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Suffolk: Fears tough exam could hamper university hopes

PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 June 2013

The university prospects of hundreds of A-level maths students in Suffolk could have been compromised because they were handed a much tougher exam than expected, a concerned parent has claimed.

The Edexcel maths C3 exam, which students sat on Thursday, had to be re-written after the a set of the exam board’s original papers were lost.

But thousands of students have complained about the new paper, claiming that some of the questions they were given were nearly impossible to answer.

Officials at Suffolk One, where 84 pupils sat the exam, have confirmed they will be writing to the exam board to raise their concerns.

Vice principal Jenny Milsom said: “On completion of the exam, a number of One students expressed concerns to our staff about some of the questions contained within the paper, after the exam had been completed.

“The maths department responded immediately by checking the paper and they agreed that the level of questions this year, differed when compared to previous years.

“As a consequence of this, we are in the process of writing to the Edexcel exam board about these concerns and hope that they take our comments on board.

“Within this, we are making every effort to reassure our students that we will do everything we can to support them on this issue.”

One parent, Dave Richardson, whose son Dave attends Suffolk One and took the exam, believes the questions were hugely unfair on students who have spent months revising.

He said: “He is good at maths and he was expecting to get an A or A* as were some of his friends, but they all came out saying that it was an impossible exam and they were unable to understand some of the questions.

“My son wants to do a course at Warwick and he needs to get the A in maths to do that course. If he only gets 2 As and a C then he won’t be able to go to Warwick.”

Pearson, which owns Edexcel, confirmed it brought in the new exam after a batch of the original papers went missing en route to a school in Amsterdam last month.

A spokeswoman for Pearson said the company would review the exam.

She said: “Should statistical analysis and the reports of examiners indicate that a paper has been too challenging to candidates, our awarding processes ensure that candidates are appropriately rewarded for their performance against that required standard.

“This paper, as all others, will be subject to these checks. This is not related to the need to replace this question paper in light of the security breach but is part of our standard procedures for maintaining standards between examination sessions.

“This paper has gone through identical standardisation, design and checking processes to all other papers, including the one it replaced.”

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