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Kyoto Univ. finds problem with 2017 entrance exam question, gives 17 students pass

Kyoto University Executive Vice-President Masao Kitano, second from right, bows in apology alongside other officials at a news conference on Feb. 1, 2018. (Mainichi)

KYOTO -- Kyoto University on Feb. 1 announced that it had found a problem with a question in the physics test for its general university entrance exam held last February, and would accordingly offer entrance to 17 people who were told last year they had failed.

    Executive Vice-President Masao Kitano and other university officials apologized for the oversight in a news conference, saying they would allow the 17 people to enter the university if they so desired, and would also offer them financial compensation. Officials said that another 11 students who were unable to enter the faculty of their choice would be allowed to transfer.

    The physics exam was a required test for 2,632 students who wanted to enter the Faculty of Engineering, and was optional for students wanting to enter six other branches of the university including the faculties of science, agriculture and medicine. A total of 4,429 people took the exam.

    University officials judged there was a problem with the question, which involved sound waves, after receiving an external inquiry on Jan. 15 this year. Officials said there was not enough information on the stated conditions to obtain a single correct answer, so all candidates were given full marks for the question, which was worth three points out of 100.

    Fourteen people had checked the creation of exam questions last year, and three teachers not involved in creating the questions actually solved the questions on the exam day, but they did not uncover the problem at the time, officials said.

    Following the discovery of the problem, it was decided that the university's president, Juichi Yamagiwa, would voluntarily return 10 percent of his pay for three months and that seven other officials would return 10 percent of their remuneration for one month.

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