[EDITORIALS]College test is badly broken

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[EDITORIALS]College test is badly broken

The Board of Audit and Inspection announced that 30 of the persons who wrote or reviewed questions for last year’s College Scholastic Ability Test were unqualified to do so. Twelve did not meet the selection criteria for university faculty members to join the panel: full-time lecturers or professors. And 13 of the high school teachers selected lacked five years of experience in that job, as the standards required.
But shockingly, five professors on the panel had children who were going to take the test. The flaws in the test-writing procedures are astounding.
All the students who took the test and their parents would go to great lengths to get better CSAT scores. Students and parents laugh and cry at a difference of one or two points. This is even more a reason for tests to be thoroughly supervised. When testing management is as unreliable as it is, no one can give the test any credibility.
And other flaws were found on last year’s test. One question had two correct answers; both had to be accepted. A professor who moonlighted working for a test-teaching Web site used a passage from his own thesis as a reading selection on the test.
More than half of the panelists graduated from the same university. Ninety-three percent of the high school teachers on the panel were from the Seoul metropolitan area.
The Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation supposedly set up a panel to review the test-writers’ qualifications, but that panel reportedly did not even meet. The board discovered that officials who recommend panelists in the fields of their expertise had recommended, people they knew personally or those about whom they had information on hand, without creating a pool of panelists. There are rumors that the “CSAT Mafia” has special links with cram schools.
The board should therefore disclose the composition of the panels for the past 10 years and tell the people what has been going on. The institute should be held accountable and the ministry should pay a price for letting it manage things that way. We can set up a resource pool of qualified test writers and a question bank after that. If we let these problems pass, our entire CSAT system will meet with catastrophe.
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