Anxiety over loss of exam papers

WORRIED Felixstowe students were today anxious over whether they would get the places they wanted at college and university after exam papers were lost.

WORRIED Felixstowe students were today anxious over whether they would get the places they wanted at college and university after exam papers were lost.

Some sixth formers at Deben High School we were understood to be affected by the problem - having been awarded estimated grades because their A-level papers could not be found and marked.

For some the grades may have been below those which they would have achieved.

One furious parent said students had received no apology and just a standard letter telling them their papers had been lost.

She said grades had been issued for the two subjects, but the grades were based on results of AS levels taken last year and not on the A-level grades predicted by the school.

In many cases the predicted grades were higher than marks now given as estimates because of the work put in by students to improve in the past year.

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"The letter said that if the papers were found, the students could keep the grade if it was higher than what they would have really achieved," she said.

"But I think the fairest way would have been to accept the grade predicted by the teachers who work with them every day and know their work.

"I am very angry about this - it is two years' work and then it comes down to this without even an apology. I am disputing the grade my daughter has been given because it is not as good as her predicted grade.

"We deserve a full explanation as to what has happened and whose fault it is."

Her daughter has still been accepted by the college where she wants to study, but others might not be so fortunate.

One of the subjects affected is design, but the other is not known.

It is not yet clear which examining body is involved and how the papers were lost but the body that oversees the exams today assured the students that the search for lost papers would continue.

A spokeswoman for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said: "If those papers are found they will be marked immediately and those grades returned to candidates.

"The papers will still be being looked for, the case won't be closed yet."

If the papers are found and students have achieved higher results than awarded on the basis of the AS level results they will receive the new grade but in the event students have fared worse in their exams results will not be downgraded.

The QCA spokeswoman said it was standard procedure to award grades to students on the basis of AS levels rather than grades predicted by the schools.

"That's what the awarding bodies have. They would also have taken on board any coursework the school has submitted," she said.

"You can't just go on teachers' estimated grades, you have to go on past performance."

Deben High School was unavailable for comment.

N If you were one of the people affected telephone The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324789.

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