2 bum questions in latest CSAT

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2 bum questions in latest CSAT

Education authorities announced Monday that multiple answers will be recognized for two disputed questions on this year’s College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), which was taken by more than 600,000 students 11 days ago.

The announcement followed an acknowledgement by the Ministry of Education on Oct. 31 that a question in the world geography section of last year’s CSAT was misgraded.

On Thursday, authorities said students who failed to be admitted to universities because of that question will be given a second chance at admission.

This was the first time since the test was introduced in 1994 that multiple answers were accepted for two questions: one in the English section and another from the second biology section. Multiple answers were accepted for a single question on the test in 2004, 2008 and 2010.

Kim Sung-hoon, head of the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE), a government organization that oversees the administration of the CSAT, said he would take full responsibility for the gaffes and resign from his post.

He is the third head of KICE to resign over grading mistakes on the CSAT.

The disputed question in the English section asked students to determine which of the five sentences commenting on a graph was incorrect.

The graph showed the percentages of Americans aged 12 to 17 who posted certain types of personal information on social media sites in 2006 and 2012.

The controversy was over the fifth answer, which read: “Compared to 2006, 2012 recorded an 18 percent increase in the category of cell phone numbers.”

According to the answer sheet provided by KICE right after the Nov. 13 CSAT, that was supposed to be a correct answer. The bar graph showed growth of 2 percent in 2006 and 20 percent in 2012.

But some students commented on KICE’s website soon afterward, claiming that the fifth answer was, in fact, incorrectly worded and should have read: “Compared to 2006, 2012 recorded an 18 percentage point increase in the category of cell phone numbers.”

KICE finally agreed with that argument, stating on Monday that it is correct to use a percentage point unit when referring to an arithmetic difference between two percentages.

So both the fifth and the fourth answer will be considered correct answers to the question.

Another grading correction was made on the eighth question of the second biology section, which asked students to choose which of the three sentences explaining the decomposition process of lactose was correct.

KICE initially announced that the first and second sentences were correct.

But later, it recognized a problem with the first sentence, which read: “When there is lactose, the RNA polymerase of the wild-type colon bacillus combines with a regulatory gene.”

KICE said that sentence “isn’t scientifically incorrect,” but that an error was made “in terms of language,” pointing out that it’s wrong to write that polymerase “combines” with a regulatory gene “when there is lactose.”

Two groups of students will be considered to have gotten the question correct: those who answered that the second sentence was right, and those that said both the first and second sentences were right.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [selee@joongang.co.kr]
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