The teachers union says that all students who scored 100 percent on the geography portion of last week’s national examination will have their grades changed to zero on the assumption they copied a cheat-sheet, by order of the Ministry of Education.
The union has protested the action, saying it punishes students who earned an perfect score honestly. But ministry officials and Im Sothy, director of the correction committee charged with grading the exams, denied that such an order was issued.
“Neither the commission nor the Ministry of Education has ever decided anything like that,” said Chay Chap, an undersecretary of state in the ministry.
But Rong Chun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, said correction commission sources responsible for the geography section told the union of the order.
“This action is unjust, because there are students who can [get a perfect score] without a cheat sheet,” he said.
If the ministry wanted to combat cheating, he said, it should have monitored the exam more closely, to see which students were copying answers and which were doing there own work.
Now that the tests are being graded, it’s too late to judge fairly who was cheating, he said. “It is…against the rules of the exam, issued by the ministry, which say that students who copy from scratch paper during the exam will get a zero,” Rong Chun said.
Correction Commission member Chroeng Lim Sry, director of the Secondary School of General Knowledge, countered that the commission can clearly tell which answers are copied. “In some cases, the student’s exam and the answer sheet are exactly the same—words, spaces and punctuation are all identical,” he said.
Last week, the union alleged that the solutions to the mathematics section were widely circulated in advance in Phnom Penh. The ministry denied those charges, too.
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