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OCR changes its mind on scrapping computing assessment

One of the largest exam boards, OCR, has made a rapid about turn after it was feared it was going to force students to re-take two assessments in its computing GCSE.

In a statement issued today, the exam body said it would not scrap two units of controlled assessment due to be submitted in June next year, despite posting a notice on its website over the weekend saying that it had found evidence of “malpractice” and would be axing the coursework.

The move sparked outraged panic on Twitter where teachers voiced their concerns over the prospect of telling their students that a year’s worth of work had been wasted. But the notice was taken down from its site yesterday morning and interim message stated the original post had been published “in error”.

In its latest correspondence OCR posted a message stating that while it had not found evidence of “widespread malpractice”, answers were uploaded onto various websites, meaning it would have to withdraw the controlled assessment tasks for June 2015.

But it added: “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.”

And it added: “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 move was greeted with relief on Twitter, where a hashtag #withdrawnCA had been started to give teachers affected a platform to voice their concerns to OCR.

Education technologist Tony Parkin tweeted: “Hats off to OCR on taking a pragmatic approach to the #withdrawnCA issue. No student should now suffer, thanks to brave policy U-turn.”

@RPSICT simply wrote: “Sense prevails ............... phew!”


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Computing assessment could be scrapped amid fears of cheating - June 2014

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