Exam facts and blunders

The facts...

* Last year, more than 7.5 million examination results were issued. This year's figure is expected to top that with a combination of AS, A2, vocational A-levels, GCSEs, GNVQs, key skills and resits.

* A total of 50,000 examiners are needed. Exam boards insist they are 97.5 per cent of the way towards finding them.

* This year's exam season is a week longer than in 2001, stretching from May 13 to June 28.

* Papers to stretch the brightest upper sixth formers, Advanced Extension Awards, will be taken for the first time this June and will be graded pass, merit or distinction.

* Exams on June 12 clash with England's World Cup match with Nigeria, which kicks off at 7.30am and finishes 15 minutes after the papers start.

* Half of students achieved five A* to C GCSEs last year, hitting the Government's target a year early.

* The A-level pass rate rose slightly to 89.8 per cent last year, and the proportion of students achieving an A grade was 18.6 per cent, continuing a 10-year upward trend.

* 5.5 per cent of teenagers failed to achieve one pass at GCSE last year.

The blunders...

* A diagram in the OCR health studies paper taken last week gave students information that was factually wrong. A thermometer showed microbes growing rapidly at temperatures between 50oc and 100oC. In reality, they are killed off at these temperatures.

An OCR spokeswoman said: "This was a proofreading mistake. All 174 papers will be marked by the principal examiner who will ensure that no one is disadvantaged."

* Candidates sitting the Northern Ireland board AS-level maths exam could have been disadvantaged, according to teacher and former Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment assessor James Nicholson.

One question included a technique which students were not required to learn in the syllabus. He also claims that guidance notes issued a month before the exam contradicted the syllabus and changed the content of the module.

A CCEA spokesman said candidates had answered the question well and had not been disadvantaged. He also said the guidance notes clarified the syllabus, not contradicted it.

* A question in this week's Edexcel AS-level government and politics paper transposed two columns showing the number of MPs elected in 1997 and 2001.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you