Extra! Korea

January 18, 2010

Maybe this is what Tablo’s brother meant about leaking test answers

Filed under: crime, education — extrakorea @ 2:30 pm

You might recall that soon after the Infinity Challenge fiasco, David Lee, the brother of Tablo (a member of Epik High, a popular music group) wrote a brutally frank rant on his Cyworld, which is like a Korean version of MySpace or Facebook.

The students leak the questions online and get high scores on their TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to study abroad, but all they do is fool around karaokes and clubs on 32nd Street. They copy the reports from their seniors and get caught by the professors. They can’t speak a tiny bit of English, not even a simple phrase.

Now the Korea Herald and Dong-ah Ilbo bring us the news of a hogwon (private eduction instutute) instructor who has been arrested for leaking answers to the U.S.-based Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) to Korean test takers.

Speculation is also rising that cheating also occurred in Korea on other international tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, and the Test of English for International Communication, or TOEIC.

The fear is that Korean students will face discrimination when applying to American universities because of tainted credibility through scandals like this.

[ snip ]

The instructor is known to have paid 15,000 won (13.40 U.S. dollars) to a Thai national who took the SAT Jan. 24 last year in Thailand. Then, he e-mailed the test sheets to two Korean students, who took the test in Connecticut 12 hours later.

Reportedly a graduate from a prestigious private university in the U.S., the instructor is well-known as an effective lecturer on SAT reading. The two students took his class over school vacations.

The instructor reportedly told police, “The institute I worked for charged a student 2.8 million to three million won (2,500 to 2,670 dollars) per class or more than 30 million won (26,700 dollars) for 12 classes on the promise of substantially raising their SAT scores.”

[ snip ]

Police also said the test sheets might have also been forwarded through e-mail to 20 other students who also took the instructor’s class and the same test taken by one of the two students.

Maybe cheating to get in helps account for why so many Korean students struggle at western universities.

[Samuel] Kim [a doctoral candidate at Columbia University’s Teachers College] said the main reasons for the high dropout rate were lack of preparation and proficiency in English, and wrong choice of major and university. By lack of preparation, Kim means inability to cope with independence after the coddled upbringing and constant parental supervision typical of Korea’s affluent children.

Despite getting the high required scores on standardized multiple-choice English tests, students often realize that their actual language skills are insufficient to follow lectures and take part in discussions.


The Joongang Daily now has a article on the topic, though there doesn’t seem to be much new information. There’s a Korean translation for those interested in using it as study material. Actually, the Dong-ah Ilbo also has a Korean translation.

1 Comment »

  1. […] maybe that’s what Tablo’s brother was talking about. Leave a […]

    Pingback by SAT answers were also leaked in 2007 « Extra! Korea — February 10, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

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