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Students exit Baktouk High School in Phnom Penh during the nationwide exams late last year
Students exit Baktouk High School in Phnom Penh during the nationwide exams late last year. Hong Menea

Test changes target cheats

In an attempt to crack down on rampant cheating on nationwide testing, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) has announced that primary and high school teachers will begin individually authoring and writing final exams on the white board for the 2014 academic term, MoEYS officials said yesterday.

Educators are seeking ways to stamp out cheating, which in recent years has affected the integrity of the exams, as widespread collusion between exam proctors and teachers have resulted in answers being leaked to students ahead of the test.

Eliminating paper copies of nationwide tests traditionally distributed to teachers by the MoEYS will stanch the sale of cheat sheets, placing more responsibility on teachers to ensure the answers won’t be sold as easily, said Lim Sotharith, a director at the MoEYS’s department of textbook supply and curriculum development.

“Doing so is to make the teachers responsible in case the test sheets are leaked. We will do as we did in the 1980s,” Sotharith said yesterday.

Even though the process of writing final examinations out on a board may be time consuming for teachers, according to Sotharith, it will pose a powerful way to hold teachers and test proctors accountable.

“If we can do it, I believe we can reduce and prevent copying or posting [final exam test sheets] on Facebook for other people to answer and use,” he said, adding that the ministry’s official timetable for implementing the procedure would be announced in the near future pending further discussions with Minister of Education Hang Chuon Narong.

San Chey, coordinator for the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP), lauded the reform efforts, while highlighting that any mandated changes required an examination of the ensuing effects on teachers.

“The ministry should discuss how to train the proctors and teachers administering the tests, especially if the subject they are proctoring is not their specialty,” Chey said.

Last week, a report by the Khmer Institute for National Development and ANSA EAP found that school textbooks paid for by the Asian Development Bank have been routed to district education offices, some of which have been charging schools for books that are supposed to be free.

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