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Exam board to hear appeal over format cockup

Left on school servers, as well as sent as Word documents

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An IT class at a school in Lincolnshire will be allowed to appeal after failing their diploma because they submitted their work in the wrong formats, including Microsoft Word.

Exam board Edexcel said today that it had agreed with Cotelands School that the 29 students affected by would be allowed to appeal. They will resubmit their work in the correct formats, but with the content unchanged, and will find out their revised marks by February, Edexcel spokeswoman Jenny Stopher said.

"We understand that this is very stressful for the parents and pupils and they deserve to have all the facts," she said.

Stopher added that Edexcel had not rejected the original submissions, but examiners had marked what they were able to access. As well as using Word format inappropriately, Cotelands submitted its students' e-portfolios with links to documents that remained inaccessible on the school's internal servers.

"The meat of the work wasn't there. What [examiners] could mark, they did", Stopher said.

The assessment of the Diploma in Digital Application (DiDA) the Cotelands students were studying is governed by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance. Stopher said its rules meant that it was not possible for Edexcel to contact the school to ask for submissions in the correct format as soon as the error came to light.

"It's terrible for the students but it wasn't our decision or choice," she explained, "We can't say 'have another go'".

Cotelands had "taken its time" to lodge an appeal once it received Edexcel's reports on the class' failure, but the process is now underway. Stopher said: "We have an appeals process and legally we have to follow it."

Edexcel noted that the school had its instructions on how to submit coursework. "It's almost part of the test to be able to save in the correct format," Stopher added.

Paul Watson, principal of Cotelands' parent school St George's College of Technology, was not immediately available for comment.

Edexcel's list of allowed formats for the various DiDA modules is here. ®

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