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The police are investigating allegations that copies of last month's matriculation exam in mathematics were offered to high school students in Sakhnin for NIS 250 per copy, prior to the exam date.

One student at a Sakhnin high school told police offers yesterday that he bought the test from a man he did not know before the transaction. Four suspects, all of them 12th-graders in the town, are to be questioned today.

The affair came to light when a proctor monitoring the math bagrut in Sakhnin in January saw a student in the exam room with the answer booklet and notified the Education Ministry, which reported it to the Jerusalem District Police fraud unit. The case was assigned to the Misgav District police.

Education Ministry officials told Haaretz yesterday that the incident was isolated. The presumption is that the answer key was copied at a Sakhnin high school and passed on to students in the community.

A knowledgeable source in the Sakhnin education system told Haaretz yesterday that the answer key reached students in more than one of the town's four high schools.

A Sakhnin high school student told Haaretz that he was familiar with the incident and that dozens of students had obtained copies of the answer booklet.

Some of the questions for the previous matriculation exam in mathematics, administered in May 2010, were changed after being leaked a few days before the examination. In that incident, a member of the panel that composes the examination was found to have given the test questions to a teacher at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, who also tutors students privately, for his input. The teacher gave the test booklet to one of his private students who asked him for help in preparing for the matriculation exam. The student began selling copies, charging as much as NIS 1,000 per copy.

Ultimately, police believe, hundreds of students either purchased the questions or saw them for free courtesy of a friend. The Education Ministry learned of the leak after a student posted the questions on Facebook.