Date: Monday 23 August 2010 (NR/10/10)
Failure in Chemistry A2 Marking Process
On Friday 20th August CCEA became aware that incorrect marks were awarded in the multiple choice section of an A2 Chemistry paper. This meant that 151 students from 41 schools and colleges received lower grades than they should have.
Upon discovering this failure in the marking process, CCEA informed the Department of Education and immediately took a range of actions:
- The correct marks were applied and candidates awarded the correct grade.
- Immediate contact was made with UCAS and CAO to notify them of the issue.
- Correct grades were sent to both UCAS and CAO.
- UCAS committed to contacting universities directly to explain the situation.
- Checked all other multiple choice A Level and GCSE papers and can confirm that all checks were clear.
- Contacted all affected schools to inform them of this issue and to provide guidance on the next steps to take.
- Set up a dedicated team to help manage this issue and support candidates.
CCEA’s interim Chief Executive, Mr Gavin Boyd said ‘Staff at CCEA are very disappointed by this failure and we apologise unreservedly for any distress this has caused to students, their families and teachers.
On this occasion CCEA’s quality assurance procedures did not ensure that the correct grade was issued for the candidates. This is unacceptable and it falls far beneath the standards we set ourselves as an organisation.
A formal internal investigation is underway to discover how the incorrect marks were awarded on this occasion.
This issue may have impacted on the original offer made to students by universities.
CCEA can confirm that the majority of students affected applied to Queens University Belfast. CCEA has already been assured by QUB that offers will be honoured in relation to the candidates affected.
As with QUB, we believe that all higher education institutions will honour the offers made to students and we are working with UCAS to ensure that this is the case.
A dedicated helpline has been set up to support schools and students affected by this issue. The number is 02890 261403.’
- CCEA became aware of this issue after contact from 2 centres through the Enquiry About Results process. When staff investigated these enquiries they discovered that incorrect grades were awarded to 151 students.
- There were 1024 entries for the examination, and of that a total of 935 mark changes were necessary.
- This resulted in 151 grade changes from 41 centres.
- The multiple choice section was worth 20 marks out of a total of 120 for the module. The total uniform marks for the subject is 600.
- This year CCEA introduced the facility for students to access their results online. CCEA is currently updating its Results Online service to reflect the grade changes and hopes to have this information available online this evening, Monday 23rd August 2010.
- Gavin Boyd was appointed interim Chief Executive of CCEA on 01 July 2010. He will undertake the CCEA role in addition to his responsibilities as Chief Executive (Designate) of the Education and Skills Authority (ESA). He will continue to oversee the work of the ESA Implementation Team (ESAIT) and the plans to converge education services in advance of the creation of ESA.
Media enquiries to Ruth Maguire on (028) 9026 1216, Mobile 07796947993. E mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Editors
CCEA is the Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.
CCEA places learners and those who have a concern for their educational and personal development at the forefront of its thinking. CCEA's mission is:
"To enable the full potential of all learners to be achieved and recognised"
What we do
CCEA is a unique educational body in the UK , bringing together the three areas of curriculum, examinations and assessment.
Advising Government – on what should be taught in Northern Ireland ’s schools and colleges.
Monitoring Standards – ensuring that the qualifications and examinations offered by awarding bodies in Northern Ireland are of an appropriate quality and standard.
– as Northern Ireland’s leading awarding body we offer a diverse range of qualifications, such as GCSEs, including the new GCSE Double Award specifications in vocational subjects, GCE A and AS levels, Entry Level Qualifications, and Graded Objectives in Modern Languages.
- CCEA also offers a range of Awards and Certificates in Education, Training and Skills (ACETS) targeted at learners who want to get
the knowledge, understanding and skills needed
to hit the ground running in the world of work.