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32 GCE O-Level Additional Mathematics Candidates Affected by Loss of Paper 2 Scripts in the UK

1. The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) has been informed by Cambridge Assessment that 32 answer scripts for the 2018 GCE O-Level Additional Mathematics’ Paper 2 were lost in the United Kingdom (UK).

2. The 32 scripts were from two secondary schools – 20 scripts from Nan Hua High School and 12 scripts from Hong Kah Secondary School (12 scripts).

3. The incident occurred on 21 November 2018. A Cambridge examiner was travelling by train from London to the north of England with the 32 scripts in his luggage bag. The examiner’s bag was mistakenly taken by another train passenger. Cambridge Assessment immediately launched an investigation into the loss, and carried out extensive searches through the rail companies and police to locate the examiner’s bag. Unfortunately, the scripts have not been recovered and the search is still on-going.

4. Chief Executive of SEAB, Ms Tan Lay Choo, said, “We were upset and disappointed when we heard the news from Cambridge Assessment, especially since this happened so close to last year’s incident where 238 A-Level H2 Chemistry scripts were stolen in the UK. Cambridge Assessment has expressed its regret over the incident1 and asked SEAB to convey its sincere apologies to the affected candidates. Our priority now is to ensure that the affected candidates are not disadvantaged by the incident, and that they are given a valid and fair assessment for their Additional Mathematics examination.”

Valid and Fair Assessment for Affected Candidates

5. In circumstances where a candidate does not have a mark for a paper, Cambridge Assessment and SEAB have an established procedure to derive a grade for the subject. The key consideration is to ensure that each affected candidate is given a valid and fair assessment.

6. In this case, both Papers 1 and 2 of O-level Additional Mathematics assess content from the whole syllabus, based on the same assessment objectives. To award affected candidates a fair and valid grade, Cambridge Assessment and SEAB took into consideration the 32 candidates’ performance in the other Additional Mathematics paper2, which makes up 44% of the final grade, relative to the entire cohort’s overall performance in the subject. To check for consistency in the affected candidates’ overall performance in Additional Mathematics, Cambridge Assessment and SEAB also considered the candidates’ school preliminary examination results. It is important to note that the derived final grade is not simply a rebasing of Paper 1 from 44% to 100%.

7. Following this procedure, about 91% (29 Candidates) of the affected candidates obtained at least a Pass grade, with about 63% (20 candidates) attaining distinctions, i.e. A1/A2. Almost all the affected candidates had been awarded better or the same grades for the O-Level Additional Mathematics as compared to their school preliminary examinations.

Offer of Re-examination of Paper 2

8. Similar to last year’s incident, Cambridge Assessment and SEAB will offer affected candidates the option of a re-examination of the Additional Mathematics Paper 2 on 15 February 2019. The results of the re-examination will be released by end-February 2019. Details of the registration for the re-examination have been provided by SEAB to the candidates on 14 January 2019, after they had received their result slips.

9. The re-examination of Additional Mathematics Paper 2 will be based on the same curriculum that the candidates had been taught in schools. The re-examination will be pegged at the same standard as the 2018 Additional Mathematics Paper 2. The examination format will also remain unchanged.

10. For candidates who choose to sit for the re-examination, Cambridge Assessment and SEAB will count the better of the two grades, i.e. the better of the awarded grade and the re-examination grade, and this will be recorded as the final grade in their GCE O-Level result slip and certificate.

11. For candidates who did not choose to sit for the re-examination, their awarded grade will be recorded as the final grade in their GCE O-Level result slip and certificate.

Facilitating Off-Cycle Posting

12. MOE and SEAB will also work with the junior colleges, Millennia Institute, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education to consider the candidates’ re-examination results for off-cycle posting to these institutions and courses of study.

  1. Please refer to Cambridge Assessment’s press statement.

  2. 2018 GCE O-Level Additional Mathematics examination format:
    • Paper 1 is a 2 h paper with 80 marks and 44% weighting; and
    • Paper 2 is a 2 h 30min paper with 100 marks and 56% weighting.
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