Contemporary societies are constructed, constricted, and constrained by various series of examinations. Governments of both Western and non-Western countries tend to conduct detailed, multi-layered and continuous systems of tests or examinations. International tests, such as PISA and TIMSS, have also been introduced to compare the relative performances of learners within diverse educational institutions across different countries. Examinations therefore provide a methodological pivot for comparing a range of societies. They enable us to contrast the West and the East; the North and the South; tribal and mass society; ancient and postmodern civilization; and so on.
Comparing parallel societies from across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America, this book proposes fundamental transitions in sociological research from system to process and from communication to composition through intensive studies on examinations. It uses ethnographies, interviews, questionnaires, documents, statistics, and big-data analyses to make comparisons on broad scales of time and space. In so doing, it suggests hypotheses encompassing different kinds of societies in human history, including those in the Axial Age and the Modern Ages.
Table of Contents
Notes on contributors
Part I Preliminary Studies
1. Toward a Comparative Sociology of Examinations in Two Thai Villages Fumiya Onaka
2. Toward a Comparative Sociology of Non-modern Examinations Fumiya Onaka
3. Toward a Comparative Sociology of Modern Examinations Fumiya Onaka
Part II Multilocal Studies
4. Typology of Abilities Tested in University Entrance Examinations: Comparisons of the United States, Japan, Iran and France Masako Watanabe
5 Comparison of the Big Tests’ Origins in Japan and the United States: The Characteristics of “Elementary School Examination” in the Early Meiji Era Akihiko Hashimoto
6. The Historical Knowledge and Thinking Measured by Entrance Examinations: Comparisons of the United States and Japan NAKAGIRI Masato
7. Comparative Sociology of Ability and Examinations in Post-Manufacturing Societies from Interview Surveys in the United Kingdom and Japan Shinichi Aizawa
8. Comparative Sociology of 11 to 18 Examinations in Thailand, England, and Japan Fumiya Onaka
9. Research Note on the Comparative Sociology of 11 to 18 Examinations in Korea and Japan Fumiya Onaka
10. Comparative Sociology of Examination Reforms around 2000: South Korea and Thailand Fumiya Onaka
Part III Multi-oriented Studies
11. High School Selectivity and the Measure of Merit: High School Students’ Perceptions of the Various University Entrance Procedures in Japan Guillaume ALBERT
12. The Polish Language Matura in the Context of Examination History and in Comparison with the French Baccalauréat Łukasz Remisiewicz
13. How does Educational Selection in Singapore Define What and How to Test “Merit”? Sim Choon Kiat
14. The Pono’ (Pondok) Examinations in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand Fumiya Onaka
Fumiya Onaka is a Professor of Comparative Sociology at Japan Women’s University. He received his PhD in sociology from The University of Tokyo in 2007. His research focuses on examinations; careers; disabilities; and their relations with local cultures and processes, facilitated by the integrated use of ethnographies, interviews, observations, questionnaires, and periodicals. His primary field of study is Thailand, while secondary fields are Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. This allows for "thick comparisons" between several areas in these countries. He is the executive secretary of ISA RC20 (Comparative Sociology) and a board member of ISA RC33 (Logic and Methodology in Sociology) and ISA RC56 (Historical Sociology).