Impossible question discovered in exam

A HEADTEACHER is ‘furious’ after students taking an A-level physics exam discovered a question that was impossible to answer properly.

Geoff Barton, headteacher of King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds, has written to MP David Ruffley expressing his dismay at errors in this year’s exam papers.

A wrongly printed measurement on the paper, set by by awarding body OCR, meant that there was no way for students to get an absolute answer to the question.

The discovery follows an error in an AQA A-level business studies exam last week when there was a similar mistake in one of the questions.

Mr Barton said that mistakes in exams compromised the future of many students who relied on these exam results to go on to sixth form or university.

He said: “I am furious. More than 1,000 of our 1,400 students have been sitting formal external examinations this year.

“The quality control in some examination papers has been quite unacceptable. Given that we have to pay awarding bodies more than £160,000 for their examinations, it is little short of a national disgrace.

“The confidence of many students and staff has inevitably been undermined at a time of great stress and in examinations which for many of our young people will determine whether they gain a place in the sixth form or at university.

“I am aware that education ministers share our concerns, but have asked Mr Ruffley to draw these specific cases to the attention of the Secretary of State.”

A spokesman from OCR said: “I would like to start with an apology and say that we will do everything we can to stop this from happening again.

“We are investigating how it got through our quality assurance proceedures and when we do we will make it right.

“When we have a standardisation meeting we look at what questions were answered and we will make the appropriate amendments.”