Review after English test paper goes missing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 May, 2006, 12:00am

The University of Hong Kong is to review its test procedures for English enhancement courses for undergraduates after a test paper went missing during a continuous assessment test.

The same English test was run on several occasions over one week in March for 480 second-year science students from different classes. One paper disappeared from a class during the middle of the week, sparking fears that it had been circulated among students and used for mass cheating.

The university's English Centre ran a single retake of the test yesterday for the whole group. A total of 475 students attended, with five absent, and the papers were marked the same day.

A joint statement issued last night by the centre and the science faculty said: 'While there was no tangible evidence of cheating by any of the students, the English Centre decided immediately, as a measure to ensure fairness to all students, to require all students to retake the test.

'The English Centre and the faculty of science do not tolerate any form of cheating or plagiarising behaviour. If there is sufficient evidence of any cheating behaviour in this particular incident, the case will be referred to the university's disciplinary committee.

'We believe this is only an isolated incident and there is no evidence for any common behaviour of academic dishonesty ... The English Centre will review the current test procedures to enhance measures to ensure an honest and fair testing mechanism.'

A science faculty spokeswoman said: 'We did this rerun because one paper was missing and the invigilator had no idea where the paper had gone. The paper went missing during a sitting of the test in the middle of the week.'

Registrar Henry Wai Wing-kun declined to comment on how many of the students could have cheated using the missing exam paper.

'We are still waiting for a report from the English Centre,' he said. 'It is unfair to the students if we now conclude that there was cheating or 'group cheating'. The university is serious about any form of cheating. We have never had any 'group cheating' cases before.'