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Five Sơn La education officials involved in high school exam cheating

Update: July, 24/2018 - 09:00
The deputy director of education of Sơn La Province was involved in wrongdoing in the high school graduation test in which 12 students had their scores in literature illegally increased, an official told the press on Monday.— Photo

SƠN LA The deputy director of education of Sơn La Province was involved in wrongdoing in the high school graduation test in which 12 students had their scores in literature illegally increased, an official told the press on Monday.

The education and training ministry’s Department of Quality Management director Mai Văn Trinh also confirmed that there were signs of modification to some answer sheets in multiple-choice tests in eight other subjects.

Monday’s announcement made the mountainous province of Sơn La the second locality after its fellow northern province of Hà Giang to have severe cheating in the 2018 national high school exit-cum-university entrance examination exposed.

At the press briefing, Trinh said 12 of 110 highly suspicious literature tests had been marked higher than they should have been by at least one point. One test was a full 4.5 points higher than it should have been.

The special inspection team deployed by education minister Phùng Xuân Nhạ to Sơn La also detected a problem in the scores of 17 literature test papers in which the initial marks and those inserted into the computers as the final marks had gaps ranging between 0.25 and two points.

Six wrongdoings

According to Trinh, the team found six violations by the Sơn La Department of Education and Training’s Examination Board.

Firstly, the board wrongly saved the scanned images of multiple-choice answer sheets to CDs and brought them out of the no-entry storage area. Where the CDs were taken and who allowed it is still unknown.

Secondly, the board did not properly seal off the test storage rooms and the boxes containing the answer sheets.

The scoring of the multiple-choice tests was not conducted properly while the computer involved in the process was not sealed off either.

The team also found that the answers of some students in multiple-choice tests were erased and modified before the answer sheets were scanned and sent to the Ministry of Education and Training. The number of tests that were interfered with has yet to be determined.

Lastly, the handover of the answer sheets from the test places to the examination board and the storage of the answer sheets did not follow regulations.  

Officials involved

Trinh said that preliminary investigation indicated that Trần Xuân Yến, deputy director of Sơn La Department of Education and Training who also acted as the deputy chairman of the local examination board and head of the multiple-choice test scoring team was responsible for the wrongdoings.

The names of another four education officials were also released, including the local education department’s Division of Examination and Quality Management deputy director Lò Văn Huynh, a member of the examination board, and three members of the multiple-choice test scoring team.

They were Nguyễn Thị Hồng Nga from the municipal education department’s Division of Examination and Quality Management;,Cẩm Thị Bun Sọn, deputy director of the Division of  Political Ideology and Đặng Hữu Thủy, vice principal of the Tô Hiệu High School.

Proposed solutions

As police are expanding investigations into the case while the deadline for the students to apply to the colleges nears, the inspection team proposed prompt solutions for the sake of the students.

The team would replace the initial scores in literature of 110 students earlier announced on July 11 with newly-appraised results. They will be used to consider the students’ qualification for a high school diploma and university entry.

Regarding the multiple-choice tests, the team said that it would temporarily recognise the initial results until police reach a final conclusion. Any new scores would be the final and official results of the students in the test.

Universities who want to re-examine students from Sơn La would get support from the education ministry, Trinh said.

The municipal People’s Committee deputy chairman Phạm Văn Thủy said the province respected the inspection results.

“Sơn La’s leaders are determined to strictly handle the case and won’t grant any exemptions,” he said.

Sơn La had more than 10,300 students participating in the national high school graduation exam this year with the average score of 4.21, the lowest in the country. The rate of students in Sơn La achieving nine points and beyond in maths and physics, however, outnumbered that of other localities that traditionally perform better.

Public pressure had forced the education ministry to dispatch an inspection team to the province on July 18, especially after Hà Giang was concluded to have 330 test results of 114 students modified upwards.

The police detained Nguyễn Thanh Hoài, director of Hà Giang’s Department of Examination and Quality Management and the deputy director Vũ Trọng Lương, for alleged power abuse to change the students’ test results. VNS


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