Education & Family

Exam board investigates question leak

Exam hall Image copyright PA
Image caption The exam was being taken by 1,500 pupils in England, but the exam board says the leak was "localised"

A UK exam board is investigating how some students taking an IGCSE exam in Egypt last week knew the questions they would face in a practical exam.

The IGCSE information and communication technology exam was taken at the same time by 1,500 pupils in England.

The breach is being investigated by the exam board, Cambridge International Examinations, and the British Council, which supervises its exams in Egypt.

The exam board says this leak was limited to one city in Egypt.

A statement from Cambridge International Examinations says it is "investigating how a small number of candidates in Egypt appear to have received advance notice of tasks in a recent IGCSE ICT practical examination".

International exam

The exam regulator, Ofqual, has been informed of the problem, and the investigation will examine possible sources of the breach, such as packets of questions being opened in advance.

The investigation will have to establish how many pupils might have had access to the questions in advance and who was responsible. And the exam board will have to decide what action it might take.

The leak of questions applied to the IGCSE information and communication practical paper, with the reference number 0417/21.

"There is nothing to suggest that the allegations extend beyond a localised incident in one city in Egypt," says the exam board.

The exam has already been taken at centres around the world, and depending on the outcome of the investigation, it will mean that markers will be expected to look out for unusual patterns or inconsistencies in answers to this part of the exam.

"Cambridge International Examinations and the British Council have well-established procedures in place to protect the integrity of exams and ensure all students get a fair grade," says the statement.

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