. The removal of practicals from A-level and GCSE science exams has already provided plenty of controversy but now the qualifications are facing even more turmoil. Extra checks will have to be carried out here too, Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey has conceded.
"We are looking ahead already to the new GCSEs in science and the individual sciences - where incidentally there is quite a lot of maths - and considering the sort of scrutinies that we will want to run alongside our usual processes," she says.
It would seem that the exams watchdog is belatedly having to pay heed to a different definition of rigour - the quality of being extremely thorough and careful.
For schools this is a disaster. Where they need certainty and confidence they instead have doubt and fear. It is unacceptable that Ofqual appears unable to ensure that exams are set at the correct level; after all, that's its job. It is extremely worrying that it approved the maths papers set by three out of four boards seemingly unaware that they were too difficult; the problem came to light only after concerns were raised - and ministerial "fury" unleashed - because one paper was too easy.
Ofqual could have saved itself much trouble, cash and embarrassment if, as Sue Pope, chair of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics general council points out, it had listened to the teachers who were telling it that the papers were not comparable.
The problems amount to a big headache for already hard-pressed and beleaguered teachers. In maths they could have as little as three school weeks to prepare before they have to start teaching the new GCSEs; in science, there are real concerns for schools wanting to start teaching the new GCSEs over three years from September.
There is a third meaning of rigour: add an "s" on the end and, hey presto, what you get is "harsh and demanding conditions". Sadly, that's the one that schools have ended up with.