32 GCE scripts go missing in the UK – again

Once again, national examination scripts sent to the UK for grading have gone missing. Barely a year after 238 GCE A-level Chemistry scripts that were sent to Cambridge Assessment to be marked were stolen, the same thing happened again when an examiner’s bag was ‘mistakenly taken’ on a train.

In a statement, the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) said on Monday (14 Jan) that 3 scripts for the GCE O-Level Additional Mathematics Paper 2 were lost on 21 November 2018.

The examiner in question had apparently been travelling to the north of England to London via train when his bag, which he placed in the luggage rack, was mistakenly taken by another passenger. He had initially kept the bag beside him but soon had to move it as the train became crowded.

The examiner then reported the missing scripts to Cambridge Assessment who immediately launched an investigation to locate the bag. SEAD was informed of the incident on 14 December. A week later on 21 December, SEAD received an incident report from Cambridge Assessment and they were informed that grading for all scripts had been completed while the grades of the affected candidates were derived.

Of the affected students, 20 came from Nan Hua High School while the remaining 12 were from Jurongville Secondary School, formerly known as Hong Kah Secondary School.

The students were briefed on the incident after collecting their O-Level results on Monday. 29 of the 32 students passed the subject with nearly two-third achieving distinctions.

SEAB said their grades were awarded based on how they did in the A-Maths Paper 1, relative to their cohort’s performance. Their primary examination scores were also considered. The A-Math Paper 2 makes up 56% of the total score.

However, the students were also given a chance to retake the exam on 15 Feb if they so wish. If they do, they will receive their results at the end of February and the better of their two grades will be recorded as the final grade.

SEAB chief executive Tan Lay Choo described the incident as ‘disappointing’ and ‘shocking’, as it followed last year’s incident where 238 scripts were stolen.

Ms Tan tol reporters, “besides tightening the process and (looking into) the assurance they can give us, we are also looking at whether there is a cause for us to seek penalties.”

Meanwhile, Cambridge Assessment said in a statement that the examiner in question “breached Cambridge Assessment’s security policy of transportation of scripts by leaving them unattended”. The examiner will not be engaged to mark scripts in the future.

The search for the missing scripts is still ongoing.

As mentioned, this isn’t the first time scripts have gone missing in the UK. Apart from the 238 GCE A-Level Chemistry scripts that were stolen while being delivered to examiners for grading in the UK, in 1993 261 O-Level English Literature exam scripts from four schools went missing in the UK.

Clearly, Cambridge Assessment urgently needs to tighten their reigns before anymore scripts go missing, devastating young students who have worked hard for their grades.

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