Exam adviser quits in protest

22nd June 2001 at 01:00
AS-level students were frantic when confronted by six questions instead of the expected two. Julie Henry reports

A LEADING drama lecturer has resigned from the exam board, Edexcel, in protest at "last-minute" changes to its AS-level drama paper.

Andy Kempe, who runs the postgraduate certificate in education drama course at Reading University, resigned as reviser after seeing the AS paper. Pupils were expecting two questions, but instead were asked six.

Mr Kempe, who has written a number of drama textbooks, said the paper bore no relation to the draft document he checked and evaluated at the end of last year.

He said a meeting, held each year to allow the reviser, subject officers and the chief examiner to hammer out details, did not happen.

"I was very upset and frustrated about the whole process this year. I was not notified of the changes to the paper and from the calls I have had, a number of centres were not told either," said Mr Kempe.

School drama departments claim students were thrown into confusion. One teacher from a school in West Berkshire said: "Every instruction we had received, including the sample paper, said there would be two questions. Students were frantic when they opened the paper."

Se says her school, and at least 10 others, were not told about the changes. The "old" specification was still on the Edexcel website three days after the exam.

A spokeswoman for the exam board said the paper was changed when teachers asked for more choice. In the original specification, the two questions were split into three parts, so in effect, students had to give six answers. She claimed teachers were told about the change at training days.

The row erupted as the exam board was forced to defend its security procedures following reports that the Edexcel further maths A-level paper was being sold to students in west London for pound;400.

The leak came to light when a student showed the paper to his personal tutor. A decision was made to go ahead with the exam. The exam board is investigating where the paper came from.

Meanwhile, an inquiry was launched this week after pupils at Penlan comprehensive in Swansea sat the wrong GCSE exam paper.

Pupils expecting to sit a biology paper found themselves facing a human biology exam instead.

Headteacher John Guy said the mix-up happened after the wrong codes were used to order the exam papers.

Exam drama: the Edexcel AS drama paper which panicked pupils

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