NIETS head quits over test scoring debacle
The chief of the executive board of the National Institute of Educa-tional Testing Service (NIETS), Khunying Sumontha Promboon, resigned yesterday as a gesture of responsibility for the O-Net and A-Net scores fiasco, which has left about 300,000 12th-grade students in limbo.
The failure of the testing system to produce results has also affected the schedules of many universities, forcing some of them to postpone the start of the new semester.
In announcing her resignation after a meeting of the NIETS board, Sumontha said she will remain at her post until the millions of answer sheets are re-scored.
"I want to show my regret and to say that I'm sorry about this incident, which has confused so many people," she said. "By now, we know there were two main reasons for the mistakes: the software system used to check the answer sheets and human error."
She said that as well as her resignation, NIETS acting director Prateep Chankong would not offer his candidacy for the agency's directorship, as he also wants to show responsibility for the mess.
This is the first year the O-Net (Ordinary National Educational Test) and A-Net (Advanced Nation-al Educational Test) scores are to be used as admissions criteria for higher education institutions. About 300,000 12th graders sat the tests.
On April 2, the NIETS voided the scores it announced just a day earlier after hundreds of students complained that they were given a virtually impossible score of zero.
NIETS has now set up an independent committee to work with the Commission on Higher Education, which has experience in running the old entrance exam, to re-score all the answer sheets in both subjective and objective aspects. It is hoped the new scores will be announced by the end of this month.
Because of the mess, nine medical institutes have had to postpone announcements of student recruitment. They expect to announce the names of this year's new students about a week after the scores are released.
Thammasat University's vice rector Thavip Chaisomphop said the university will postpone the start of the semester for about a week because of the problem.
Naresuan University rector Monthon Sa-nguansermsri said that with the help of the Commission on Higher Education, the new scores could be announced by the end of this month as planned.
If the problem is solved by April 30, the university won't have problems with its schedule and the new semester will start on June 12, Monthon said.