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Police to Investigate Test Leakage Scandal

Posted March. 17, 2008 08:31,   


Late last year, a scandal surrounding the collusion between teachers and a private institute to steal entrance exam questions of Gimpo Foreign Language High School shook the country. This year again, a similar allegation arose in relation to, this time, a nation-wide mock exam for the College Scholastic Ability Test.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said on Sunday that it has asked for investigation into an allegation that some math questions of the test, held on March 12, were leaked to an instructor at an “S” cram school in Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu. The instructor, only identified by his surname Yu, will be questioned by the Songpa Police Station.

▽ 19 out of 45 questions were allegedly leaked

When a rumor had it that 19 out of 45 math questions of the test were similar to the test questions Yu had distributed to his class takers, the education office called in nine teachers who created the questions as well as Yu to look into the allegation.

The agency concluded that five of the 19 questions of Yu were identical to the test questions and 14 almost the same.

“The question makers admitted that the level of similarity of the questions can hardly be regarded as a coincidence,” said Kim Woo-gyeong, a vice superintendent of the Secondary Education Policy Division of the education authority. “The school teachers and Yu are denying any involvement in the scandal, so we asked for investigation.”

▽ “Questions are drawn from study materials on the market”

In a phone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo, Yu denied any wrongdoing, saying, “I picked out good questions from the question book I had written in the past.” Being a big hand in the private education market, Yu is the author of many best-selling mathematics exercise books and had worked for a large on-line lecture provider.

“In addition to the 19 questions under suspicion, my books have more questions that are similar to other questions in the test,” Yu said. “The education office did not even conduct a thorough review of the exercise books on shelf, and now it is shifting the blame to an innocent lecturer.”

The exercise book Yu referred to is co-authored by seven more people, and some of them are incumbent high school teachers who were on the question maker panel of the test.

Han Chun-hee, another vice superintendent from the same policy division, refused to comment on the suspicion, saying, “We finished reviewing all the questions in a day and sent the document to the auditors. So I cannot remember anything.”

▽ The cram school to be closed regardless of the probe result

If the allegation turns out to be true, the education office is to dismiss the teachers who transferred the questions to the cram school. The “S” institute will have its license canceled as early as today regardless of the result of the on-going investigation.

“We looked closely into the “S” institute and found several management irregularities, including overcharging, false and hype advertising and non-disclosure of its tuition fees in its promotional leaflets,” said an official in charge of academic institutes at the education office. He also said authorities can close the cram school regardless of the probe result.

“The cell phone records of the question makers and Yu will be investigated,” a source from the police said. “As soon as we finish questioning Yu, we will question teachers who created the questions as well as students of the cram school.”