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Wednesday, March 2, 2011


New way of cheating

Somebody posted questions in Kyoto University's Feb. 25 and 26 entrance exams on an Internet site and third persons gave answers while the exam was going on. A similar thing also happened during the entrance exams of Doshisha, Rikkyo and Waseda universities. Cheating is suspected. What has happened undermines the fairness and reliability of entrance exams, as education minister Yoshiaki Takaki said. It is hoped that the police will solve the cases quickly.

In all the cases, the poster used the online moniker "aicezuki" and posted questions on Yahoo! Japan's "chiebukuro" (fount of wisdom) question-and-answer site. In the case of the Kyoto University exam, the poster started posting math questions — six in all — seven minutes after the start of the Feb. 25 exam, and answers for five of them appeared on the site during the exam and an answer for the remaining question after the exam. The poster started posting two English questions also seven minutes after the start of the Feb. 26 exam, and the first answer appeared about six minutes later.

It is very likely that a person who took the exam posted the questions by using a cell phone. One math question posted included a correction to the question written on blackboards in entrance exam rooms. The person may have photographed questions and transmitted them to another person outside who would post them on the site with necessary additions.

How could a person post questions while proctors were watching? A comment on the microblogging site Twitter said, "A Kyoto University proctor was not proctoring at all." A self-introductory sentence by the Twitter user was the same in content as the one on the social networking site mixi posted by "aicezuki." Universities must strengthen proctoring and may have to ban brining in of cell phones into entrance exam sites. How to enforce the ban will be a big problem.

Yahoo! Japan is set to disclose the Internet protocol address of the poster. This address identifies only the cell phone service and the connection times. The police still must go through more steps to determine the person(s) involved in the suspected cheating.

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