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OCR forced to pay £187K for GCSE exam blunder

Ofqual confirms exam board will pay fine plus costs, after GCSE English paper mixed up warring families in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Ofqual confirms exam board will pay fine plus costs, after GCSE English paper mixed up warring families in Romeo and Juliet

Ofqual has gone ahead with its plan to fine the OCR exam board £175,000 for a mistake in last year’s GCSE English literature paper that affected more than 5,000 pupils.

Earlier this month the exam watchdog announced its intention to fine OCR for allegedly failing to set and deliver an assessment which was “fit for purpose”, after it mixed up the Montagues and the Capulets in a question on the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet.

The paper asked students: “How does Shakespeare present the ways in which Tybalt’s hatred of the Capulets influences the outcome of the play? Refer to this extract from Act 1 Scene 5 and elsewhere in the play.”

But the question should have used the word “Montagues” instead of “Capulets”, something which students quickly took to social media to point out.

In a notice published today, Ofqual said it was proceeding with the fine because "no representations have been received from interested parties".

In addition to the £175,000 fine, Ofqual said today that it had decided to require OCR to pay its costs in relation to imposing that penalty, which came to £11,855.

This brings the total amount it has to pay to Ofqual to £186,855.

In a separate incident earlier this year, OCR was fined £125,000 by Ofqual after GCSE computing controlled assessments included questions with answers that appeared in textbooks.

OCR has been contacted for comment.

 

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