17 universities allow each other access to past entrance exam questions

Univ. accord lets schools copy tests / 11-20-06

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Seventeen universities have agreed to allow each other access to past entrance examination questions at their own discretion for use in entrance exams, starting in the 2008 academic year.

The accord will allow participating universities to avoid the hassle of having to check other universities’ past questions whenever they put together new examinations, and will help avoid awkwardly worded questions just to make them look different than other schools’ questions.

Under the current system, universities own the copyrights to all questions that have appeared on their past college entrance exams, and every university is required to come up with original questions every year.

Some of the parties concerned, such as cram schools, are so thorough that even partial resemblance to past questions can get a college into trouble, university officials said.

The new accord, which was initiated by Gifu University dean Toshio Kuroki, was welcomed by major universities, including Ochanomizu University and Nippon Medical School. Kuroki, and his colleagues are still calling on other universities to join the accord.

Under the accord, participating members will announce publicly that they will use questions from other universities’ past exams, and will be allowed to use the same questions, as well as partially modified versions.

The accord will take effect starting with the exams for the April 2008 university intake. Test takers will be notified in advance on brochures and university Web sites.

The Education, Science and Technology Ministry expects the accord will enable universities to improve the quality of their test questions, a ministry official in charge of supervising college entrance exams said.

Source: DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE )

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