Schools CAN finish old computer science test, says Edexcel

Pupils who have already started work on a computer science task that was suddenly replaced by Edexcel can continue with the old task, rather than having to start from scratch, the exam board has confirmed.

Edexcel says the “small number” of schools where pupils have already started the non-exam assessment (NEA) task component of its GCSE in computer science will be allowed to continue with it.

The board’s decision earlier this month to replace the component as a result of security fears was met with criticism, with some schools initially facing having to find up to 20 more hours in their timetables to repeat the task.

We will ensure no learner is disadvantaged by allowing schools that can show they’ve started the existing assessment to continue

But Edexcel has now changed its mind, after news coverage of the debacle prompted seven schools to get in touch.

“We have been contacted by a small number of schools whose students have already made a start on the GCSE computer science NEA task,” a spokesperson said.

“We will ensure no learner is disadvantaged by allowing schools that can show they’ve started the existing assessment to continue. All other schools should use the new NEA Task circulated last week.”

It follows calls from angry teachers or action against those at Edexcel who were responsible for the mistake.

Drew Buddie, a computer science teacher and former chair of Naace, the education technology association, said last week that the change would be an “utter nightmare” for schools and that “heads should roll”. He also accused Edexcel of punishing schools and pupils for a mistake of its own making.

“A lot of schools will already have been working on this, and my concern is over where they are going to reclaim that time from? 20 hours in my school is 10 weeks of double lessons,” he said.

Edexcel’s spokesperson apologised for “the inconvenience this error has caused”, and reaffirmed the company’s “absolute commitment to ensuring that all students receive the appropriate mark”.