Pupils who had “full access” to an A-level chemistry paper stolen from a Parcelforce van and then leaked online have been disqualified, AQA has confirmed.
The exam board said it reported the theft to the police after students sitting a chemistry paper on June 20 said they recognized questions that had been asked earlier. were posted online.
The commission today confirmed that the paper was stolen when it was delivered to the school and put up for sale on social media. Police are “still working to find those responsible”, AQA said in an email to leaders who saw the sighting School week.
In cases where the committee identified students who had “full access” to the document prior to the exam, they were disqualified. However, the images shared on social media were of too low a quality to give a “clear advantage”, AQA said.
But after completing an “extensive analysis” of the impact on grades, AQA said it had ruled out “gains in grades or performance that would have affected grade boundaries”.
“This means that the students who passed this paper performed as we expected them to.”
A spokesman for Parcelforce Worldwide said they “cannot comment further as the police investigation is ongoing”.
“Unable” to replace the paper
AQA said that while images of the paper were circulated on social media, “they were of such poor quality that they would not have provided a significant clear advantage to students who saw these small pieces of paper”.
“Students also wouldn’t know when they saw these images that they were made from real paper, as many other revision aids, including past paper images, were distributed legally.
“We understand that some of you were disappointed that we didn’t replace the paper, but unfortunately, in the time we had, it really wasn’t possible to replace this paper with a suitable alternative.”
AQA said its analysis included looking at statistics for all three chemistry papers and comparing results between the 2022 and 2019 exams.
It also modeled predicted performance and cross-checked it against “information available to our Integrity exam team about individual students”.
The board added: “We are very disappointed that this has happened, especially after all the hard work you and your students have put in over the last two years to prepare.
“We hope this gives you the confidence that you and your students should feel satisfied that the results given to our students are accurate and that we have taken appropriate action against those known to have been unfairly advantaged.” .
This is not the first theft of exam papers
An AQA spokesman said: “We have reported the theft of this exam paper to the police and are continuing to work with them to find those responsible. Our exam team identified students who had full access to the document prior to the exam and were disqualified.
“Our research team conducted a detailed analysis of the students’ performance on the job, and compared it to performance on the same job in 2019, and this investigation found that the students who did the job performed as we expected them to. This means that there was no impact on the grade limits.”
This is not the first time that examination boards have had to take action after documents or the vans that transported them were stolen.
In 2003, AQA had to rewrite papers for half a million pupils after a Parcelforce van was stolen.
In 2005, rewrite on similar scale required because documents were stolen from one van and lost from another.
Most recently, in 2019, AQA had to be replaced four exam papers have already been sent to schools after a batch was stolen from a van.