TWITTER/ GETTYStudents have been left devastated after an AQA examiner lost their history papers
An examiner for AQA was on a train when the bag they were carrying full of unmarked papers was stolen.
Students at Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton opened their A Level results this morning to discover their grades and a letter from AQA explaining the shambles.
But instead of offering the 20 pupils a chance to resit the exam, the exam board gave them a grade based on their own calculations.
The theft has meant some students have lost their place on their university course and others have been desperately phoning admissions offices to explain the situation.
Furious parents have demanded answers from the exam board after finding out the papers were stolen five weeks ago.
Unfortunately on the 15th July one of our examiners carrying your student’s A-Level history papers had their bag stolen from them whilst on a train
The letter said: “Unfortunately on the 15th July one of our examiners carrying your student’s A-Level history papers had their bag stolen from them whilst on a train.
“Our primary focus is always to deliver the best possible outcomes for students and so this incident is a huge disappointment to us and I know it is, to you and your students.”
AQA says it informed the school of the theft on July 16 and used a formula approved by education body, the Joint Council for Qualifications to determine the students’ grades but heartbroken students say their futures have been jeopardised because of the theft.
NCAn AQA examiner lost history papers which had been sat at Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton
Lauren Jellis, 18, has been told she no longer has a place on her first choice course because of her history grade and has been offered an alternative instead after achieving B’s in Spanish and maths.
She said: “I got to school and they handed us our envelopes and there was aspirate one with a letter from AQA explaining what had happened and the process they went through to give us our grades to make it fair, but I don’t think it is fair.
“I got a C overall in History but based on AQA’s formula they gave me a D for the paper which they lost.
“People feel they have been given grades they didn’t deserve and I think had they been able to mark my exam I could have got a B.
“I was going to do hispanic studies and history at the University of Birmingham but instead they’ve offered me modern languages so this has affected my place.
“I’m happy I got an offer but I don’t think it’s fair.
NCStudents received a letter from AQA informing them of the shambles
“It was a real shock, I just wasn’t expecting it.
“It’s the exam board’s fault and they are putting students’ futures at risk even though it’s not our fault.”
One father, who wished to remain anonymous, told Express.co.uk: “My daughter is devastated that after two years of study that her final result is not based on the exams that she sat but is based on a formula from students in previous years.”
The parent said his 18-year-old daughter received an A in geography and B in English as predicted but was devastated when she discovered her grade in history had been estimated as a C, despite being told she was expected to get a B.
The 18-year-old girl was planning to study history at university and has managed to keep her place after the school intervened and spoke to the university.
Her father, 48, said: “She phoned me in tears saying the papers had been lost and they had given her a C.
“The headteacher is furious and says he is gong to take it further.
“If this happened in July they could have got the kids to re-sit, it wasn’t that long after they had done the exam. Why did they wait until results day to tell them.
“We were told people who have got a B in previous years on their coursework would normally get a C and that’s what she has been given.
“I’m not satisfied with how AQA have acted. The papers are normally marked in a secure environment. What was someone doing on train with them in the first place and why weren’t they kept secure?
“She’s still got her university place but history was the subject she really wanted to do she has got a C and and it will always be a C.
“This takes no account of the school's view, including the B pass in the two exams in year one and the schools predicted grade of B.
“It cannot be a fair basis to say that all students do better in coursework and therefore because she got a B in her coursework then it is reasonable to assume she would have done worse in the exams and therefore C is appropriate.”
AQA said it is working closely with UCAS to make them aware of the circumstances of the 20 students.
British Transport Police is also investigating.
The exam board said guidelines for examiners forbid them from marking A Level papers in a public place but there is nothing to stop them taking the papers on public transport before they have been marked.
PAStudents across the country collected their A Level results today
PAMartha North-Concar celebrates her A level results with a friend at Brighton College in East Sussex
An AQA spokeswoman said: “On the very rare occasion that scripts are stolen, exam boards can still give students a result based on how they have performed in the other papers or coursework for that subject.
“It’s also what we do for students who’ve missed part of their exam because of illness or personal tragedy. If missing scripts come to light after results day, we always mark them – and it’s usually the case that the calculated grade proves to be very accurate.”
“We have apologised to the school for the incident as we know what a huge disappointment it is for them and their students.”
Caroline Chisholm School, which is classed as Good by Ofsted and is celebrating it’s best ever results, said two pupils who sat the history exam failed to get into their first choice university.
Gary Wakefield, vice principal at Caroline Chisholm School, said: “It’s a new one for me, in 28 years of teaching I’ve never heard of this happening.
“Questions have got to be asked of AQA if this is there normal practice.
“We are very disappointed that this happened and our priority has ben making sure students are not disadvantaged and making sure they get their university places.
“We’ve biased with AQA and have been in touch with universities. Two of the 20 students did not get their first choice of university but it’s early days there is still clearing and other options to go through.”
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