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July 1, 2011

Exam boards face punishment for blunders that hit 250,000 candidates

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Written by: Kyle Raffo
Student Writing

Examination boards could be banned from offering certain qualifications following a series of blunders that affected up to 250,000 pupils sitting GCSEs and A-levels.

The exams watchdog has launched an official inquiry into a string of ten errors, including several ‘impossible questions’.

Today Ofqual is to warn boards that it  could prevent them from offering exams in particular subjects as punishment for  the mistakes

Sandra Burslem, Ofqual’s deputy chairman, said the blunders were ‘unacceptable’ and insisted the organisation would ‘not hesitate’ to impose penalties.

She added: ‘Now that the taking of exams is over we turn our attention to an inquiry.

‘This will hold the awarding organisations to account for their mistakes by finding out the root causes of the errors and what needs to be done to put things right.

‘The regulators will not hesitate to take regulatory action as necessary at any stage to protect the interests of students.’

A total of ten mistakes – two printing errors and eight problems with the questions themselves – are being investigated by Ofqual.

Many pupils spent a disproportionate amount of time trying to answer impossible questions and fear they will get a lower grade than they deserve.

As a result they may miss out on a place at university – competition for which is fiercer than ever this year.

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