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Test for Turkey´s ruling ´testocracy´
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 04 Apr 2011 Mon 10:15 am

Test for Turkey´s ruling ´testocracy´

Tests and exams rule over the lives of Turkish students and at times have more sway over their choice of study, and thus profession, than their own interests and ambitions. The outbreak of allegations that this year’s university entrance exam was rigged, the second such case in less than a year, has sparked panic among the public and brought out calls for top ‘testocrats’ responsible for exams to resign

New exam cheating claims rock Turkey despite a new system that produces a different booklet for each individual, with variations in order of questions. Hürriyet photo

New exam cheating claims rock Turkey despite a new system that produces a different booklet for each individual, with variations in order of questions. Hürriyet photo

Allegations of a second exam scandal in less than a year erupted in Turkey over the weekend after a mother in Artvin claimed to be able to solve 80 percent of the university entrance exam’s math questions with a simple code.

The shocking claim that a simple code could provide the answer to many questions on the university placement exam, which determines the fate of about 1.7 million students each year, was met with no clear statement from officials, instead causing more confusion among the public.

“There is no code,” said Professor Ali Demir of the Student Selection and Placement Center, or ÖSYM, which administered the exam.

“This code does not apply to any of the exam booklets given to students,” said Demir during Sunday’s press conference, adding that the booklets used in the exam would all be posted on ÖSYM’s website.

The Higher Education Examination, or YGS, took place on March 27. Shortly after, Ayla Varan, a lawyer and mother in Artvin, claimed that she had cracked a code in the math section that allowed her to answer more than 30 questions correctly, an event she deemed to be more than coincidence.

According to Varan’s theory, which was confirmed by the owner of a local after-school YGS prep-course center before being revealed to the general public, when the five multiple-choice answers in each question are re-ordered from smallest to largest below the questions choices themselves, the choice that remains in the same place is the correct answer.

“The code works on 80 percent of the questions. Our distrust in ÖSYM was proven once again,” Varan told daily Habertürk.

The scandal caused an uproar in the already sensitive matter of the university placement exam, which itself has been a constant subject of criticism for determining the rest of a student’s life in a single exam, causing students to start after-school prep-courses even before high school and spending years of their lives and plenty of their parents’ money to have their fate decided in one sitting.

New cheat-resistant system

Security measures were tightened at the ÖSYM after the Public Personnel Selection Examination, or KPSS, questions were stolen last year. In addition to security cameras in exam rooms, the exam itself underwent a major renovation, with a new system that produced a different booklet for each individual, with variations in the order of questions and the multiple-choice answers.

The copy of the exam given to the press was thus created separately, and is not a copy of an actual exam booklet, stated ÖSYM chief Demir on Sunday. And to further clarify the issue, Demir announced that the individual booklets will be made available on the ÖSYM website.

“Nothing was done to give one exam taker an advantage over another. We want students and parents to have no doubts in the matter. The alleged code does not apply to any of the testing booklets,” said Demir.

“So is there a code in the booklet prepared for the press?” asked one journalist during the press conference.

“The answers in the master booklet are listed from smallest number to largest,” said Demir.

“But I have the master booklet in my hand,” the journalist replied. “It is not listed from smallest to largest as you have stated. The answers are mixed.”

“No one has seen the master booklet,” Demir said. “The one you hold is a variation of the master booklet. When re-ordered, the one that remains is the correct answer. But this should not be seen as a code.”

The press conference on Sunday came after a statement from the ÖSYM on Saturday that the press copy of the exam was not a copy used during the exam and that the booklets would be made available online, which was not deemed enough by the press and the general public. Therefore the press conference by the ÖSYM chief, containing a nearly identical statement, caused even more confusion among the public.

In addition to repeating ÖSYM’s statement from the previous day, Demir also explained the new system.

“An algorithm is used to randomize the master booklet and create 1.7 million unique booklets. Any overlaps are purely coincidence, and we have seen that there are only one or two,” said Demir.

The creator of the Istanbul Technical University National Software Certification Center, Professor Berk Üstündağ, also commented on the new system to the daily Vatan.

“The variations in the booklets are produced using computer software. However, the software can be interfered with using outside codes. If 27 out of 40 questions are solved using this code, the chances of it are one in 7,500 quadrillion. Given that such a possibility is not possible, then that indicates that someone interfered from the outside,” said Üstündağ.

Political figures not convinced

Former ÖSYM head Professor Ünal Yarımağan said the code does not seem like a coincidence.

“The situation is very troubling if the coding was an organized effort,” he said.

“If the claims are true, then it is not only the ÖSYM head that is responsible. It is also the Higher Education Board [YÖK] head and the government that brought him to his position. This is an organized fraud. The prime minister needs to release a statement without getting angry and scolding anyone,” said former Minister of Education Metin Bostancıoğlu.

A poll conducted by the daily Milliyet’s website revealed that the more than 80 percent of respondents did not believe Demir’s statement.

“They have created such a system that the answers do not even have to be handed out to anyone,” said main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who added that he was waiting for an announcement from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, who have yet to comment on the incident.

“Unfortunately, certain powers who have entered the government are using the power of the administration to give favors to their supporters. A code cannot be created without the will from the upper levels,” said Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, group deputy chairman Oktay Vural.

“We saw on [Saturday] that the entire math section of the exam could be solved correctly within 10 minutes,” said CHP deputy leader Engin Altay in a press conference on Sunday.

“The ÖSYM has not only been taken over, but it has been besmirched. The ÖSYM chief, the YÖK head and the minister of education must all resign. The prime minister must apologize to the people. The YGS must be canceled, and those who took the exam must be paid financial and emotional damages,” said Altay.

Students from the youth branch of the CHP also gathered to protest in front of the ÖSYM building on Sunday.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor´s Office launched an investigation in the matter on Sunday.

“We have sent the prosecutor’s office one booklet from each exam center in every province,” said Demir during the press conference, totaling over 89,000 copies sent to the prosecutor.

“We are prepared to answer any questions,” said Demir. “We have no doubts.”

 

How does the code work?

The 8th question of the exam copy released by the ÖSYM following the exam gives the following choices: “A) 8 B) 9 C) 6 D) 3 E) 4.”

Applying the code, the choices are numbered from smallest to largest: “A) 3 B) 4 C) 6 D) 8 E) 9.”

The correct answer to the question is “C) 6,” which also happens to be the choice that remained in the same spot after the code was applied

2.       si++
3785 posts
 06 Apr 2011 Wed 11:13 am

 

Quoting tunci

How does the code work?

The 8th question of the exam copy released by the ÖSYM following the exam gives the following choices: “A) 8 B) 9 C) 6 D) 3 E) 4.”

Applying the code, the choices are numbered from smallest to largest: “A) 3 B) 4 C) 6 D) 8 E) 9.”

The correct answer to the question is “C) 6,” which also happens to be the choice that remained in the same spot after the code was applied

 

Very amatorish! It can be turned into the derangment problem of a 4-member set. So out of 24 possible permutations there are only 9 possible derangments (as given by the example in this link).

 

Question is "did some of the test-takers know about this during the exam"?

 

I watched a discussion aboutthis on TV last night. The math questions were time consuming. And if some knew about this, they easily gained an extra half an hour to solve the other questions after having solved the math questions with little effort while others were still struggling with them.

 

3.       tunci
7149 posts
 07 Apr 2011 Thu 09:07 am

Turkey´s test czar stands code war ground

SERKAN DEMİRTAŞ

4.       si++
3785 posts
 07 Apr 2011 Thu 09:35 am

If you go to google trends and see "mod medyan" it skyrockets just before the exams:

Try this link for example.

 

This means many people knew about this technic when taking the exam.

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