Three new blunders discovered in school exam papers fiasco

Six mistakes have now emerged, mostly in AS-level questions which proved impossible to answer

Three more exam paper blunders are being investigated by the regulator, it emerged yesterday. Ofqual said it was now trying to establish how at least six mistakes in total appeared in questions on this year's papers – most of them at AS-level.

The latest to emerge concerned a geography paper set by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), taken by 88,000 teenagers.

They were given the wrong information in a question asking them to identify the fastest part of a flowing river. It was worth four marks towards the total of 50.

AQA, Britain's biggest exam board, said yesterday that it would award full marks for the question to everyone who sat the paper.

The head of geography at one school in southern England said: "The question was impossible to answer correctly, in my opinion. They should cut that question from the paper. Being the first question, it really threw some of the students."

A second mistake, also in an AQA paper – this time on computing – presented students with an arrow in a diagram that was shorter than it should have been.

A spokeswoman for the board said: "We are very sorry for these mistakes and will ensure no students will be disadvantaged as a result."

The other slip was on a business studies GCSE paper set by the Northern Ireland exam board, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment. The problems came to light after Glenys Stacey, Ofqual chief executive, wrote to all UK exam boards urging them to make rigorous checks to eradicate any blunders in exams yet to be taken. She said the mistakes that had emerged so far were "disappointing and unacceptable".

Last night, the National Union of Students wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove urging him to hold an inquiry into the blunders. Shane Chowen, its vice-president, said: "Those students who have been confronted with unanswerable questions may have had their confidence knocked and their performance in the rest of the exam affected.

"More needs to be done to reassure those who sat the erroneous papers that they will not have their future prospects placed in jeopardy."

Richard Wagner, from Harlow, Essex, was one of many students concerned about the impact of the mistakes on their performances. In a blog on the BBC website he said: "I started off really well, calculating the answer for the first question with ease, but then came the error. I didn't produce confident answers in the rest of the questions."

Exam board officials acknowledged they could have created anxiety as students attempted to carry on and finish the papers.

Earlier errors included a maths AS-level paper, set by the Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Art board, that contained an unanswerable question worth 11 per cent of the marks for the paper. Edexcel was responsible for an AS-level biology multiple-choice question in which all four options were wrong. And an AS-level business paper set by the AQA did not include the information necessary to come up with the answer. It was worth a maximum of three marks.

Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
A photograph taken by David Redferm of Sonny Rollins
people
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Senior Research Fellow in Water and Resilient communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: Our team of leading academic...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistants...

Teaching Assistants in Peterborough

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Teaching assistants required ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker