Source : Google Street view.

73 Secondary 5 students from two schools, 24 students from Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School (AISS) and 49 students from Woodgrove Secondary School,  took the wrong O-level mathematics paper on Thursday (20 October) after a mix-up in the subject codes during registration.

The students sat for the O-level maths Paper 1 from the revised syllabus with the subject code 4048, when they should have been given the paper from the old syllabus with the code 4016.

When the students worked on the exam, there were some questions that they were not familiar with. Having compared the subject code on their entry proofs with their 10-year series, they realised that they were doing the wrong paper.

During the exam, students came across a few questions they were unfamiliar with. They later realised that the paper they had taken was different from the one they had studied for, after comparing the subject code on their entry proofs with that of their 10-year series.

The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) confirmed the mix-up on Monday (24 October) in a reply to queries from The Straits Times. However, it said no other schools were affected.

It also said that the revised version is being examined for the first time this year.

The current Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) students are using the old maths syllabus. While, the Secondary 4 Express students, whom started a year later, are on the new syllabus.

The SEAB said that both schools had indicated the wrong syllabus code during the registration process in the early part of the year.

It said that while affected candidates have taken the Paper 1 for the revised syllabus 4048, the topics examined are largely comparable with the syllabus 4016.

Both schools immediately informed SEAB soon after they learned that their students took the wrong paper to ensure that the students took the maths Paper 2 the next day under the correct syllabus.

To ensure that the candidates will be fairly assessed in the maths Paper exam 1, SEAB is working with both schools and the University of Cambridge International Examinations.

It said, “We will take into consideration the circumstances of the incident, the candidates’ performance in the school preliminary examination, their performance in the other mathematics paper and the cohort’s performance in providing a fair assessment to the candidates for the mathematics subject.”

Students were shocked when they found out that they have worked on the wrong paper. A student who declined to be named said, “I didn’t think this would happen. There’s probably little difference between the papers. Hopefully I won’t be penalised.”

Some posted on Twitter :



Chew Ing Lim, AISS principal, told The Straits Times that she had met the affected students to assure them and check if further support was required and that both students and parents are appreciative of the school’s efforts after the incident.

She said, “Our immediate focus is to provide the necessary support to the students who are still in the midst of taking the national examinations. The students have been encouraged to stay focused.”

While Chee Chit Yeng, Woodgrove principal, told The Straits Times that the affected students have been briefed and their parents have been assured that they will be assessed together with the other candidates under the correct syllabus and would not be disadvantaged.

He said, “The school is reviewing our registration processes to ensure such mistakes of entering the wrong subject code will not happen in future.”

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