Scholars have skilled “infuriating” and “unacceptable” errors to GCSE and A-levels this yr, headteachers have stated after a chain of mistakes – together with pupils being given flawed details about what could be on assessments.
This yr’s cohort has been informed what subjects to revise and forget about for the primary time in reputation of the disruption led to by means of Covid pandemic.
However this has backfired from time to time, with pupils opening papers to search out questions about subjects they’d been informed to keep away from.
Different blunders have integrated lacking pages and an African nation labelled incorrectly on a map.
The Nationwide Union of Scholars (NUS) informed The Unbiased this yr’s errors had been “completely unacceptable”.
“With the price of dwelling disaster biting, scholars are already coping with sufficient,” its UK president, Larissa Kennedy, and its Welsh president, Becky Ricketts, stated in a joint remark.
“No scholar must be penalised for the incompetence of exam forums; the location must be urgently reviewed, with scholar reviews central to this procedure.”
Geoff Barton from the Affiliation of College and School Leaders stated the mistakes had been “extraordinarily irritating”, particularly as they involved scholars who had skilled “critical instructional disruption” because of Covid.
“The fear and pressure this has led to is the very last thing those younger folks want in the end they have got been via,” he stated.
“It’s specifically irritating that one of the crucial problems had been to do with confusion over complicated data, a mitigation which was once intended to make assessments fairer on account of the affect of the pandemic.”
Examination board AQA has apologised two times all the way through this summer season examination season. A GCSE Physics paper requested pupils about a subject matter now not indexed as being assessed, whilst an A-level Legislation examination had a 30-mark query on a space now not indexed as a big center of attention.
“The issues with advance data had been infuriating,” Jonathan Mountstevens, a deputy headteacher in Hertfordshire, informed The Unbiased.
He stated the reaction over GCSE Physics was once to offer scholars complete marks for the query, however he felt this undermined the aim of an examination. “Scholars misplaced the chance they must have needed to shine in this query.”
The deputy headteacher added: “Now not handiest have the mistakes had a destructive impact on scholars taking the assessments in query, however they have got had a much broader affect on scholars’ self assurance within the procedure, inflicting an building up of their nervousness phases.”
Scholars reported identical emotions after discovering 4 pages with Shakespeare extracts lacking in a Welsh A-level examination.
Some informed The Unbiased they had been “thrown off” and “disenchanted” by means of the blunder, which noticed them paintings on different questions whilst looking forward to invigilators to kind it out.
Kira Humphreys informed The Unbiased this was once her first examination of the yr. She had a Maths one later that day she had in the past been feeling assured for.
However she stated: “I went into the Maths examination with little or no self assurance after my enjoy within the English examination.”
There have been additionally issues of the opposite examination, with some subjects all of a sudden integrated and others overlooked that they’d been informed to be expecting, she stated.
“Total I believe WJEC [the Welsh exam board] had been totally unfair at the scholars this yr, particularly taking into consideration we now have now not sat any actual assessments,” the 18-year-old stated.
Every other examination board, Edexcel, was once compelled to apologise over an error in its GCSE geography paper which incorrectly labelled Gabon because the Democratic Republic of Congo on a map of Africa.
Sarah Hannafin from the NAHT union for college leaders stated: “This remains to be an excessively difficult examination collection for college students, lots of whom have now not taken exterior assessments prior to.”
“The mistakes that have befell will have broken the boldness of scholars for his or her closing assessments, specifically the ones scholars who’ve sat the papers the place advance data and the questions didn’t fit up.”
The senior coverage guide added: “We take some reassurance that the examination forums will take motion to make sure no scholar is deprived by means of those mistakes, however it will had been easiest for them to not happen within the first position.”
Munira Wilson, the training spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, stated: “It is a cohort of scholars who’ve had extra disruption to their training than every other in peacetime historical past.
“This carelessness will pull their grades down and make a mockery of the hassle younger folks have installed.”
The pinnacle of Ofqual, the examination regulator in England, criticised examination forums closing week for oversights resulting in errors.
A WJEC spokesperson stated the examination board was once “sorry” for a “collation error” that resulted in lacking pages within the English examination, however no different “important mistakes” had befell this summer season and all questions were from topic content material.
An AQA spokesperson apologised for “any confusion or pressure” the examination board had led to scholars.
“We’re awarding all scholars complete marks for the GCSE Physics query, and in A-level Legislation we’ll have a look at how scholars carried out at the paper and take any motion vital to give protection to them,” they stated.
A spokesperson for EdExcel’s proprietor Pearson apologised for “any confusion led to by means of the accidental error” in its GCSE Geography map of Africa.
They added: “This labelling does now not have an effect on scholars’ talent to respond to the query and we can award marks for references to both nation.”