Music GCSE pupils 'grinning like Cheshire cats'
Teachers are furious after an exam board inadvertently printed several answers to its GCSE music paper on the back of pupils' question papers. The mistake affected more than 10,000 pupils who took OCR's music exam last Friday.
During the exam, candidates had to listen to excerpts of music played from a CD supplied by the board, and answer questions on each one. However, copyright details were accidentally included on the back page of pupils' answer booklets.
For example, candidates were asked who composed one of the pieces. The copyright information, listed on the back against the question number, said "Handel".
For another question, pupils were asked what instrument the soloist was playing in a concert. The copyright contained a clue: it listed it as "violin".
One music teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, analysed the paper and found it was possible to obtain 14 marks out of the total of 100 by looking at the copyright. By educated guesswork a further 10-15 marks could be gained, also based on the copyright.
"The papers are placed on the desk face down. While the kids were waiting for the exam to start, one-fifth of the answers were there staring them in the face," she said.
Of four pupils the teacher spoke to immediately after the exam, two had noticed the gaffe and two had not spotted it.
"Some of the kids were coming back grinning like Cheshire cats. Others were really upset because they feel they have been disadvantaged," the teacher said.
"I was almost speechless on Friday. I couldn't believe an exam board could do something so stupid." Other teachers have registered their concerns about the music paper on The TES online staffroom this week.
An OCR spokeswoman said: "OCR regrets that a printing error may have affected a small number of marks on the GCSE music question paper.
"We are putting procedures in place to identify the effect, if any, this had on candidates, and to make allowances accordingly to ensure that no candidate is disadvantaged."