Gov't Printer: Matriculation Exams Never Checked for Typos

The Education Ministry conducts no quality control inspections of matriculation exams after they are printed, an employee of the government printing press told the Knesset Education Committee yesterday during a hearing on several recent cases in which the exams contained errors. But an Education Ministry official insisted that the chief inspector for each subject does review the exams.

After the hearing, the ministry said it would appoint an external auditor to investigate the source of the errors.

Over the past two weeks, errors have been discovered in both the math and physics exams. The math exam contained a typographical error that confused many students, while in the physics exam, the question's phrasing did not match the accompanying graph. A correction was issued during the physics exam, but only toward the end of the test period.

Several students also noted less serious errors in the English and literature exams.

At yesterday's hearing, a representative of the government printing press claimed exams are not checked at all after they are printed. Commenting on the typo in the math exam, he said, "the Education Ministry is supposed to proofread the first copy, but failed to do so."

But Rachela Schiffer, who heads the ministry's testing division, insisted that "the chief inspector for each subject is required to review the exam questions after they are printed."

A group of high school students from Shoham wrote to Education Minister Gideon Saar earlier this week to demand a retest, and the group's leaders say they are considering either a lawsuit or a petition to the High Court of Justice over what they term a violation of their rights. An Internet protest has garnered 7,000 signatures.