Scots exam shambles minister is moved on

3rd November 2000 at 00:00
SCOTTISH education minister Sam Galbraith was this week moved in a Cabinet reshuffle following the exam crisis which saw thousands of students receive wrong or late results.

But the fiasco is yet to be resolved, Mr Galbraith told a Scottish parliamentary inquiry this week.

As The TES went to press, the first of a series of reports was due to be published. It is expected to criticise individual officials for failing to spot the unfolding crisis.

The late first minister Donald Dewar had resisted calls to sack Mr Galbraith but his successor Henry McLeish immediately moved him to cover the environment brief.

The main surprise of the reshuffle was the moving of finance minister Jack McConnell to education, despite reports that he wanted to stay put.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland exam board has been warned by an eminent group of statisticians that its A-level statistics exams this summer contained "significant errors" .

The Royal Statistical Society has told the board that it considers the miswording of questions to be a "vey serious matter" and has asked them to ensure that no errors appear in future papers.

The warning comes after a long-running row between the board - the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessments - and one of its former scrutineers, who believes that every statistics paper since 1997 has contained serious errors which have disadvantaged candidates.

James Nicholson, former head of maths at Belfast Royal Academy, has now called for the board's chairman and senior examiners to be sacked and for an independent inquiry.

He has already forced the board to accept that some of its past A-level statistics questions were so flawed that they should not be used in the classroom.

The board commissioned an independent review of past papers after Mr Nicholson's complaints, which supported many of his concerns. But until now it had insisted that there were no problems with the 2000 papers.

It is currently considering the society's concerns but Gavin Boyd, the board's chief executive, said there would be no inquiry.

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