Feeds

Cambridge Assessment exams CHAOS: Computing students' work may be BINNED

'We're painfully aware' of incredibly embarrassing cockup - board

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Updated Budding tech teens - who have taken close to 40 hours of Computing GCSE controlled assessments - face the agony of seeing some of their work scrapped by a leading Brit exam board, after it said it was withdrawing tasks for key units amid cheating claims.

Awarding body the OCR, which is part of Cambridge Assessment, had posted an alarming notice on its website last Friday in which it said:

Malpractice: J275 – GCSE Computing, unit codes A452 and A453 – all tasks. It has come to our attention that there are a number of websites promoting worked answers for all of OCR’s GCSE Computing live controlled assessment tasks. As a result of this, all tasks for both GCSE units A452 and A453 have been withdrawn with immediate effect.

However, the OCR later removed the announcement as news of the decision hit Twitter.

A spokesman at the OCR told The Register this morning that "the statement was posted up in error claiming a decision had been made when it hadn't."

He added: "The error in this statement had spread, but it is not the final decision."

When quizzed by El Reg about the blunder, the OCR spokesman agreed that the exam board had made matters worse by misinforming anxious teens about its plans for those taking the computing GCSE.

"You're right," the spokesman said. "We're painfully aware of that."

The OCR said in an official statement on its website that the original notice about withdrawing tasks for units A452 and A453 had been wrongly posted "before we had finished consulting with internal and external stakeholders."

It apologised for the error and added that a final decision will be announced at midday.

"Controlled assessment work is carried out in the classroom under supervision – students can’t work on the project outside of the controlled environment, but there’s nothing to stop them looking things up on the web at home," a concerned parent, who contacted the Reg about his son's GCSE Computing work, told us.

"Although it’s for the summer 2015 exam, these controlled assessments typically take place during the preceding year. My son has just about completed his. 40 hours of classroom time is a huge chunk to lose – for a two-lesson-a-week subject, that’s half of an entire year."

We'll bring you more on this story as soon as we have it. ®

Updated to Add

An earlier version of this story characterised the unedifying sequence of events described above as "a bit of a joke".

This prompted Cambridge Assessments spokesperson Hilary Fletcher to write in, saying:

Your sub headline: “’We’re painfully aware it’s a bit of a joke’, admits exam board” is inaccurate and misleading, as are pars 7 and 8:

It's all a bit of joke, we ventured.

"You're right," the spokesman said. "We're painfully aware of that."

I was taking shorthand notes of our conversation and you asked me whether OCR was aware that this was having a negative impact on students, to which I replied “we’re painfully aware of that”.

Could I please ask that you correct your story which as it stands is inaccurate.

We're obviously happy to have fixed that. - Ed

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.