of the test registration period. For example:
Test registration dates: May 1 (Fri) - June 5 (Fri)
Deadline for group registration: May 26 (Tue)
|HOW TO REGISTER|
|1. Applications must be received
by mail. Applications by fax or telephone cannot be accepted.
2. Additional applications or changes of grade level may be made before the application period ends.
*Application forms will be sent to registered groups every time the test is administered. When in need of more application forms, please contact us.
|1. Please pay test fees by
postal money order or bank transfer at the time of application.
2. Write your “Jidō Eiken group number” before the name of the payee.
Postal transfer: Please use the sheet enclosed in the application form
Account Number – 00190-7-594504
Name of Account – (財)日本英語検定協会
(Nihon Eigo Kentei Kyokai)
Bank transfer: Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank Kanda Branch
Account Number (checking account) 316455
Name of Account – (財)日本英語検定協会
(Nihon Eigo Kentei Kyokai)
|TEST FEE DEDUCTION|
|A group of ten or more examinees may deduct the “fee for group test site administration” from the total amount of the test fee. A calculation sheet will be enclosed in your application form.|
|SUMMARY OF OVERALL PROCESS FOR GROUP TEST SITES|
|1. Group registration - contact
the Jidō Eiken Information Center for group registration forms or download
them from our website. Please be careful to meet the deadline written
2. Application forms will be sent – you will receive an application form every time the exam is administered. Please request new forms if you need more.
3. Send in application forms – please pay the complete fee when sending in application forms. Test papers will not be sent if payment is not completed. Notify examinees in your group of exam time and date.
4. Receive test papers – Test papers will be sent at least 3 days prior to the exam. Please make sure to store them in a secure place. Please be aware that packages may be delivered while you are out. In that case, a notice will be left by the shipping company. Please contact the shipping service company directly.
5. Administer the exam –according to the manual, during the specified week.
6. Send back the test booklets – send back test booklets before the specified deadline. Issuing of Report Cards will be delayed if test booklets are not sent back promptly.
7. Results– Report Cards, CERTIFICATES and The Group Report Card will be sent to the representative of the group approximately one month after the exam. Please hand the Report Cards to each examinee promptly.
*Jidō Eiken only. Rules and procedures differ for EIKEN group test sites.
Jidō Eiken FAQ
|What is the history of Jidō Eiken?|
Answer: Jidō Eiken was developed in 1994 by the Eiken Foundation of Japan (formerly STEP, Inc.). The first test was administered in January 1994. Initially, the test was administered to registered groups only, but in 2001, the test was administered at public test sites due to the growing demand of individual English learners. Presently, there are public test sites in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. It is administered 3 times annually, usually in February, June, and October. As of 2008, the number of students who had taken the test totaled 1,103,714. On our 10th anniversary, which was in 2003, substantial modification was made to Jidō Eiken with the objective to develop a “more fun, appropriate and easy-to-take test”. The names of the grades were changed from 3rd, 2nd and 1st grade to BRONZE, SILVER and GOLD. An increasing number of elementary schools are utilizing Jidō Eiken as a subjective assessment program and to increase motivation for learning in connection with the introduction of foreign language activities in the elementary school curriculum beginning in 2002.
|Is Jidō Eiken related to EIKEN?|
|Will taking Jidō Eiken boost the examinee's English skills?|
Answer: The aim of Jidō Eiken is to motivate children to enjoy English. The tests have no pass/fail line. Instead, Jidō Eiken encourages examinees to progress to the next grade (goal) by issuing English CERTIFICATES to every examinee, giving praise and advice, focusing on appropriate listening comprehension, using illustrations, etc., so that children can take the test enthusiastically without attaching a score to it. Jidō Eiken will motivate English learners and will also serve as motivation for future English learning.
|Can children take the same grade of Jidō Eiken twice?|