SOAS University of London

Japanese Learning Outcomes

Contact: Kazumi Tanaka 
Department: SOAS Japan and Korea Department


The aim of this project is to:

  • evaluate the communicative competence required during the compulsory year abroad in Japan in Year 3
  • establish the communicative competence to be attained in the BA Japanese degree, in line with relevant national policies and frameworks
  • incorporate the CEFR level descriptors as learning outcomes in the form of a checklist.


For this project, the focus will be on speaking and listening skills in Year 2 and Year 4, before and after the year abroad. The checklist will be reflected in the ongoing development of the course syllabi.

Aims and Objectives

The students will benefit:

  • by studying towards meeting a definitive list of learning outcomes, as depicted in the produced checklist
  • by using the checklist as self-assessment tool
  • by using the checklist to assess progress

The teachers will benefit:

  • by using the checklist to design courses
  • by using the checklist to assess progress


The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) provides a basis for the mutual recognition of language qualifications. The CEFR is widely accepted and used in continental Europe and has been debated in Japan lately too. It is essential that SOAS language courses are transparent and transferrable in the global market. In particular, it is essential that learning outcomes for practical language skills are transparent and clear to our own students and teachers, potential future employers, and other educational institutions.

There are no other institutions in the UK that have adapted CEFR into Japanese curriculum formally. From my network through the British Association of Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ), I have heard that teachers of Japanese at other HE institutions are interested in the use of CEFR, but they are reluctant to commit themselves yet. This is a great opportunity for SOAS to take the lead.

Within SOAS, the checklist created may serve as a model for other languages at SOAS.