updated 3/25/2005 3:27:47 PM ET 2005-03-25T20:27:47

City officials recalled preparation materials for math tests that had been sent to teachers after discovering they were filled with math and spelling mistakes.

The materials were designed for math students in grades three through seven, and had been sent to math coaches and local instructional superintendents. The errors were found late Wednesday before the guide reached classrooms.

Several answers in the guide were wrong. There were also sloppy diagrams and improper notation of exponents. There were at least 18 errors in the guide, and grammar and spelling issues proved just as problematic as the math. For example, the word “fourth” was misspelled on the cover of the fourth-grade manual.

School officials blamed the mistakes on an ineffective fact-checker.

“We have a clear protocol for review of all materials,” Carmen Farina, deputy chancellor for teaching and learning, said in a statement. “In this case, a member of my staff inexcusably failed to follow our protocol, and I have written a letter of reprimand to the person’s file. We recalled the materials within hours, corrections to the guide will be made, and it again will be distributed digitally.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking Friday on his weekly WABC radio show, said he was surprised to hear about the problems but acknowledged that mistakes can happen.

“I’m not the best speller in the world,” he said.

“It is a complex world, and every day you wake up in my job and say, 'They did what?”’ he said. “There are times when I’m halfway downtown on the subway after reading a few of the stories and I think maybe I should just get off at the next station, cross the platform and go back uptown.”

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