Investigation launched after pupils given question 'copied' from textbook

An investigation has been launched after it emerged a question used in the Edexcel GCSE maths paper 3 this week was almost identical to one used in a revision textbook.

Pupils took to social media to share their frustration after they were faced with the same diagram, values and answer in Tuesday’s GCSE higher tier maths paper as one published in the textbook AQA Certificate: Further Maths.

While a spokesperson for Pearson, which owns exam board Edexcel, said that the question was “typical” and “valid” for the GCSE higher tier maths paper, they added that the exam publisher is investigating further.

The AQA textbook where the similar question featured is a key revision resource for pupils taking the further maths qualification.

Although there were minor changes made in the exam question, such as the names of towns and the addition of an extra north arrow, the equations were the same.

While the textbook asked students to calculate the distance between Chorton and Aldbury, the exam paper asked them to work out the distance between Chorlton and Acton.

Speaking to The Student Room, A-level maths teacher Angela Duffy said: “Inevitably similar questions appear but in this case no numbers have been changed at all. Identical questions should and would not usually appear.”

Students shared their frustration on social media.


A Pearson spokesperson said: “This question is a typical and valid question to be asked in a GCSE higher tier maths paper aimed at a very small number of the most able candidates aiming for a grade 9.

“We can confirm that a similar question appears in a textbook for a qualification published by another publisher. We are investigating how this might have happened.

“We understand that students want to be confident in a level playing field and we want to reassure everybody that we have established processes in place to ensure no-one will be advantaged or disadvantaged.”

AQA declined to comment.