Pupils ridicule exam board over Shakespeare error in GCSE paper

Exam paper for new, tougher GCSE wrongly implies Romeo and Juliet character was not a Capulet

Martin George

Martin George

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An exam board has apologised after it make a mistake about Romeo and Juliet in this morning's new, tougher GCSE English literature exam.

The OCR paper wrongly implied that Tybalt was not a Capulet.

The question 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."

Exams regulator Ofqual has described the mistake as "unacceptable". Students were quick to point out the error on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

In a statement, OCR said: “We’re aware of an error in today’s OCR GCSE English Literature paper. We apologise and will put things right when the exam is marked and graded so no student need worry about being disadvantaged.

"We are investigating as a matter of urgency how this got through our assurance processes.”

The exam board said the error affected 150 schools out of about 6,000 centres, and 14,000 candidates out of approximately 700,000 16-year-olds taking exams.

An Ofqual spokesperson said: "We are very disappointed to learn of the error in OCR’s English literature exam paper today. Incidents of this nature are unacceptable and we understand the frustration and concern of the students who may have been affected.

"We will be scrutinising how OCR intends to identify and minimise the impact on these students. We will be closely monitoring OCR’s investigation of how this incident occurred and seeking reassurance regarding its other papers this summer."

This is the first year that students are sitting the new tougher GCSEs that are being phased in, beginning with English and maths this year.

Last Monday, students took to social media to complain after exam board AQA admitted it had made a mistake in its English literature paper by labelling some extracts with the wrong chapter number.

And yesterday, students took the first of the new "big, fat" maths exams. One teacher who sat the exam at the same time as her pupils said the high level paper had some "ridiculously difficult" questions, and she believed that she had lost at least eight marks.

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