Proofing the third R

Tuesday 7th June 2016
School days courtesy:

Exam officials have admitted mistakes were made in a national computing science exam sat by thousands of pupils, as calls mount for a review. A spokesman for the SQA  (Scottish Qualification Authority) said: “The National 5 computing science exam paper met our published course and assessment specifications." But admitted "The paper did contain a small number of typographical errors."

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)  reports The Herald,  said a "small number" of typographical errors were included in the National 5 exam sat on May 27th. The admission only came after computing science specialists launched an outspoken attack on the qualification highlighting problems with some 19 out of the 21 questions. Teachers describe the paper  among the worst ever set  calling for the SQA to hold an immediate inquiry.

Errors quoted  are a question that read: "Give one reason of using this type of selection."  Another "the weight of a tablet computer was given as 65kg." Confusing questions, questions with multiple answers and some that would require outside course  knowledge  as in the legislation around cloning of phones.

Kate Farrell, (right) executive committee member of Computing at School Scotland, a body that represents subject teachers, said: "We are concerned this will have affected the performance and shaken the confidence of many candidates.

"We understand writing an exam paper is a collaborative process, and one that involves teachers who write questions for the paper, but we are greatly concerned that the current method of writing exam papers does not include sufficient quality assurance leading to duplication and errors.

"We would encourage the SQA to carry out a review of its exam writing process to ensure these mistakes do not happen again and we urge it to ensure that robust processes are in place to ensure all assessments are error free."


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