State education officials were embarrassed to learn that a health exam with explicit questions about sex was given to hundreds of 11th-graders.

The Illinois Board of Education apologized Wednesday for sending the test to 61 high schools as part of a statewide pilot project. Schools Superintendent Joseph Spagnolo said a newly appointed panel of citizens would thoroughly review any future tests.An education employee sent the tests to the schools without first running them by a committee of state experts as required, officials said.

The test, gleaned from a nationwide exam bank used in other states, contained questions about the AIDS virus that referred to anal and oral sex.