Feeds

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

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

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 As a result of this, all tasks for both GCSE units A452 and A453 have been withdrawn with immediate effect.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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.