Cheating on Waseda U. Entrance Exam: Find Ways to Stop Misuse of High-Tech Devices

Advances in digital technology have made methods of cheating on entrance examinations more sophisticated. Is it possible to deal with the situation through such measures as strengthening exam supervision? The central government and university authorities should consider specific measures again to prevent such irregularities.

Documents pertaining to a male examinee who took the general entrance examination for Waseda University have been sent to prosecutors on suspicion of fraudulent obstruction of business for allegedly taking pictures of the question sheets during the exam using smart glasses, an eyeglass-type electronic device, and sending them out via social media in a bid to obtain the answers.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, the examinee forwarded images of the questions he had photographed to his smartphone on hand and obtained answers from several people on social media. He allegedly paid the people who sent him the answers.

The examinee was quoted as saying he came up with the idea of cheating because he was afraid that, after failing to pass the entrance exam for a national university, he might fail other universities’ exams as well. But cheating on an entrance exam is an act of trampling on the efforts of other examinees. It is totally unacceptable.

The examinee’s entrance examination for Waseda University was invalidated and he also is facing criminal charges. The cost is extremely high.

In recent years, there have been a number of instances of cheating through the misuse of digital devices. In 2022, such fraudulent acts came to light regarding the Common Test for University Admissions and an entrance exam for Hitotsubashi University, with smartphones or a small camera used to seek answers from outside sources.

Since then, before the start of the common test, the National Center for University Entrance Examinations has instructed examinees to place their smartphones on their desks, turn them off and put them away in a bag. However, as some people have two or more smartphones, it is not easy to prevent cheating.

Eyeglass-type smart glasses are used mainly on the front lines of agriculture and medicine because they allow users to share images of what they are looking at with people in remote locations.

Information devices that are worn by users include wristwatch-type ones. “Smart contact lenses,” worn directly on the eyes, are also under development. Cheating on exams using generative artificial intelligence may also occur in the future.

To deal with ever-evolving digital technology, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry and universities need to consider measures to prevent a recurrence beyond the borders of national, public and private universities, while hearing opinions from technological experts as well.

One method would be to install a device to block communication with the outside world at examination venues. However, the high cost is said to present a barrier. It is hoped that reasonable measures will be sought depending on the size of the venues, the content of the exams and other factors.

In 2022, it was found that some job applicants had a ringer stand in for them to take online tests that companies used to assess their aptitude. Perhaps such cheaters imagine they will be in the clear once they enter their targeted university or company, even if they do use fraud to get there. However, it is obvious that they will suffer later, unless they have the real ability needed to pass the tests for universities and companies.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 17, 2024)