No more leaks, please

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No more leaks, please

A packet of mock tests for the June College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), which candidates sitting in for the November state exam took on Thursday, is suspected to have been leaked. The Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation discovered that what a teacher at a private cram school taught his students coincided with the actual test.

The teacher specifically mentioned the passages from literary works and which questions could be derived from them. The institution is not yet 100 percent sure of the leak, but the possibility itself has angered and stunned students and their parents.

In Korea, the one-time CSAT result can determine one’s fate. The test result can be either definitive for entrance to colleges or play a major role in the admissions process. For students hoping to enter universities in 2017, the two mock tests in June and September are crucial to gauge the test features and levels.

If the state-administered packet was leaked, the legitimacy of the CSAT could be questioned.

The CSAT had been challenged numerous times in the past, since its institutionalization in 1993, both for the fairness of its difficulty level and for the ambiguity in its multiple-question section. But it has never, until now, raised controversy over a suspected leak. The incident must be thoroughly and quickly probed. The police raided the teacher’s house and car several days after the test administrator filed charges on May 31. The police do not seem to understand the gravity of the situation.

The Ministry of Education and the institute must re-examine the administrative supervisory system on mock tests. The suspicion of the breach was raised because surveillance must have been less rigorous on mock tests. Unlike the actual CSAT, designers of mock tests are let off when they are finished presenting their set of questions — instead of on exam day. They are therefore accessible to the public when test packages are printed and distributed.

Only five months are left before the November 17 exam day. Police and education authorities must act fast so that students can concentrate on their studies.

JoongAng Ilbo, Jun. 4, Page 26
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