Students have skilled “infuriating” and “unacceptable” mistakes to GCSE and A-levels this 12 months, headteachers have mentioned after a collection of errors – together with pupils being given unsuitable details about what can be on exams.
This 12 months’s cohort has been information/education/education–news/exams-2022-coronavirus-consultation-b1882686.html”>told what topics to revise and ignore for the primary time in recognition of the disruption attributable to Covid pandemic.
But this has backfired at instances, with pupils opening papers to discover questions on topics that they had been told to keep away from.
The National Union of Students (NUS) told The Independent this 12 months’s mistakes had been “absolutely unacceptable”.
“With the cost of living crisis biting, students are already dealing with enough,” its UK president, Larissa Kennedy, and its Welsh president, Becky Ricketts, mentioned in a joint assertion.
“No student should be penalised for the incompetence of examination boards; the situation needs to be urgently reviewed, with student experiences central to this process.”
Geoff Barton from the Association of School and College Leaders mentioned the errors had been “extremely frustrating”, particularly as they involved students who had skilled “severe educational disruption” due to Covid.
“The worry and stress this has caused is the last thing these young people need after all they have been through,” he mentioned.
“It is particularly frustrating that some of the issues were to do with confusion over advanced information, a mitigation which was meant to make exams fairer because of the impact of the pandemic.”
Exam board AQA has apologised twice throughout this summer time examination season. A GCSE Physics paper requested pupils a couple of subject not listed as being assessed, whereas an A-level Law examination had a 30-mark query on an space not listed as a serious focus.
“The problems with advance information have been infuriating,” Jonathan Mountstevens, a deputy headteacher in Hertfordshire, told The Independent.
He mentioned the response over GCSE Physics was to give students full marks for the query, however he felt this undermined the aim of an examination. “Students lost the opportunity they should have had to shine on this question.”
The deputy headteacher added: “Not only have the errors had a detrimental effect on students taking the exams in question, but they have had a wider impact on students’ confidence in the process, causing an increase in their anxiety levels.”
Students reported comparable emotions after information/education/education–news/alevel-english-exam-wales-shakespeare-b2097208.html”>discovering 4 pages with Shakespeare extracts lacking in a Welsh A-level examination.
Some told The Independent they had been “thrown off” and “upset” by the blunder, which noticed them work on different questions whereas ready for invigilators to kind it ou.t
Kira Humphreys told The Independent this was her first examination of the 12 months. She had a Maths later that day she had beforehand been feeling assured for.
But she mentioned: “I went into the Maths exam with very little confidence after my experience in the English exam.”
There had been additionally issues with the opposite examination, with some topics unexpectedly included and others overlooked that that they had been told to anticipate, she mentioned.
“Overall I think WJEC [the Welsh exam board] have been completely unfair on the students this year, especially considering we have not sat any real exams,” the 18-year-old mentioned.
Another examination board, Edexcel, was pressured to apologise over an error in its GCSE geography paper which incorrectly labelled Gabon because the Democratic Republic of Congo on a map of Africa.
Sarah Hannafin from the NAHT union for varsity leaders mentioned: “This continues to be a very challenging exam series for students, many of whom have not taken external exams before.”
“The errors which have occurred may have damaged the confidence of students for their remaining exams, particularly those students who have sat the papers where advance information and the questions did not match up.”
The senior coverage advisor added: “We take some reassurance that the exam boards will take action to ensure no student is disadvantaged by these errors, but it would have been best for them not to occur in the first place.”
“This carelessness will pull their grades down and make a mockery of the effort young people have put in.”
The head of Ofqual, the examination regulator in England, information/uk/gcse-ofqual-one-aqa-alevel-b2103526.html”>criticised examination boards final week for oversights main to mistakes.
A WJEC spokesperson mentioned the examination board was “sorry” for a “collation error” that led to lacking pages in the English examination, however no different “significant errors” had occurred this summer time and all questions had been from topic content material.
An AQA spokesperson apologised for “any confusion or stress” the examination board had brought on students.
“We’re awarding all students full marks for the GCSE Physics question, and in A-level Law we’ll look at how students performed on the paper and take any action necessary to protect them,” they mentioned.
A spokesperson for EdExcel’s proprietor Pearson apologised for “any confusion caused by the unintentional error” in its GCSE Geography map of Africa.
They added: “This labelling does not affect students’ ability to answer the question and we will award marks for references to either country.”