Kumon Education and Research Association of Japan is a corporation and an education brand created by Toru Kumon. The Kumon method is the math and reading educational method which is practiced in the Kumon centers.
In 1954, Toru Kumon began to teach his eldest son, who was having problems in mathematics at school. Kumon developed the Kumon Method. In 1969, Kumon opened the first Kumon Center in Osaka, Japan with the help of parents who were interested in the Method. In 1970, he founded the Kumon Institute of Education, after which Kumon Centers began to open around the world. Since 2011, some 12 million students have been enrolled in Kumon. As of 2012, over 3.06 million students were studying under the Kumon Method at more than 12,900 Kumon Centers in 36 countries.
The Kumon Program
Kumon is a math and reading program intended to supplement rather than replace school lessons. Students do not work together as a class, but progress through the program at their own pace, moving on to the next level when they have achieved mastery of the previous level. Students are guided by trained Kumon Instructors and Assistants. Mastery is defined as speed (using a standard completion time) and accuracy. They take an achievement test at the end of each level. The ratio between the time the student takes on the test and the number of mistakes will determine which group level the student will be in on the test. There are a total of four group levels on the achievement tests, and the lower the group number the better the score. Group 1 is very good; the student passes. To go into Group 1, the student completes the test quickly, and must have a score of 90% or more. Group 2 is acceptably to; the student still passes. Group 2 is a more moderate time and the student must achieve about 70% or more. Group 3 is fail, the student either takes the test again immediately or does extra packets and takes the test again. Group 3 students are a little bit too slow, and/or they made a little too many mistakes. Group 4 is complete fail, the student will do more packets to get good on the level and take the test and get Group 1 or 2. Students who land in Group 4 are way too slow, or maybe they made a lot of mistakes. If any student passes from any level, they must reach Group 1 or 2.
The Kumon family, led by Toru's wife Teiko, owns 47 percent of the company. Forbes magazine estimated in March 2009 that the entire company was currently worth over $499 million.
The Kumon language program varies regionally. For example, the Chinese reading program in China is different from the Chinese reading programs in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the English program in the U.S., Canada, and the Philippines varies from the English program in the United Kingdom. Additionally, Kumon Korea has other subjects, such as science, calligraphy, Korean, and Chinese characters, which are not available elsewhere.