GCSE computing assessment withdrawn after answers leak online
Two controlled assessment units in computing GCSE were taken off by the UK exam board after the answers leaked online through various public websites.
Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations board (OCR) has confirmed that both the units will be “replaced” to avoid any unfairness.
OCR posted a notice for the teachers on its website which stated: “Malpractice: J275 – GCSE Computing, unit codes A452 and A453 – all tasks. It has come to our attention that there are a number of websites promoting worked answers for all of OCR’s GCSE Computing live controlled assessment tasks. As a result of this all tasks for both GCSE units A452 and A453 have been withdrawn with immediate effect.”
Students in the first year of their two-year GCSE course were supposed to submit these assignments by June 2015. Many candidates had completed and few had already submitted the assignments investing 20 hours of their work time.
Majority of teachers were horrified by the notice. Many remarked that it is almost “impossible” to fit in the withdrawn assessments in their current computing timetable. While few others supported OCR’s action and insisted on the need of fairness in the judgement.
The exam board has now taken the notice down saying it was “posted in error” and before the internal review was completed.
Later the board said: “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.”
The alternative tasks for both the units will be uploaded by 15th September 2014 for submission in June 2015.