The WJEC, the Welsh exam board, are to postpone an Information and Communication Technology GCSE that was originally due to be examined on January 17 after the Telegraph uncovered that teachers had been attending seminars where they were given inappropriate advice, writes Robert Winnett at the Telegraph.
The postponement has been ordered following an enquiry conducted by Ofqual, the exams regulator, in the wake of an investigation into exam systems that found teachers across the country paying up to £230 a day to attend seminars with chief examiners where they were given tips and advice on exam questions and the exact wording that pupils should use to obtain higher marks.
Many senior Government sources have called the cancelling of the exam “shocking”. Ofqual ordered the move, but there are fears that it may lead to a “rot” in parts of the exam system.
The WJEC gave an unreserved apology for the cancellation, acknowledging the inconvenience it will cause thousands of students.
The board announced that students will be able to sit the postponed exam in early March.
Gareth Pierce, WJEC chief executive, said:
“Once we discovered that information had been given to some, but not all teachers about the scope of topics to be covered in the January exam, we advised Ofqual and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) immediately.
“We are keen to contact the 11 centres affected as soon as possible, so that they are able to let candidates know about the postponement and reassure them that they will be able to take the postponed exam early in March.
“As always, the interests of candidates are uppermost in our minds.”
Earlier this month, the Telegraph found teachers were paying up to £230 a day to attend seminars with chief examiners during which they were given advice that appears to go far beyond the standard “guidance”, supplying the exact wording that pupils should use to obtain higher marks.
In light of the investigation, the WJEC suspended two of its history examiners. Further investigations are ongoing.