(formerly known as the Credit Test)

CAJLS has been holding the assessment test annually for more than 50 years since 1967 to meet the requirements stipulated in the California Department of Education Codes Section 51243-51244-51245. It is estimated that easily more than ten thousand students registered at the CAJLS member schools have received foreign language credit from their attending public high school for their studies of Japanese at their respective nihongo gakko through the "CAJLS Certification Exam" procedure since its inception year of 1967.

Requirements to Participate in The Certification Exam:
    1. All examinees must be currently enrolled in a CAJLS member school.
    2. Examinees must be in the grade equivalent of American High School (9th to 12th grade).

Test Components:
  • The Certification Exam questions are prepared from materials taught from the Yasashii-Nihongo textbook series, which is published by The California Association of Japanese Language School Inc., and other materials which are considered by the CAJLS CTPC as being consistent with the California Standards for Foreign Language Instruction. The test questions consist of multiple choice/true false questions as well as free response questions, including an oral test.

  • The Certification Exam is comprised of 5 sections:
    1. Listening Comprehension
    2. Grammar and Vocabulary
    3. Reading Comprehension
    4. Essays
    5. Oral Portion

  • Each section is worth 20 points for a total of 100 points.

Requirements by Level:
  • <J-1>
  • The Japanese 1 (J-1) test is designed to assess the level of Japanese language proficiency of the English-dominant students at the end of their initial year of high-school level Japanese language studies (generally, the 9th grade level). No Kanji is required. Must be able to read and write both Hiragana and Katakana. Should be able to conjugate verbs in a past, present, negative, and interrogative forms.
  • <J-2>
  • The Japanese 2 (J-2) test is designed as the second year exit assessment instrument.
  • J2 covers all the requirements from J1, plus “Yasashii Nihongo” Elementary level and its application.
  • From this level, Kanji is required.
  • <J-3>
  • The Japanese 3 (J-3) test is for the third year exit assessment.
  • J3 covers all the requirements from J2, plus “Yasashii Nihongo” Intermediate level and its application.
  • <J-4>
  • The Japanese 4 (J-4) test is for the fourth year exit assessment.
  • J4 covers all the requirements from J3, plus “Yasashii Nihongo” Advanced level and its application.
Evaluation Method:
  • The evaluation of the oral skills has traditionally been executed separately one week earlier in accordance with the procedures established by the CTPC, and approved by the CAJLS C-T Chairperson and verified by the CAJLS President, at the site of the respective school where the subject student is enrolled for the specific Academic Year.

Certification Exam Schedule:
  • The testing date for the CAJLS Certification Exam for any given Academic Year varies from year to year.
  • Mid February:Exam Fees are Due and Member Schools submit finalized list of examinees.
    Late March:CAJLS provides examinee identification numbers and exam locations.
    Early April:Oral Exams administered at designated locations per Member School.
    Mid April:Written Exams administered at CAJLS designated location.
    Early May:Official scores sent to Member Schools.

  • Due to the fact that some schools do not accept the Certification Exam as an official test for school credit, CAJLS recommends speaking with your school’s administration to verify that the examinee receives school credit for 2nd language. This is the responsibility of the parents and students. CAJLS is not responsible for obtaining school credit.
  • All students must begin from J-1 Certification Exam regardless of their current grade level.
  • Certification Exam is a graded test not pass/fail.

Inquiry: contact Certification Exam Preparation Committee at

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