After thousands of teachers completed grading the grade 12 national exam on Wednesday, the education minister on Thursday predicted improved results compared to last year, when less than 25 percent of students passed the first round of the test.
The Education Ministry reported only one case of cheating this year—compared to about 20 in 2014—following reforms implemented last year to clean up the exam. Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said Thursday that the passing rate among the 83,341 students who took the exam this year was also likely to improve.
“It’s too early to conclude because our experience shows that the estimates are not correct, so we don’t want to speculate,” he said. “But I think there has been improvement from last year in all the subjects.”
After last year’s exam, the government announced a second-chance test that resulted in a final passing rate of about 40 percent.
The Education Ministry announced before this year’s exam that there would be no second try.
In order for a student to pass the exam they must achieve an overall score of 47 percent.
Leang Seng Hak, director of the department of training and calibration at the Education Ministry, who oversaw marking of the math section, said scores were up this year.
“I can only tell you that the results are better than last year,” he said.
However, Mit Sakhorn, a high school teacher in Phnom Penh who graded math exams, said improvements would be slim. He said less than 30 percent of the papers he reviewed scored at least 50 percent, the passing grade for the math section.
“They had tried very hard to improve their abilities in mathematics,” he said of test takers. “But their results are somehow still not much improved.”
Exam results are due to be released on September 15 and 16.