Errors in Exam Papers
Handling errors in our assessments/ exam papers
Annually we produce approximately 3,000 different question papers and assessment materials. Although we work tirelessly to ensure that our assessment materials and exam papers are accurate, on a small number of occasions there may be some errors. These can be detected prior, during or after an exam has been taken.
Errors prior to the exam
If we note an error before the exam is taken we will either:
- contact the school or college and provide a replacement paper
- provide an ‘erratum notice’ which is read to the students, providing the corrected information
- provide an advisory notice to the invigilator for a very minor issue (for example a missing full stop) which will not impact a student’s ability to complete the assessment. This notice will not be read to students, but is there for reference.
Errors during the exam
If a student believes there is an error on our exam papers, they must raise their hand and inform the invigilator immediately. The Exams Officer will contact us immediately, and a member of our team will confirm if there is an error. The Exams Officer will be provided with the steps to take which will either be:
- to inform the students of the correct information
- to inform students they should ignore the question and progress with the other questions in the examination
Depending on the nature of the error, our team may inform other centres of the issue either during or after the examination.
Errors noted after the exam
Sometimes a student or a teacher might identify an error after the examination has been completed. A student should contact their teacher or Exams Officer to discuss the issue. The teacher or Exams Officer should inform us of the error.
Ensuring fairness for all students if there is an error on an exam paper
Initial corrective actions
Once an error has been identified in an exam paper, we take the following corrective action(s) to ensure that no candidate is disadvantaged:
- assess the impact of the error
- review and alter the mark scheme if appropriate
- provide additional training to our examiners
- monitor the marking, using our standard process, with additional steps to ensure that any alterations applied to the mark scheme are being applied correctly
- conduct a statistical analysis of students’ outcomes, once all marking is completed
If the statistical analysis provides evidence that students may have been disadvantaged due to the error, we will take corrective action, to ensure that each student receives the most appropriate mark. We consider:
- performance in questions assessing the same skills
- performance in the rest of the exam
- performance in the rest of the qualification
Based on a range of statistical analyses, we will systematically adjust a student’s final mark if there is sufficient evidence indicating we should do so. Each student’s mark will be carefully considered at each stage of the process. Only in specific circumstances will we apply the same adjustment to all students’ marks. If we apply a mark adjustment, we will provide an explanation to the school or college outlining the process we have followed, including a rationale.