national

Errors result in highest ever number of entrance exams retakers

29 Comments

The National Center for University Entrance Examinations, the independent administrative institution that oversees Japan's national university entrance exams, has announced that this year's geography, history and civics test distribution mistakes have created the highest ever number of retaking students.

According to the center, test paper printing and distribution errors affected 81 test centers from Hokkaido to Okinawa, which account for more than 10% of the total. As a result, 3,462 students will be required to take the exam at a later date, NTV reported Thursday.

The center said that it is currently considering alternative ways for waiting students to retake the exams and that it will announce its decision by March.

The standardized exam is used to grade students applying to public and private universities in Japan. According to the Education Ministry, 555,537 students took the exam at 709 locations across the country, down 3,447 on last year.

Officials said that although serious disruption was avoided, reports of minor problems remained. For example, 200 IC players intended for use in the English listening test were not delivered to some test centers in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, the institute said. It added that 18 students in 14 test centers experienced malfunctioning IC players.

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29 Comments
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Destroying people's lives. You bet it all on that test and now you see that the system doesn't work.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

We are only human, just take the test again, make sure it is for FREE though!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

damn it now they gotta go threw stress all over again --# @mexican dude i agree, free test! i thought it was free though @@

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

March?

Everyone's going to have to decide which university tests to take before March. They have to come up with a re-test by the end of February.

Why don't they use the same method of re-testing they've used for the last billion years and do it soon?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

it is a sign that this tradition should be scrapped.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I wonder if these bozos could pass their own tests

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So the tests were okay, but they didn't print enough, didn't distribute them properly, and didn't have enough IC players or the ones they had were broken? Those are pretty big mistakes for such an experienced group! I feel sorry for the students, as they really get wrapped up in these tests, and are going to be hard-pressed to relax and take them again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What boggles my mind is that they don't actually have a plan already in place for errors like this. Every professional institute needs backup plans for disasters and emergencies...

If you bake cookies, you have to expect some to burn and cook more as a precaution. If you use computers, you have to expect some HD fatal error and always have a secondary hard disk If you give tests, you have to expect some errors to happen and have a backup plan.

If you run a nuclear plant you...oh wait

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Agree with bonword -- why on earth do they not have a contingency plan put into place in case of this kind of error? The IC player doesn't work? make sure you have a copy of the script (and maybe in the case of English test have someone there who can read English well as a last resort) and backup CD or something. I heard one of the biggest problems was with social studies, wherein the test method had changed greatly and the monitors/proctors didn't know what they were supposed to do for it.

Anyway, this really sucks for the kids who have to take it again, as many of them would otherwise be focussed on studying for university entrance exams. Now they've got to reexperience the hell that is this exam.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Haha the educated hahaha

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

this whole testing system is so utterly fracked up! Japan sorely needs to do away with this stuff its so unnecessary.

To the administers of this test, EPIC FAIL! Again! These stupid eigo players ALWAYS have lots of broken players, it happens every damned year & it will again & again & again, idiots!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Too bad the kids have to suffer. I remember the dreaded SAT. Only getting harder I hear.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Am guessing this is going to get described as... regrettable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wow, we just had a Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown. They're gonna be problems along the way folks....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As a teacher in a university who just went through this god-forsaken testing period I can tell you that the IC players are crap. Just use a CD like the EIKEN and the TOEIC and---get this!----there is a Center Shiken CD in the box for "just in case"!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you bake cookies, you have to expect some to burn and cook more as a precaution.

Exactly - that's why there are 13 in a baker's dozen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Samwatters and the rest, you criticize the IC players so much, but did you actually read the article? 18 players (in 14 centers) out of 555,537 malfunctioned, that's actually not bad. and of course they had replacements (I was there), so no student suffered from this problem. The bigger problems was with the delivery in Kesennuma, but that's a different story altogether.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

samwattersJan. 19, 2012 - 05:24PM JST As a teacher in a university who just went through this god-forsaken testing period I can tell you that the IC players are crap. Just use a CD like the EIKEN and the TOEIC and---get this!----there is a Center Shiken CD in the box for "just in case"!

... then just use the CD??

As for distributing the tests they should use the SDF. Have them deliver sealed packs with the required number of scripts plus 20% to each testing center 1 week before the test. Have the top person (principal, head administrator, whatever) + 1 local responsible independent (e.g. police officer) sign for them and lock them in a dedicated safe (not that expensive to set aside a safe for the use of the test for 2 weeks a year). On the test date the safe is opened by the top person plus one independent, the seal inspected and the package opened. Sheet inside detailing the procedure and they both sign that the package was complete and sealed when they started. Papers distributed. If any are spoilt, if there are any irregularities (e.g. student started a paper then started projectile vomiting and had to stop) then they're noted on the control sheet, and additional papers can be drawn from the extra 20%. Test centre keeps the carbon copy. All papers are returned to the pack (in a plastic bag if necessary in case of the vomited on one) and it is sealed by the top admin plus 1. SDF picks up papers over the next week. Delivers them back to the central depot for scoring.

I used to do this for a job. This is an airtight procedure. The likelihood of cheating is infinitesimal and the custody of the papers can be tracked perfectly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the system is coming to not workiing every year. it's getting worse. i observe it each year and think of japan and japanese getting worse. i took this exam in 1989, when there was no such thing as the internet or cell phones. nobody around me was using even word processor.

but we are in the globalized economy. the world has changed so much. they no longer are able to adapt to this system. - not just the system but the people's perception hasn't changed. look at them on the train or something when they are hitting books on english or some other stuffs. it's pathetic. their highest priority is set to nothing but english. gosh, it kills me. a lot more kids cheat the exam than kids 10 or 20 years back. exams are good, and so is this one. but the problem is the perception they have had on that, which has been just the same as decades ago. - now the world has changed, and the people has changed also. they are more likely to cheat on exams nowadays. meanwhile, they are still passive to learn things, which is a big side effect they have faced. they are so afraid to change.

there is a huge gap between the system and the people who are concerned with it. - and the gap is just getting even bigger each year i observe it. - but still, they are smart fellows, they are better than me. many call me i am idiot or something, and treat me that way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Get rid of the test once and for all. Take the students averages for their final year and those who get in, get in. Those who don't? Victory lap. Besides, in the end, everyone gets in somewhere anyway due to the population decline. This is just a huge money making scheme that needs to be done away with.

If my kid was made to do this freaken test again, I would be suing. This is the ONLY job these people have and they can't ever seem to do it properly. Fire them. And yes, why no back up plan??

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Timeon:

18 players (in 14 centers) out of 555,537 malfunctioned

They had 555,537 IC players?

Timeon:

no student suffered from this problem.

From the article:

18 students in 14 test centers experienced malfunctioning IC players.

But I'm glad to know they had back-up players and the 18 didn't suffer unduly.

Plus:

3,462 students will be required to take the exam at a later date,

But 3,462 suffered from a problem not of their doing, basically. Right? I also agree that the IC players weren't the main problem, but that the printing and distribution were.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Borscht, there are back-up players. Before the test begins, the students do a check-up listening. If there is any problem, the player will be replaced. If there is a malfunction after the test started, the student will take the test again in a special room, from the point where the player malfunctioned. The large number of students having to tae the test again is due to the test distribution errors. the system changed from the last year, and some professors did mistakes.

Tmarie, it's impossible to standardize the grading of the students in all the high schools all over Japan, and that's why they have a standardized exam.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tmarie, it's impossible to standardize the grading of the students in all the high schools all over Japan, and that's why they have a standardized exam.

And yet many countries manage to survive with the system I have mentioned...

No need to standardize an exam when... everyone gets in in the end anyway!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't understand the education system in Japan.. do kids get into uni based on their grades in high school or is it solely on the entrance exams or do the two compliment each other?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The National Center for University Exams... can't even get the exams right... they failed!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Depends. Some get in on grades - via the recommendation process which has been increasing in numbers - while some get in on the test. It is a really unfair system because the recommendations are mainly at private schools so... you can pretty much buy your way into a decent uni. HS and unis have agreements about numbers because unis are worried about student numbers dropping and HSs get to advertise that they got students into "such and such" a uni. Recommendation students are 100% guaranteed to come whereas test people can change their mind and go somewhere else ricking student numbers. The system is a mess and the test clearly needs to be done away with.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Timeon. True, the number of IC players malfunctioning may be relatively small but they do break down. This is a source of stress for both teachers and students. And let's consider the cost for a moment; 500,000-plus IC players plus their transportation is expensive. The students I have spoken to said the IC player quality of sound was poor. In the end, a CD reduces stress, time and cost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Entrance exams are nonsense. Public universities should be open to anyone, and private universities should admit whomever they please. Aptitude tests, or performance tests can measure students' previous efforts. But no test can measure one's true potential. The universities with the most interesting or attractive programs would attract the most pertinent candidates. Oh, wait, that sounds like liberty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese system. All by the book. If there's a system failure and not in the book, so be it. Let the students suffers... Look what happened with Daichi Nuke Plant of Tepco... Tsk..tsk..tsk..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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