Education & Family

GCSE computing tasks withdrawn after answers appear online

Computer lesson Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The two units which have been replaced were due to be submitted in June 2015

Two controlled assessment units in a computing GCSE have been withdrawn by an exam board, after the answers appeared on the internet.

The exam board OCR has confirmed the units will be "replaced" to avoid the assessment being "compromised".

The board acknowledges some candidates may have begun or even completed the tasks but says students in this position can still submit their work.

OCR said its aim was "to avoid the slightest possibility" of unfairness.

The tasks were due to be submitted by June next year by students currently on the first year of the two-year GCSE course.

The exam board says they will now be replaced for students who have not yet begun the units.

Teachers' dismay

The board says a school got in touch last week to raise concerns that model answers to the two units had appeared "on a number of public websites".

"OCR has had to act so that the assessment is not compromised and all students receive the results they deserve.

"One course of action that OCR follows if sensitive information such as this is available is to ask public websites to remove the information as soon as possible," says the board in a statement.

"After a school got in touch last week to raise its concerns, OCR reviewed the options in line with regulatory requirements."

Teachers first heard there was a problem with the units when a notice appeared on the OCR website on Friday saying that they were being withdrawn with immediate effect.

Many reacted with dismay. However, the board subsequently took the notice down saying it was posted in error before the internal review of the situation had been completed.

'Unfair advantage'

The statement continues: "We have now completed that review - and while there is no suggestion of widespread malpractice - we have to act to avoid the slightest possibility that one candidate could gain an unfair advantage over another.

"As a result, we have decided that with immediate effect OCR will withdraw the existing controlled assessment tasks and will be replacing them for the next academic year.

"However, to avoid penalising the vast majority of hard-working students and teachers, those candidates who have completed or just started their controlled assessment tasks will still be able to submit their work. OCR's examiners will be extra vigilant when overseeing the marking process and will use a range of tools to ensure that no candidate has gained an unfair advantage.

"We apologise for the disruption caused by this decision, and for an earlier communication posted in error on our website on Friday before today's decision was reached."

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites