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Executive Vice President Tomokazu Haebara: Using My Research Experience in Entrance Examinations and Student Support

Areas managed: Student support, entrance examinations, environmental safety

Student support: Haebara
Tomokazu Haebara

Graduated from the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Education in 1977. Completed his Doctoral degree at the University of Iowa's College of Education in 1981. Became a professor at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Education in 2002. Was appointed as principal of the University's Secondary School attached to the Faculty of Education in 2008. Became dean of the Graduate School of Education and Faculty of Education in 2013. Areas of expertise: statistics, psychological measurement
As an executive vice president, I am in charge of student support, entrance examinations and environmental safety. Two tasks that I have to undertake right away are related to entrance examinations. First, the University must take action to observe the "Implementation Plan for Reforms to Connect High School Education and Tertiary Education" that was released this past January by the Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Second, smoothly implementing the University admission by recommendation system, which was introduced for the first time at the University of Tokyo and has been receiving a lot of attention, is also of paramount importance. With regards to student support and environmental safety, the University will have to comply with the Law Concerning the Promotion of the Elimination of Discrimination due to Disability, which goes into effect next April.

Since becoming an executive vice president, I have had the opportunity to watch games played by the University's team in the Tokyo Big Six Baseball League, as well as the Toshosen boat race between the University of Tokyo and Hitotsubashi University, thanks to my duty in promoting student support. For someone like me who loves watching sports, this kind of role is quite attractive. Moreover, I'm hearing that I will get to throw the first pitch at the Tokyo Big Six Baseball League's autumn season opening game (the president will throw the first pitch at the spring opener). It makes me really excited to think about how my time has finally come to stand on the pitcher's mound at Jingu Stadium.

Meanwhile, I am also in charge of handling difficult (and important) issues such as harassment prevention. There are some challenging tasks to deal with regarding this matter, but I want to make the utmost effort on all fronts to create and maintain a positive University environment for students, academic staff and administrative staff.
As a researcher, my areas of specialty are statistics and psychological measurement. Since I began conducting lectures at the graduate level at the University of Iowa in 1982—33 years ago—I have been involved in statistical education for students in the humanities. My Master's and Doctoral theses I submitted at the University of Iowa concerned the subject of test theory (within this field, one of the particular theories I wrote about was item response theory, or IRT, which has recently become a topic discussed in MEXT documents). The method for equating test scales in IRT that I wrote about when I was a graduate student is called the "Haebara method" and is featured in textbooks about testing in other countries. This method looks at the characteristic parameters of items on tests (levels of difficulty and discrimination ability) taken by different groups of examinees and expresses these parameters on a common test scale through which they can be compared with each other. This technique is crucial in enabling comparisons of results from different tests, a capability that is needed when administering the same kind of test several times.

My field of research also ties into the abovementioned tasks that I must involve myself in as an executive vice president. This autumn, I plan to give presentations at two symposiums: "Considering the 'Reforms to Connect High School Education and Tertiary Education' from the Viewpoint of Testing" (The Japan Association for Research on Testing) and "Reasonable Accommodation and Its Evidence for Examinees with Disabilities" (The Japanese Association of Educational Psychology). I want to apply what I gain from these kinds of research activities to my work as an executive vice president.
"My former students gave me this mug, which has the front covers of the books I have written printed on it."
* (The original Japanese version of this text was contributed by Professor Haebara.)

** This text is a translation of an article originally printed in Tansei 31 (Japanese language only).
   - Tansei 16 -

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