A INVESTIGATION ordered by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn into the origin of an error on a Leaving Cert paper taken by nearly 15,000 students is nearing completion, according to the State Examinations Commission.
Paper 2 on the Higher Level Mathematics course contained a major error which meant it was possible to get two different answers – each of them equally ‘correct’ – in a particular question on trigonometry.
Many students reported having lost time as a result of the confusion caused by the question, with one Dublin teacher telling TheJournal.ie:
One of my students was in floods of tears after that paper. She said she had spent almost an hour on the question and hadn’t given enough time to others.
I heard the same story from some of my grinds students too. The general feedback is people wasted way too much time.
The question was mandatory for all students sitting the exam, and was worth 5 per cent of the total grade for the subject. Students will find out how they fared in the exam on Wednesday when the results are released.
Minister Quinn said earlier this summer that the errors would be taken into account by the Chief Examiner when finalising marking schemes for the exams.
Quinn said the SEC had two jobs: to ensure that the errors did not result in any individual students being penalised, and to ensure that no such errors occurred again.
A spokesperson for the State Exams Commission told TheJournal.ie today the report on the errors was now being finalised, and would be handed over to the Department of Education as soon as it is ready.
It is expected the SEC will reveal more details about how the marking scheme for the paper was amended to account for the error in advance of the release of the Leaving Cert results.