Amid reports of cheating by students, the grading of this year’s high school baccalaureate exams began Tuesday at four schools around Phnom Penh.
But as the tests’ weight increased—for the second straight year the baccalaureates also serve as university entrance exams—so did security measures surrounding it, one education official said.
Ian Kidd, chief technical adviser for the Cambodia-Australia National Examinations Project, said official answer sheets were stored on computers and only printed Monday to be given to teachers about to mark the exams. During pre-marking training sessions, teachers discussed how to award hypothetical answers.
Though students had in past years acquired official answer sheets before the exams, he said it would have been “extremely difficult” this year.
At a Monday Ministry of Education meeting where the Cambodia-Australia National Examinations Project was represented, there were no reports of any students acquiring official answer sheets before this year’s exam.
Kidd said that students who brought in sheets that they believed were official answers were still cheating. “I don’t want to deny that there is cheating,” he said Friday. “But the situation is improving.” He admitted that with teachers earning “barely a living wage,” they are susceptible to bribes from students.
To combat the phenomenon, teachers travel to different provinces to proctor exams where the students don’t know them.
They cannot be influenced during the grading process, however, because a code appears on the exams instead of student names. Scores and names are matched later at the ministry.
At Wat Koh High School, Pen Thyda, a high school teacher from Banteay Meanchey province who came to Phnom Penh to mark exams, was confident that some of her students at home could pass the exam without cheating.
who would like to bring in answer sheets with impunity. At the school in Kompong Speu where she proctored the exam, “everything was good, but I don’t know about the other schools,” she said.