Exam Scores Final, Ministry Says After Complaints

The Ministry of Education announced Wednesday that none of the complaints it received from students unhappy with the grading of their high school exams warranted a score adjustment, and that the passing rate remained 56 percent.

In the lead-up to the test, which determines university placement, the ministry told the 83,341 candidates that there would be no retake opportunity for those who failed, unlike in 2014. Instead, they were offered a 30-day period to file complaints over their scores.

Students and their parents gather outside the Education Ministry last month to submit complaints over grades they received on their high school exams. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Students and their parents gather outside the Education Ministry last month to submit complaints over grades they received on their high school exams. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

According to Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron, more than 100 students submitted appeals in that time, and in a statement Wednesday, the ministry said that none of them had been deemed valid.

“The results of the exam previously announced reflect the capacity of the students,” the statement said.

After reviewing the appeals, it said, a committee tasked with investigating the complaints found that the scoring of the exams was accurate and that the computer system used to calculate students’ overall scores across seven subjects functioned properly.

In order to file a complaint, students or their parents had to provide evidence of the students’ academic achievements that suggested their scores were not in line with their past performance.

“We had some cases that provided some evidence or statements from a teacher or school that they were a good student or the best student from the school, so we checked [those students’ exams],” Mr. Chuon Naron said Wednesday.

The minister added that the teachers who marked the exam used a standard answer key and employed a blind grading system.

“The teachers graded properly, meaning they did nothing that could be wrong,” he said.

“So the people who checked [the exams] did not see anything wrong.”

Phan Chhorlyda, 18, who attended Chea Sim Boeng Keng Kang High School in Phnom Penh and filed a complaint with the ministry after failing the test, said she was disheartened by the knowledge that her grade was final.

“I never expected to get a good grade, but my performance in school should have allowed me to pass,” she said.

“I wanted them to review my results because I have a friend who never came to school and she passed. How could she pass it?”

Chhon Sela, also 18, who attended Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov High School, said his score just didn’t add up.

“I appealed to the ministry because I passed three subjects and still got only 28 percent. And one of the students in the class next to mine passed only two subjects and got 58 percent,” he said.

“I think it was a technical error by the Ministry of Education, because people who got high scores failed.”

odom@cambodiadaily.com, retka@cambodiadaily.com

© 2015, All rights reserved.