Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Exam pass rate increases



Exam pass rate increases

A student reacts after receiving the results of her grade-12 examination yesterday at Phnom Penh’s Preah Sisowath High School.
A student reacts after receiving the results of her grade-12 examination yesterday at Phnom Penh’s Preah Sisowath High School. Hong Menea

Exam pass rate increases

The number of students who passed Cambodia’s high-stakes grade-12 exam saw only a slight increase this year, signalling that scores may be plateauing after an overhaul to weed out rampant cheating in 2014.

A total of 63.84 percent of the 99,728 students who sat this year’s exam scored above the minimum passing mark of 47 percent, up from 62 percent of students last year, according to a statement from the Ministry of Education released yesterday. The pass rate was a woefully low 27.5 percent in 2014 when the cheating crackdown began.

Of those who passed this year, 424 students aced the exam, up from 405 last year, and just 11 in 2014.

The excitement of those waiting to see their grades – and the anxiety of those less confident in their performance – was palpable at Preah Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh yesterday.

While some clasped hands and chattered away in small clusters, others sat with their heads in their hands awaiting their results, which factor heavily into university admissions.

Among the students was 17-year-old Ban Chanvutha, who jumped and squealed with joy when she realised she had received an A.

“I never thought I could get a result like this. I am very excited. I studied hard with my friends before the exam,” she said, adding she hoped to go on and study graphic design at university.

A total of 2,464 students received a B grade, while 46,657 students scraped by with an E.

Khan Chanpisey, 16, said she hoped to study management after receiving a B. “This is the best result for me – I am very happy. I tried to study hard, and studied one full year before the exam,” she said.

But not everyone shared in the jubilation. Ya Ranath, 19, said he may give up on studying after he failed the exam.

“I am very sorry I failed. I tried to study, too – why did I fail like this?” he said.

Twenty-eight students were failed automatically and received a score of zero after they were caught attempting to cheat, according to an Education Ministry statement yesterday, with offences ranging from sneaking in documents, calculators and cellphones, to going so far as hiring someone else to take the exam in their place.

The ministry also found 28 cases in which academic staff had made mistakes during the exam process, with some being punished by having their names erased from the promotion list for two years or being suspended from ever overseeing exams again.

Education Ministry spokesman Ros Salin did not respond to requests for comment.

San Chey, executive director at the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the increase in students passing the exam was “a sign of progress”, adding he had detected an improvement in students’ attitudes since the exam reform in 2014.

“They feel much more trust in themselves – they never expect to pass the exam with bribery,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,

  • More than 540 deported in first nine months

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) deported 542 foreigners in the first nine months of this year for various offences. GDI spokesman Keo Vanthan said the deportees were a mix of 40 nationalities, most of them Chinese. Since 2014, he said the GDI had