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Exam agency: No collective penalty for phone violation

THE National Institute of Educational Testing Service has dismissed as untrue reports that a whole class of candidates taking the nationwide Ordinary National Education Testing exam in Bangkok were disqualified when a mobile phone rang during the exam.

Officially, communication devices are not allowed in exams.

Assoc Prof Samphan Phanphruk, of the testing service, said a decision on whether the student who owned the phone would be disqualified would be made soon but the other candidates in the class would not be affected.

The student whose phone rang was taking the ONET's English test.

Samphan said the two-day ONET test for 12th graders, which started on Saturday, were progressing without problems, including venues located near anti-government rally sites. Some ONET exam monitors traditionally allow candidates to bring phones into exams but the devices must be on vibration mode.

The incident involving the phone ringing occurred at Rajavinit Bang Khen school in northern Bangkok.

The school does not allow communication advices to be brought into exams. Fellow candidates were concerned the whole class would be disqualified, with some of them posting online comments that prompted widespread discussion.

The online postings said the exam monitors pressured candidates to reveal who owned the phone but no one would admit to owning it at first.

Samphan said he had made inquiries with the monitors in charge and was told the phone was taken from the room and no other action was taken.

"It was a misunderstanding. Disqualification of a whole class of candidates in such a case is not possible," he said.

The director of Rajavinit Bang Khen school, Ruengyos Uttrasart, said the phone rang 10 minutes before the exam was due to end.

Ruengyos said the monitors gave a verbal warning and asked the student to turn off the phone, as it appeared to them that the student was not trying to cheat but simply forgot to turn it off before the exam began.


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