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  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5733

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu County, Taiwan (not part of China)
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Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« on: October 15, 2013, 05:49:18 pm »
Here we go again.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2013/10/516_144334.html

ETS vows legal action against Korean language institutes

By Jung Min-ho

The cancelation of U.S. college entrance exams that were to have been held in Korea in May, marked the first time that SAT tests were called off anywhere in the world, and suspicions of widespread cheating here made the nation the subject of worldwide ridicule.

Unfortunately, the SAT doesn’t seem to be the only standardized test that is compromised in Korea. Cheating on TOEFL, widely used as part of assessment for university entrance here and abroad, is even more prevalent in a country that remains obsessed with English skills and academic scores.

The problem is now entirely out of hand, thanks to the negligence of education authorities here. Informed of the severity of the situation by The Korea Times, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the non-profit organization that manages the TOEFL exams, is now considering legal action against Korean private language institutes that have been providing their customers with samples of previous tests.

“After you deposit 300,000 won ($280) to my bank account, I will send you the materials (for the test on Oct. 21),” TOEFL teacher Kim said when asked if it would be possible to get ''leaked’’ questions. “The questions may not all be the same. But the questions on the speaking and writing sections on today’s test (Oct. 12) are the same. So, think about it.”

ETS regulations clearly stipulate that it does not allow “pre-knowledge” of the tests, including test questions, topics or answers. If ETS believes any test taker gained an unfair advantage over others, it can cancel test scores or ban the candidate from sitting future tests.

According to material obtained by this newspaper, the selling of illegal materials is blatant in many institutes in Seoul, including major ones such as Lee Ik-hoon Language Institute and Park Jung Language Institute. There, lecturers even promote their classes with real test questions that they somehow retained from previous exams.

Lee, a teacher who recently moved to Pagoda Academy from Lee Ik-hoon Language Institute, used test questions from last year to prepare her students for the test on Feb. 3. And her predictions on what would be in the test were right.

According to multiple students the prompts, “The three causes of the extinction of X,” “Three ways to restraint rootworms” and “It is more important to choose friends who have fun with you than to choose friends who can help you when you need them” all appeared on the test.

Another lecturer at the Lee Ik-hoon Language Institute posted questions of July 21 test on its homepage, noting that he was right about all the speaking questions, including “No.1 ‘Describe what kind of group you would like to participate in.’”

Yang Li, who works for the Office of Testing Integrity at ETS, said that the organization will take legal action against the fraudulent test preparation and cheating behavior, and requested The Korea Times to provide evidence of the allegations as well as the names of the lecturers.

“If ETS gets any evidence proving that any tutor/institute/test taker has pre-knowledge of test questions, or test content is being compromised by criminal activities, we will conduct a full investigation and take action to prevent further fraudulent test activities,” Li said.

“Also we are making great efforts with local authorities to go after the people or organizations involved.”

In class, teachers use their own materials, which are often obtained illegally to create so-called “question banks,” where previous test questions and model answers are stored for later use.

This material is not only what they teach but they are the core of what many students pay for.

“I decided to take the class because I urgently needed a high score. All the predicted questions were on the monitor. You have no idea how it feels,” wrote a Park Jung Language Institute student in a review.

According to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, Korean students in the United States amount to almost 100,000 this year.

But given that a good TOEFL score is not only required for admission to many English-speaking colleges but is also needed for special admissions to  foreign language courses at many Korean colleges, the failed test monitoring is a serious threat to standards and equal opportunities in education.

Evidence of cheating is rife; and damage to the integrity of the test can be especially serious in the world’s most wired nation, where such information spreads quickly online.

However, unless any penalties issued against the teachers suspected of leaking test questions are greater than the profits made if they are found guilty of the charge, cheating will likely remain rampant.

“If the evidence is clear, we can shut them down permanently, but there has never been such a case,” said a Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education official. “Owners of English institutes are confident that ETS will not confirm that the questions are leaked because it will also be an admission of being at fault.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


  • madison79
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1372

    • October 19, 2010, 01:26:04 pm
    • Interweb
Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2013, 06:54:28 pm »
Just another day in Korea.  Cheating, lying and blaming foreigners for it.  As my mom always said "SSDD"  Same Stuff, Different Day.
It's -ev to deal with some people.


Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2013, 07:48:01 am »
The Earth is round!


Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2013, 08:47:51 am »
That's why there are Koreans,even teachers, with high tests scores who can't speak a word of English. Colleges in the USA have been known to add department exams as a way of verifying the English abilities of foreign applicants.



You would think the Korean educational authorities would at least care about entrance to Korean universities. But why start now? They can just laugh it off as no big deal. It's ridiculous how little they care.


  • btpham13
  • Expert Waygook

    • 509

    • February 28, 2011, 11:02:04 am
    • Korea
Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 08:54:42 am »


  • Absenthius
  • Veteran

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    • June 30, 2012, 08:49:19 pm
    • Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2013, 09:59:07 am »
I'd love to be in the room when a Korean who cheated and just memorized test questions on their English proficiency test rather than actually, you know, learning English goes to study at a university in an English speaking country or gets a job in an English speaking country.

I can just imagine them squirming when their lecturer/ tutor/ boss is standing there waiting for them to reply to something they said and they just have absolutely no idea what they meant or how to reply.

Delicious.  :laugh:


  • btpham13
  • Expert Waygook

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    • February 28, 2011, 11:02:04 am
    • Korea
Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2013, 10:04:07 am »
I'd love to be in the room when a Korean who cheated and just memorized test questions on their English proficiency test rather than actually, you know, learning English goes to study at a university in an English speaking country or gets a job in an English speaking country.

I can just imagine them squirming when their lecturer/ tutor/ boss is standing there waiting for them to reply to something they said and they just have absolutely no idea what they meant or how to reply.

Delicious.  :laugh:

"I'm fine thank you. And you?" would most likely be the response.


  • DERP
  • Adventurer

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    • October 31, 2012, 09:43:01 am
Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2013, 10:17:42 am »
This is about as surprising as the post that declared Japanese and Korean people share a common ancestry.


Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2013, 10:21:08 am »
This is what happens when exams score pretty much declare what life you will live


Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2013, 10:49:34 am »
Quote
three ways to restrain rootworms

WUT? this is actually a test question? who sets these damn things?  :laugh:


  • afraley
  • Adventurer

    • 38

    • March 05, 2012, 08:35:05 am
    • Jinbu-myeon, Pyeonchang-gun, Gangwon-do
Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2013, 12:15:36 pm »

WUT? this is actually a test question? who sets these damn things?  :laugh:

Wait, why is that funny? It's fairly common to have dry and/or obscure topics for reading comprehension tests. I'm not sure I understand  :undecided:


  • gtrain83
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1755

    • August 27, 2011, 10:26:20 am
Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2013, 12:21:58 pm »
Quote
three ways to restrain rootworms

WUT? this is actually a test question? who sets these damn things?  :laugh:


I'm sure my public school classes are really preparing them for this. From It's Hanbok. We wear it on special days to discussing rootworms? Seems like an easy jump.


Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2013, 12:45:42 pm »
Cheating is a difficult subject and should nontheless be reprimanded. But this insane level of standardization and overemphasis has created an environment that allows bits of cheating to pass and accumulate to get one person( s ) ahead. It's definitely not a Korean thing, but it's most definitely a culture of insane brute studying and getting ahead of another.

I don't know the answers nor the solutions to cheating, but it's amazing how looking at some emerging research that just by having some look at the conduct of fairness before a test and signing that they adhere to the conduct of whatever test they are taking can dramatically shift the level of cheating pin down responsibility, and it can most definitely save a lot of organizations time and money. As well as shift away from this insane level of brute study and insane competition just a little bit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBmJay_qdNc Here is a great video, and it's worthwhile to look at Dan Ariely's research and several others on cheating.

It could potentially save a lot of headaches and it could be potential way to implicate students and those participating in these things to deter from doing them, instead of throwing money at the problem to try to band-aid it.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 12:47:36 pm by adriansergiusz »


Re: Cheating rampant for TOEFL, other English tests
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2013, 11:52:52 am »
Wait, predicting questions is wrong?

At school, for me at least, we used 4 or 5 past tests to practice the style of questions and stuff...then looked at which questions were most likely not on the paper. We didn't have the questions before hand, but common sense can often tell you what questions will be on a closed exam.