Entrance exam watchdog releases decade-long tally of cheating cases


Japan’s unified college entrance exams have been tainted by 65 irregularities — including two substitute test-takers — over the past decade, the exam’s supervising body has revealed.

This resulted in the punishment of 67 people by invalidating test scores in all subjects, the National Center for University Entrance Examinations said Saturday.

Cases of misconduct were discovered each year from 2006 to 2015, the center said, noting that it had withheld the details until now.

The disclosure was made ahead of the start of this year’s two-day unified entrance examinations on Jan. 16, which will see students flock to testing centers in 31 prefectures.

Of the 65 cases, 30 concerned test takers who continued to work after time ran out, 13 involved unauthorized use of rulers, and eight concerned using or possession of cheat sheets.

In 2008 proxy case, a high school student took the math exam at a testing site at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology on behalf of a schoolmate after learning she would be unable to finish because she felt sick.

The student attempted to take two math tests using her schoolmate’s name and examinee number, but the supervisor discovered that the examinee number on the answer sheet was different from the exam admission slip on her desk.

The substitute, who was asked to leave during the test, later said she did it because she pitied her schoolmate.

The other fake test-taker was busted at a testing site at Kyoto Tachibana University in 2010. Two male students from the same high school had switched names and examinee numbers for the math test. The irregularity was discovered during the grading process.

The use of proxies for college entrance exams is relatively rare, but other cases have come to light before, including one at Chuo University in 2009 that prompted the school to nullify admission for the applicant.

A major proxy scandal also occurred at Meiji University in 1991, resulting in several arrests that included the former manager of its baseball team.

  • kyushuphil

    Kyodo, author of this piece, has gotten off easy.

    He (or she) has not sought to put these Japanese numbers in the context of other Asian countries, where annual standardized test exams are also idiotically stressful.

    Worse, he (or she) has not ventured to assess the greater damages from this system of singular, high-stakes testing.

    The Japanese have a term, “sadamerarete iru,” which indicates the attitude that people accept as given that everything we need to know — or, more properly, everything an Asian person needs to know — is already known at the top, is already given. It’s just our job (or the job of the properly servile) to clue in to the given status quo. Clue in. Fit in. Ask no questions. Ever.

    This may be fine for the spheres of science and math, where Asians excel. But isn’t it otherwise a form of imaginative disaster? Shuji Nakamura, Japanese ex-pat winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry recently, has said so. Haruki Murakami has said so (at the address he gave in Catalonia, June, 2011). Many Japanese novelists have said so, looking at the damages in a society beset not only by the pressures of conformism, but also by the accompanying pressures of rampant materialism.

    Can’t Kyodo — or anyone — expand on the reporting here which only invites more?