Students get extra marks after Onet bungles science exams

All Mathayom 6 (Grade 12) students who took seats in the Ordinary National Education Tests (Onet) last week will receive 24 extra marks in the science exam due to flaws in the test papers.

Samphan Phanpruek, director of the National Institute of Educational Testing Service (Niets), said yesterday the mistakes were due to computer errors.

Earlier, mistakes were found in two questions in the Onet Thai language exam for Mathayom 3 (Grade 9) students, held on Feb 2-3.

All test takers received 20 extra marks to compensate for those errors.

After the discovery of the mistakes in the Thai language exam, the test papers for Mathayom 6 students were rechecked to make sure there were no errors in them. Despite these efforts, mistakes were found in the papers when the science exam was held on Saturday and Sunday.

About 200,000 copies each of two versions of the exam papers (No.100 and No.200) were issued. Different versions of the test paper were issued to prevent cheating among the 400,000 students who took the test nationwide.

Mr Samphan said there were no problems with the No.100 version of the exam papers, but around 80,000 copies of the No.200 papers were flawed.

In that version 16 questions were repeated and 13 questions were missing.

The mistakes confused the students, who were unable to fill in the answer sheet correctly.

The flawed papers were found in test centres in Narathiwat province, Naresuan University, Prince of Songkla University, Walailuck University, Khon Kaen University, Silpakorn University's Sanam Chan campus and Chiang Mai University.

"Our investigations show computer errors were the cause of the mistakes made when publishing the No.200 exam papers," Mr Samphan said.

"To make up for the flaw, 24 extra marks will be given to all 400,000 test takers."

Mr Samphan said a committee would investigate the errors. Those who are found to be responsible for the mistakes would be transferred or dismissed.

"I regret the mistakes were made and I will do my best to ensure the exams are administered correctly. It is a lesson learned for us and I have to work much harder to prevent further errors and restore Niets' reputation," he said.

Thanawit Krintrakul, a Mathayom 6 student from Triamudomsuksa School, said handing out extra marks is the best approach, but not the fairest.

"It is not really fair because both students who studied seriously and those who were lazy and did not prepare will get 24 extra marks. Even one point is very important for us to compete in our university applications," he said.

He said he was fed up with Onet making such mistakes every year.

Muanrawee Thaneeto, a Mathayom 6 student from the same school, asked the authorities to reconsider the decision to use average scores in Onet exams to calculate students' grade point averages (GPAs) in light of the repeated errors in Onet tests.

This year, the Office of the Basic Education Commission decided to standardise GPA calculations by using students' Onet scores to determine their GPA.

About the author

Writer: Lamphai Intathep
Position: Reporter