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Exam paper leak means resit for hundreds of students in Kuwait

Test sheet — Photo by Geoffrey Whiteway

Test sheet — Photo by Geoffrey Whiteway

KUWAIT: Hundreds of students across Kuwait will be required to resit a multihour Cambridge International Examinations math exam after it was discovered that the exam papers were leaked. British-system high schools in Kuwait sent parents a note this week informing them that the 0580 IGCSE Mathematics (Extended Syllabus) Papers 2 & 4 papers from the May 12 exam have been deemed “invalid” due to malpractice.

In an official statement posted on its Facebook page yesterday, the British Council of Kuwait said, “We understand the concern that reports of leaked papers cause students. Cambridge International Examinations and the British Council take the security of every single exam paper very seriously. Cambridge International Examinations and the British Council are committed to maintaining the integrity of Cambridge exams and ensuring fair and valid results for all our students worldwide.

The British Council and Cambridge International Examinations are investigating the source of this examination leak, which may or may not have originated in Kuwait.” While the source of the leak remains unconfirmed, the British Council noted, in a response to a parent’s comments on Facebook, that: Whilst we cannot yet confirm the origin of this breach of security, Cambridge International Examinations can confirm that it has definite evidence that a number of students in Kuwait had seen the content of the question papers, meaning they were advantaged over other students.

For this reason we felt there was no option but to schedule new versions of these papers to ensure fairness to all students and in the interest of the trust and integrity of our exams.” According to a British Council official who spoke with Kuwait Times, the leak did not occur within the British Council and they are working with students to offer alternative testing dates or refunds for students who cannot make the June 1 resit date. That plan however has created problems for many parents and students. “Some students have finished their exams and traveled.

Others have interviews at schools in Europe and elsewhere,” explained one irate parent. “We had to reschedule flights and pay the rescheduled fee. The whole story is stinky and really upsets me.” A group of students have taken to the Internet to voice their distress, setting up a petition on Change.org, “Students in Kuwait refuse to resit IGCSE Maths!” The petition had received more than 400 signatures as of late Thursday afternoon.

One student, Ali Hashim, wrote “It’s not fair to resit an exam we all worked hard and we will not study again for it after four months studying for the exam.” Many students called the resit decision unfair. “I studied hard for the exam and I didn’t have any access to the question paper before the exam so it’s unfair for me to resit the exam after I finished it,” wrote student Shahad Abdullah.

The British Council is offering full refunds for any students wishing to withdraw from the exams and will also allow students to resit in November 2014 without additional charges.

By Jamie Etheridge

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This article was published on 22/05/2014