Taiwan education officials blasted over irregularities within junior high school exams

Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa yesterday apologised publicly while presenting a special report at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Education and Culture Committee, with lawmakers calling for his resignation over junior high school examination irregularities last Sunday.

Minister Wu said that "responsibility will definitely be accounted for where relevant," but the comment fell on deaf ears as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-shu called for education officials to resign for the incident.

Huang opined that among Minister Wu, Director Wu Ching-shan of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) K-12 Education Administration and Taipei City's Department of Education Commissioner Tang Chih-min, one should step down.

During the nationwide English listening exam portion of the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students on Sunday, several faculty proctors asked test-takers to turn in their exam papers three to five minutes early, causing consternation and tears among some students.

Director Wu said after he noticed suspected errors in the first version of the examination he drafted a document at the end of April and also sent an SMS to alert examination officials.

Kuomintang Legislator Lu Yu-ling blasted Wu for thinking that these actions were sufficient, citing problems within the bureaucratic chain of command. She asked him straight out: "have you already written your letter of resignation?"

Director Wu responded that the current priorities should be to ensure that the test-takers affected have their interests taken into consideration.

The MOE published a plan late Monday evening to compensate students affected by the error in examination procedures.

Sixty-four of the students who marked the correct answers but did not have time to enter their selections onto the score card would be given credit for correct answers.

Fifteen of the students will be given partial credit based upon the statistical probability (33 per cent) of guessing the correct answer.

An additional six students who wrote on their answer cards but did not fill in their personal test identification number will not have the listening comprehension tabulated onto their final score.

According to the MOE's written report on the incident, responsibility for examination proctoring guidelines fell to Taipei Jingmei Girls High School, with the MOE and the K-12 Education Administration responsible for "oversight."