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1,000-plus disciplined after 100s of school entrance exam scoring errors in Japanese pref.

This photo shows the Ibaraki Prefectural Government building that houses the prefectural board of education in Mito. (Mainichi/Kotone Nirasawa)

MITO -- A total of 1,159 officials including board executives and teachers have been disciplined by the Ibaraki Prefectural Board of Education over nearly 1,000 scoring errors on prefectural school entrance exams, the board announced on May 25.

    According to the education board, scoring errors were found one after another from March this year. As many as 988 scoring errors on entrance exams for prefectural junior and senior high schools for the 2020 and 2021 academic years were found, and apparently four applicants were erroneously rejected as a result.

    The education board slapped 197 employees including the then principals of schools involved and nine teachers with penalties including pay cuts for errors that affected whether applicants passed the exams. Also, the board gave written warnings to 958 employees including teachers who made scoring errors judged not to have impacted pass-fail outcomes. Education board director Motonobu Koizumi and three former executives who have already retired will voluntarily return 10% of their salaries for between one and three months.

    The problem surfaced after a guardian of an applicant who had been rejected by Ushiku Eishin Senior High School for the 2021 academic year demanded this past March that the school disclose the exam answer sheets. In a reinvestigation by the prefectural education board, scoring errors were found at 78 schools among those that conducted entrance exams for the 2020 and 2021 academic years and had kept the answer sheets. Among the four applicants who had been erroneously rejected, three eventually enrolled in the schools of their choice.

    (Japanese original by Kotone Nirasawa, Mito Bureau)

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