Botched computing test won’t count towards final GCSE grades, Ofqual confirms

A 20-hour non-examined assessment in computer science will not count towards pupils’ final GCSE grades in 2018 or 2019 after tasks from the test were leaked online, Ofqual has confirmed.

The regulator proposed changes to the assessment, currently worth 20 per cent of the overall grade, after it discovered that tasks and detailed solutions were posted on forums and viewed “thousands of times”.

Now Ofqual has confirmed that the proposals will go ahead after 75 per cent of respondents to a consultation on the issue backed changes to the way the tests are run this year and next. It is not yet known what will happen in 2020.

If we do not act now, it would be impossible for us to correct any unfairness caused by rules being broken

It means that although pupils will still sit the test this year, they will be given feedback on their performance, rather than a mark that affects their final grade.

Schools Week revealed last October that questions from the assessment, along with detailed solutions, were posted in online forums and viewed “thousands of times”, prompting the exam board Edexcel to replace the test.

Sally Collier, the chief regulator of Ofqual, said the changes “will make the qualification as fair as it can be for all students”.

“While the tasks themselves will no longer contribute to students’ grades, we strongly believe that learning about a high-level programming language and having the opportunity to show how it can be used to solve problems is hugely important,” she said.

The decision to remove the test from final results will ensure pupils have an “equal chance to show their knowledge and skills in the exams”.

Pupils and schools have been informed of the change by letter.

Incidents of cheating in computing accounted for 86 per cent of all penalties issued for plagiarism last year.

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