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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 14:47 GMT
More errors blamed on exam board
IT room
Faxes had to be used to send out missing pages
Problems continue to emerge with exam papers set by Edexcel, following the board's admission of an error in an AS-level maths paper candidates took on Friday.

Mid-Kent college, which has centres in Maidstone, Rochester and Chatham, has 1,000 students taking a "key skills" exam on Tuesday.

College manager Teresa Murray said: "We were called by Edexcel at quarter to five last night to tell us that the communication question papers - which are at the college but in sealed packages which we are not allowed to open until the exam starts - have actually got two pages of questions missing.

"Edexcel are going to fax the two pages to us. We have got to do about 400 copies for the first sitting of the exam."

Not an isolated problem

It subsequently emerged that the problem had affected all Edexcel exam centres.

The company's chief executive, John Kerr, said they were sent replacement pages last night by special delivery, with faxed copies as a "fall-back".

Thirteen centres had called to say they had not received them and were dealt with "immediately".

"We believe that every examination centre has received the full paper in advance and the examination will be taken as planned," he said.

"We are confident that these procedures were successful and that no student will suffer."

Lost and found

Twenty performing arts students at North Devon College were angry that Edexcel had apparently lost their first year coursework.

It included videos, photographs, letters and a log book.

But - to the embarrassment of the college - the work turned up during the day in a store room.

Geography and physics

A question in last Friday's Changing Natural Environments paper asked students to look at a map and say why something was happening at B when it should have been A.

Edexcel said it had sent out an erratum slip correcting this before the exam.

Another geography paper, Managing Change in Human Environments, due to have been sat on Tuesday 22 January, had to be changed to a standby paper.

It appears that a number of the papers first sent out to schools had pages missing.

In a physics paper taken on 14 January, a question about ice-skaters referred to "an interval of 0.6 seconds" - with a diagram showing the interval as 0.5 seconds.

As one teacher put it: "Almost all of my 60 candidates noticed this - but which number would give the right answers?"

Hit twice

A student at Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow, Gavin Jackson, has been affected twice - by the physics and maths blunders.

He is also doing further maths.

"Since I'm doing them all in one year - because I did Scottish Highers last year - these set of exams are especially important to me because I need three As to get into the university of my choice," he told BBC News Online.

"I realise that English people do their A-levels over two years so I think they get more chances to sit their modules than we Scots do.

"This is why I'm particularly angry about these errors because this is my only chance."

He said the mistakes had affected him greatly.

"I spent a while on those erroneous questions making sure I had done everything correctly, eventually realising that it was Edexcel's errors, not mine.

"I also wasted time by being the first to ask the invigilator about the mistakes (in both exams), which she knew nothing about."

Bad year

Edexcel is the second largest of the three big examination boards in the country and serves about 6,000 schools and colleges.

It has been unusually unfortunate recently.

Last March, thousands of sixth formers were given the wrong results for an information technology key skills exam.

In June it emerged that an Edexcel A-level maths paper had been leaked in advance and was allegedly being offered for sale to students in London.

In August, some pupils had their results for a maths GCSE late.

In October, Edexcel's chief executive resigned suddenly.


Have you been affected? Tell us your story: educationnews@bbc.co.uk

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See also:

21 Jan 02 | Education
Examiners knew about maths error
18 Dec 01 | Education
Exams repeated mock questions
22 Mar 01 | Education
Students given wrong test results
04 Oct 01 | Education
Exam board chief resigns
12 Sep 01 | Education
AS-levels 'to be sat in half a day'
24 Aug 01 | Education
Pupils still await results
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