The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is responsible for the regulation of awarding bodies in England. QCA expects awarding bodies to make sure that question papers do not contain any errors that might affect candidates. The regulator’s code of practice for GCE and GCSE examinations requires awarding bodies to have procedures in place to ensure the suitability and accuracy of the papers. QCA monitors the awarding bodies to ensure they comply with the regulatory requirements.
QCA has set performance expectations for awarding bodies governing the quality and accuracy of the question papers they produce. These performance expectations allow QCA to monitor and report on awarding body performance each year. QCA has collected and reported the number of question papers containing errors or omissions since 2004 but does not hold data for previous years.
If a question paper does contain an error that requires correction, awarding bodies are expected to send an erratum notice to centres (schools and colleges) before the examination is sat to make sure candidates are aware of the errors.
Data on the number of question papers issued without errors in June 2006 will be finalised after the examination series and published by QCA in March 2007.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) collects data each year from awarding bodies regarding the number of examination papers issued requiring correction including errors and omissions. These data are collected in the autumn following each examination series and are normally published in March the following year. Consequently, data on the summer 2006 examination series are not yet available.
In 2004 out of the 3,400 question papers produced by the England-based unitary GCE and GCSE awarding bodies (AQA, Edexcel and OCR) 83 question papers contained errors that required correction. This represents 2.4 per cent. of the total number of examination papers issued.
In 2005 out of more than 1,500 GCSE question papers 18 contained errors that required correction. Out of more than 1,700 GCE question papers 22 contained errors that required correction.
Although the figures quoted indicate the number of instances of papers that contained errors requiring correction, in nearly all cases centres were informed of the errors before the date of the examination. In both 2004 and 2005 centres were not informed about errors in nine GCSE, AS and A-level question papers. This represents 0.27 per cent. of the total number of question papers produced in 2005 and 0.26 per cent. of the total number of question papers produced in 2004.