Everything About the Stolen A-Level Answer Scripts That Was Only Revealed Today

How would you feel if you realize that your answer scripts for a national exam is lost…and the grade would be based on a “projection”?

Now, you might think that this would not happen in Singapore, whereby we’re well-known for our high-quality education.

Think again, because it happened.

In fact, it happened to one of our writers’ school, in which she might be writing about her personal experience there (she’s receiving her results today) if she’s not partying too hard already.

It’s revealed today that on 16 November 2017, when the answer scripts for H2 Chemistry Paper 3 for last year’s A-level was in transit to the examiners from Cambridge Assessment in the UK, the scripts were stolen.

The driver has eight parcels lost, and one of them contained the scripts. And just so you know, the van was locked when they were stolen.

Pretty sure the thief weren’t exactly eyeing for the answer scripts, because you really can’t find anything valuable in them unless you’re a student who has done badly and had gone all out to destroy your answers.

It comprised 238 answer sheets, which is about 3% of the 8,843 students who had taken the paper.

The students were from Anderson JC (58), Anglo-Chinese JC (60), Hwa Chong Instituion (60) and Nanyang JC (60) .

The courier immediately made a police report, and by 30 November 2017, the School Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB), the organization responsible for the exams, was notified. Cambridge Assessment, the marker of the paper, told them that police investigations were ongoing and they were trying to recover the scripts.

But they didn’t.

In mid-Jan 2018, SEAB and Cambridge Assessment had a meeting, and by end-Jan 18, all papers except those that were lost were marked.

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So in comes the solution: by 9 February 2018, they’ve determined the grade for H2 Chemistry for the affected students.

You see, the subject comes in three papers: Paper 1 (which is all MCQ), Paper 2 (structured questions) and Paper 3 (free-response questions). There’s one more paper, but it’s a practical test.

The lost scripts are Paper 3, which takes 35% of the total marks.

So the grade is based on a projection…of the other three papers (1, 2 and practical), and also based on the student’s school-based examinations (this teaches us a lesson: work hard in prelims as well!).

Coz if you get a F on your prelims, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get an A in your A-level, eh?

Between end-Jan to 9 February, Cambridge Assessment and SEAB worked together to “project the grades” of the affected students.

Why the delay in informing students?

Students (and everyone in general) only knew about this today, when the results were released.

Firstly, SEAB and Cimbridge Assessment were hoping that they could retrieve the stolen scripts—after all, a thief might just, you know, throw them away since they’re worthless to him or her.

Why not inform the students then? Well, informing the students in advance that they would not be able to provide grades for the subject would be “alarming” and cause “undue anxiety”—kind of made sense, since there’s nothing much they can do.

So they spent the time to project the grades.

What can students do?

The 238  students, in which at least 81% got an A or B, have two options:

  • Accept the projected grade
  • Retake the exam on April or Nov, and the results would be the better of the two (retake one or the projected one)

SEAB would also work with local public universities to consider the retake examinations should any of the affected students’ applications, who opt for a retake, are affected.

Now, whoever says 2018 is boring?

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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com

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