Saturday 24 February 2018

Australian student mocked after appealing 99.95pc exam score

Sarah Hui Xin Wong. Photo: Facebook
Sarah Hui Xin Wong. Photo: Facebook

Jonathan Pearlman

A STUDENT in Australia has been widely mocked after she scored 99.95 per cent for her final high school exams – the second-highest overall mark possible – and then appealed against her result.

Sarah Hui Xin Wong, who attended an elite private girls' school in Sydney, said she had a wrist problem, suffered discrimination and her mark should have been 100. Her result, a university entrance score, meant she beat 99.95pc of other students – but she believed she would have received the top mark if treated fairly.

Miss Wong was ridiculed for the appeal, as was her mother, who was inevitably labelled a "Tiger Mom" after it emerged she had lodged the initial complaint to the board of studies.

"What's the 0.05 mark going to do?" said a comment on the" The mother needs to back down."

Another said: "It's probably a publicity stunt by her parents to get others to acknowledge her talent."

Miss Wong, now 21, lost the appeal to a state tribunal after claiming she would have done better if she had been given extra time or allowed to use a computer. Ms Wong has joint hypermobility of the wrist and hand but claimed the board of studies failed to accommodate her during her English and modern history exams.

Now studying a combined degree in science and medicine at Sydney University, the country's oldest university, Miss Wong said she accepted her result was good for a "normal person" but believed her disability had not properly been taken into account. She said she lost vital marks towards the end of her exam papers because her hand was cramping and her writing became illegible.

"The point isn't that I was doing badly," she told The Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year. "I did do well, what a normal person would consider well. But you want your disability to be sufficiently addressed with special examination provisions so that everyone has a capability to communicate what they know ... otherwise it is not a fair test of your knowledge."

Miss Wong, a graduate of Abbotsleigh School in Sydney's north, was panned on news sites and social media for her claim.

"She did [score] a place in a medical course at a sandstone university," wrote an online columnist, Daniel Piotrowski, on The Punch website. "So the care factor here should be something around 00.05pc."

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