EBS texts get failing grade for accuracy

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EBS texts get failing grade for accuracy

The president of the Educational Broadcasting System yesterday offered profuse apologies to the public after textbooks used for the major college admissions test were discovered to be riddled with errors.

“We are trying our best to reduce errors, but we are aware there are still many problems,” said EBS President Kwak Duk-hoon in a statement. “Effective methods will be used to reduce the errors.”

Kwak was forced to apologize after a deluge of complaints from students who said they encountered wrong answers to questions in EBS textbooks. The official count of errors provided by EBS and from a report released during an audit by the National Assembly this month was 556, more than seven times last year’s error count. The number reported on EBS’ Web site by users has totaled 2,300 this year.

Errors include not only wrong answers to practice questions, but also multiple-choice questions with more than one correct answer listed, and misspellings.

The government had decided that 70 percent of the College Scholastic Ability Test this year would be based on EBS textbooks, and the test has been heavily based on EBS materials since 2005 to curb the need for students to get cram school coaching using lots of other test preparation texts.

“We are also keeping the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation informed about the errors so [those preparing for the College Scholastic Ability Test] will not be at a disadvantage,” said Kwak. The government-founded KICE supervises the development and implementation of the exam, as well as its scoring and data analysis.

One example of an error: in a practice test for Physics I, a multiple-choice question about power consumed between two locations on a circular conducting wire has no correct answer listed in the choices.

A high school senior in Gyeonggi surnamed Kim shared his experience using EBS texts.

One particular math problem befuddled him, forcing him to spend hours trying to solve it. The answer and explanation in the text book were no help. Then he looked up the problem on the EBS Web site and found the answer was completely different from that in the text book.

“I am confused and irritated since EBS did not correct the errors quickly after publishing textbooks full of mistakes,” complained Kim.

Grand National Party Representative Kim Sung-tae said during an auditing session at the National Assembly yesterday that the faulty portions of the textbooks would be excluded from the CSAT.

The test falls on Nov. 18 this year. Park Sang-ho, director general of school education at EBS, explained, “We have time constraints as we publish textbooks every set period. Therefore, we had limitations on correcting all the errors.”

By Christine Kim, Kim Sung-tak [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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