Examiners shared GCSE ‘Inappropriate details’

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Examiners shared “inappropriate” information about a GCSE paper due to be taken by pupils in January, the exams regulator has warned. Ofqual said that an information and communications technology (ICT) paper set by the WJEC exam board had been compromised, and will be withdrawn to protect the “integrity and security” of the qualification.

The finding was included in an report ordered by ministers earlier this month in the wake of allegations that examiners had been secretly advising teachers on how to boost GCSE and A-level results.

In its report, published yesterday, Ofqual said the ICT paper will be amended and sat at a later date. The move will not impact on when students will be able to complete their GCSE course in the subject.

Three examiners, two from WJEC, the Welsh exam board, and one from Edexcel, were suspended as inquiries began earlier this month into claims teachers were given unfair advice and told that one exam board set easier tests.

The allegations, made in the Daily Telegraph, centred on teachers being given detailed advice at exams seminars on forthcoming exam questions and how students could score higher marks.

Education Secretary Michael Gove ordered Ofqual to look into the claims and report back by Christmas. The regulator’s report found that, at a WJEC seminar on part of a GCSE ICT course, attendees were told which topics pupils would be assessed on.

“This is in clear breach of regulatory requirements, and it compromises the planned exam,” the report said.

Around 450 pupils were due to sit the paper next month, and schools and colleges will be informed of its withdrawal.

Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey said: “There is no evidence at this stage that other exams in January are similarly affected.”