The exam board AQA has apologised after a GCSE physics paper included a question on a topic that had been specifically ruled out in advance information provided to pupils.
All pupils who sat higher tier paper 1 last Thursday (June 9) will all be awarded the full nine marks available for all parts of a question on energy transfers and circuits, AQA has said.
The board admitted that its advance information for the paper, provided this year to aid pupils in the first formal exams since 2019, had specifically stated that circuits would not be assessed in the exam.
Pupils and parents tweeted their frustration over the “embarassing and unforgivable” mistake last week.
One user said they were “absolutely fuming … Why say two topics will not be assessed if you’re going to assess them on the paper!? I would have revised circuits with my y11 if that were the case! AQA have made me fail my classes. Despicable.”
Another, who said their daughter sat the paper, asked why the exam board would “do this to candidates confidence?”.
Another user said the cohort had “suffered enough disruption”.
“Provision of advanced information was welcome but has to be accurate! Why a 9 mark circuits and symbols question when advanced info specifically stated this area wouldn’t be examined? Embarrassing and unforgivable.”
In a statement issued on Friday, AQA said it was “really sorry and we’re looking at why our checks didn’t pick this up”. It was also doing “extra checks on the advance information and question papers for future exams”.
“Energy transfers were listed in the advance information as being assessed – but circuits were unfortunately listed as not being assessed.
“To make sure students aren’t disadvantaged, we’ll be awarding everyone full marks for all parts of the question, which were worth a total of 9 marks.”
It follows criticism of AQA just last week over a question in a GCSE geography paper which campaigners warned was “inaccessible” to colour-blind pupils.