The Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) examinations board is likely to be fined by a UK exams regulator for a blunder in the English literature paper of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). The Board had confused the families of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in one question in the paper.
“How does Shakespeare present the ways in which Tybalt’s hatred of the Capulets influences the outcome of the play?” a question in the GCSE paper asked. In the narrative, the Capulets and the Montagues are rival families and Tybalt is Juliet’s cousin and a Capulet. The question stands incorrect as it should have questioned the character’s hatred towards the Montague family.
“The Romeo and Juliet error is a unique case. It was a bad error, it was an unacceptable error. We have been working very closely with the OCR to ensure everything possible is done to minimise the impact on student performance. I want to return to this after the summer and as a regulator I may well want to take action. I have a range of powers at my disposal. I can fine them, investigate them or direct them to take a specific action,” Ofqual chief editor said, according to to reports.
Over 200,000 sixth-form students will receive their A-levels next week and have been subject to the experimentation under the new system. Schools fear that, due to the sole focus of the assessments on the end-of-course exams and not the coursework or AS levels, the results may lead to a volatile situation.
“In any period of reform, with teachers teaching new stuff, doing it for the first time and fewer sample materials, you would expect grades to fall but we are protecting those students,” Collier said, adding that some students may get unexpected results, but promised that the new system was fair, despite the increased level of difficulty.