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Qualifications Authority exam wrap up

22 December 2005

Qualifications Authority exam wrap up

Marking of nearly two million exam papers for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 is nearing completion. The past month has seen 2000 teachers and former teachers mark the work of 135,000 secondary school students for the 335 externally assessed standards.

There has been some remarking in sixteen (4.7 percent) of the 335 standards after modification to the marking schedule or further advice from panel leaders to markers. (Full list below)

In wrapping up this part of the exam cycle, Qualifications Authority Acting Chief Executive Karen Sewell has released information relating to procedures for the 2005 exams and the actions taken.

There were three breaches of security: a copy of one 2005 paper was mistakenly released to a student four days before the exam; some material from a school practice exam appeared in the actual NCEA exam; and a Scholarship paper was mistakenly attached to a Level 1 paper.

In a post-exam incident a member of the public handed in 14 marked Level 1 Science papers that had been left in a park in Wellington after apparently being stolen from a marker's letterbox. The marks had already been entered into the system. Karen Sewell thanked the member of the public for returning the scripts as it means those students will get their marked exam papers back.

In the 335 exam papers with their thousands of questions, there were three mistakes.

Karen Sewell said that it was inevitable that some problems would be experienced with such a huge logistical exercise.

"As soon as these issues became evident, we moved quickly to look at the implications and deal with them."

An investigation has been held into how the student was sent a 2005 Level 3 Art History paper. The student did not realise it was the 2005 paper until they sat the paper.

"Because of the seriousness of this issue, I appointed a senior public servant to carry out an independent investigation. I am satisfied that the breach was a genuine human error. We now have better procedures in place to ensure this can't happen again.

"I've apologised to the student and their family. I believe the student was disadvantaged because they skimmed over what they thought was a 2004 exam. We will carefully monitor the student's results and have sought advice from the school to ensure the student gets a fair and accurate result.

"I've also had an independent investigation into how a practice exam sat by students in one school contained questions and resource material similar to one of the 2005 Level 2 History papers. The examiner, a teacher in the school, pre-tested a version of the exam last year, failed to destroy the material as required and it was used again this year by a different teacher in the practice exam," said Karen Sewell.

In the third incident, a Te Reo Maori Scholarship paper was mistakenly attached to one Level 1 History paper at the stage when the printed papers were being assembled. An investigation has concluded that this was a one-off incident.

The mistakes in the exams were: two typographical mistakes in Level 2 Japanese (90487); a mislabelling in Level 1 Human Biology (90179), and a mistake leading to some ambiguity in one of the nine options in one Level 1 History paper (90212). There are procedures in place to ensure that no students have been disadvantaged by these mistakes.

The updated list of remarked standards follows.

Subject and Standard Number Credit Values
Accounting level 2– 90224 - 5 credits
Accounting level 2 – 90223 - 5 credits
Classics level 2– 90247 - 5 credits
Drama level 3 – 90612 - 4 credits
Economics level 1 – 90198 - 5 credits
English level 1 – 90054 - 2 credits
English level 1 – 90057 - 3 credits
English level 2 – 90380 - 3 credits
English level 3 – 90724 - 2 credits
Japanese level 1 – 90102 - 6 credits
Maths level 1 – 90152 - 2 credits
Maths level 3 – 90636 - 6 credits
Maths level 3 – 90635 - 6 credits
Te Reo Maori level 1 – 90133 - 6 credits
Te Reo Maori level 2 – 90441 - 6 credits
Te Reo Maori level 3 – 90544 - 6 credits

The results for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 will be sent to students as planned between 26 and 28 January.


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