Scorers of open-ended questions in Japan's unified entrance exam may include college students


University students could be among scorers for open-ended questions in tests to be conducted under a new unified university entrance examination system starting in fiscal 2020, the private contractor tasked with the scoring work has said.

The Center for Research on Learning and Educational Assessments also said Tuesday that at least three scorers will be assigned for each open-ended question, to be introduced for the subjects of Japanese and mathematics.

Applicants for the scoring job “must have received a degree from or be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs” at universities, said the unit of major Japanese educational service firm Benesse Holdings Inc.

The Benesse unit disclosed the details of its scoring system as part of its efforts to assuage concerns among potential test-takers as to whether quality and fairness in scoring will be secured, especially because part-timers are expected to be included in the some 10,000 scorers.

Those who pass academic and aptitude tests, as well as interviews, will be registered as scorers and undergo multiple training sessions. On every day of the test-scoring period, they will take an additional test, and only those who pass the daily tests will be allowed to give scores on each day.

At least three people will be tasked to score responses to each question on the examination test. If the first two people give the same points to a response, a third person will check the appropriateness of the score. If the first two give different scores, a scorer of a higher rank will score the response.

The scoring work will be conducted at a special venue, and scorers will be required to leave their mobile phones and other items in a locker during work.

Under the unified university entrance examination system, responses from some 500,000 test-takers must be scored within 20 days.

“In the annual open-ended-question-style academic test for high school students conducted by the Benesse group, we return some 4.57 million sheets of test responses from some 1.3 million test-takers in around 20 days after scoring the responses,” the company said, highlighting its sufficient track record in scoring work.

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