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Test center plays wrong English tape for students


09:54, June 19, 2012

The mismanagement of the listening section of China's biannual College English Test left more than 2,000 students stuck in exam rooms for four hours after their exams finished last Saturday at a college in east China's Jiangxi Province.

Users of Sina Weibo, China's most popular Twitter-like microblogging service, broke the news, saying instructors at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in the city of Jingdezhen mistakenly played the listening section for the College English Test Band Six (CET-6) - which was scheduled to be broadcast at 3pm for those sitting the CET-6 - to those taking the lower-level test of Band Four (CET-4) at 9am instead.

In order to prevent the CET-6 test questions from being disclosed, school authorities asked more than 2,000 CET-4 examinees to remain in the exam rooms until the listening section of the CET-6 exam finished.

The institute posted an announcement on its website on Sunday, saying five faculty members, including the chief examiner of the exam site, received punishment ranging from demotion to removal.

"The serious incident was caused by 'loose management' and relevant faculty members' 'negligence,'" the posting said.

"The mishandling was blamed on an exam paper handler who mistakenly regarded the Arabic number "Six" in the "Band Six" as the month of June when he fetched the tapes for the CET-4 examinees in the institute on Saturday morning," Zeng Desheng, the institute's publicity official, said yesterday.

The situation escalated after thousands of Internet users took to the web. School authorities said they organized teachers to calm the students by offering them free lunch.

"This was the second time that I sat the CET-4. I was fully prepared this time, but the incident totally disrupted my train of thought," a CET-4 examinee "guo'er" from the institute's Ceramic Design Department said, opting to give her weibo user name.

In China's universities, CET-4 or CET-6 is a requirement for university students applying for higher education. Many universities won't let a student graduate without such a certificate, and it is also a prerequisite for those entering China's highly competitive job market.


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