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Major disruption during a GCSE exam

(31 Posts)
chocolateworshipper Fri 27-May-16 22:56:36

DD is severely dyslexic so has a scribe for her exams. During the exam today, her scribe had to run out of the room to be sick. This left DD without a scribe. Anyone have any idea what is possible to compensate for this? She is absolutely distraught about it. I know special consideration can give up to 5% extra marks, but is this won't make enough difference

Haggisfish Fri 27-May-16 22:57:40

What have school said? Their exams officer should talk to you. Or phone exam board direct.

noblegiraffe Fri 27-May-16 23:07:03

Special consideration will be given, but as you said the maximum allowed is 5%. I don't think they can do any more than this, failure to implement previously approved access arrangements is on the special consideration list so that's what it would come under.

Did the scribe come back? How distressing for your DD sad

EvilTwins Fri 27-May-16 23:10:30

How long was she without a scribe? Did she get her full exam time (ie if scribe was away for 5 mins, did she get an extra 5 mins at the end)? You need to speak to the exams officer and then let him/her handle it - you can't do this yourself. Work checking in with them though, after you've made the initial enquiry - just to make sure they've done any relevant paperwork.

FIS2016 Fri 27-May-16 23:13:02

Really they should have paused her exam until the scribe returned and then made sure she had the full remaining time. Do you know if they did this?

GiraffesAndButterflies Fri 27-May-16 23:18:07

If there are a number of exams for the subject, you might manage to make a case for discounting that exam entirely and basing the performance on the other exam(s) alone.

The exams officer would probably have to lobby the board pretty hard for it and it would need to have happened early in the exam ie affected the majority of her performance. I'd expect the EO to have to make a case for severe disruption (can't remember what the exact wording would be sorry) rather than just failure to implement arrangements.
Did she continue in the absence of the scribe? Did she wait long and therefore lose much time? How panicked was she during the exam? Did the scribe come back in, did they manage to continue? Can another teacher/invigilator attest to your DD's emotional state during the exam and/or to the disruption? That kind of thing, in a letter from the EO to the board.

chocolateworshipper Fri 27-May-16 23:19:26

Thank you so much for your replies. I have emailed the exams officer, but it is now half term. The scribe did not come back. Eventually someone else turned up, but the time was not paused, so DD was left trying to write herself and getting herself all worked up about spelling. The second scribe was not very good either.

EvilTwins Fri 27-May-16 23:20:38

That's awful! Was it English Lit?

GiraffesAndButterflies Fri 27-May-16 23:21:52

Don't worry about it being half term, the board will understand that delay.

chocolateworshipper Fri 27-May-16 23:24:01

GandB - DD has a documented history of mental health issues and is on anti-depressants, so this may help in making a case I guess? Her controlled assessments are As and A*s, and she felt that she did well in the first exam where there was no disruption. There is certainly a member of staff who saw the state she was in straight after today's exam. It sounds like I need to have conversations with the school straight after half term.

chocolateworshipper Fri 27-May-16 23:25:48

EvilTwins - yes it was English Lit - so especially hard for someone with dyslexia to work without a scribe!

EvilTwins Fri 27-May-16 23:26:23

The exams officer may well be checking email over half term - I know that the EO at my school will be. Presumably he/she was fully aware of what has happened? Hopefully that means things are already being actioned. Awful for your poor DD though.

GiraffesAndButterflies Fri 27-May-16 23:37:55

GandB - DD has a documented history of mental health issues and is on anti-depressants, so this may help in making a case I guess?

Possibly but not necessarily. The key thing is what happened today that couldn't previously have been allowed for. Another condition that is under management probably won't have a big influence.

I'd say that the biggest issue is at what point in the exam it happened. 10 minutes after the start is a very different thing to 10 minutes before the end. The EO needs to give the board a clear and detailed timeline.
Good luck to your DD flowers

MummySparkle Fri 27-May-16 23:47:45

Your poor DD. I used to do exam support. I did it 2 summers ago, and the last exam was about a week before I gave birth to DD. If I had to leave unexpectedly (which I didn't, and nor did any other staff) We would do our best to split support between students / an invigilator would step in / the EO would come and scribe / anything we could do as soon as possible to make sure the student was supported.

Heartbreakingly I was a reader for an English Lit exam. We are allowed to read the question paper, but not the extract to the students. I had a severely dyslexic student who struggled with both reading and writing who couldn't answer anything because he couldn't read the extract sad he was quite bright too, but the letters were all a jumble to him

HereIAm20 Sat 28-May-16 18:17:59

I am an invigilator. The process would have been to halt the exam, find a replacement scribe and then continue the exam so that your DD had her prescribed time which I assume would be + 25% or even more. The Exams Officer should have ensured this happened and should also fill out a report to explain what happened. I am gobsmacked on your behalf if this did not happen! Definitely ask for a full explanation as to what happened and as to how they intend dealing with it.

chocolateworshipper Sat 28-May-16 18:57:56

Thank you so much HereIAM20 - this is really useful. No the exam was not halted in order to find a replacement. She has 25% extra time, but this is to compensate for her slow cognitive processing, and the scribe is supposed to compensate for her slow writing speed. Therefore she was disadvantaged by being left to write by herself (let alone the disruption!). I have been told that there are revision boosters running in school during half term, so at least now I know there will be some staff in.

RedHelenB Sat 28-May-16 19:20:31

The invigilator has to note the times the scribe left the room. Did dd say what time they did?

noblegiraffe Sat 28-May-16 19:22:57

Was there even anyone else in the room with her or was she left on her own unsupervised?

catslife Sun 29-May-16 18:29:52

What noble says is possible in the school where I work as we wouldn't necessarily have an invigilator actually in the exam room if a scribe is present. There is usually a "floating" invigilator who keeps an eye on small rooms used in case of problems (or sometimes the exams officer does this).
There is a cover sheet that the scribes have to sign and which needs to be returned to the exam board to say that they have completed their duties see the JCQ website for details. If the form isn't signed or completed correctly then it can be a problem for the candidate e.g. cause a delay with the results. The exam board would however contact the school to check if the form wasn't complete.
English language GCSE is the next one after half term so it's possible that someone from the English department could be in school this week.

chocolateworshipper Tue 31-May-16 17:07:48

DD has now given me a bit more detail. Scribe was very fidgety right from the start - clearly not feeling well. The scribe suggested having a 5 minute break (DD is allowed this). Another SN child was also having a break at the same time - her scribe left her with my DD whilst she went off to fetch something. My DD's scribe then dashed into the toilet to be sick, leaving two children unsupervised during an exam. DD is now in a panic that she could be disqualified if anyone found out that she was left unsupervised - would this happen? When DD's scribe came out the toilet, they went back into the room and scribe told DD to carry on writing by herself - scribe wrote a note for the invigilator explaining that she had to leave. She doesn't know how long she was left writing by herself as she was in so much of a panic. She doesn't want me to tell the school what happened until we know whether she could be disqualified.

RedHelenB Tue 31-May-16 17:54:18

I would ring the school asap to find out what happened exactly and what effect it could have on your dd. Obviously being left in a room unsupervised could allow for cheating but this was not your daughters fault. I have always invigilated rooms with a scribe and one child and all of us had a mobile phone tp call the exam officer.

Haggisfish Tue 31-May-16 18:13:52

That is awful. Def contact exam board and exams officer at school ASAP.

noblegiraffe Tue 31-May-16 18:39:15

I just looked through JCQ's malpractice guide and here's an example of the result of an investigation into a student being left unsupervised.

"Following comments made to a member of staff by a candidate, the centre conducted an investigation into suspected malpractice. The investigation discovered that a member of staff acting as invigilator had provided inappropriate assistance to a candidate during the course of a GCSE Mathematics examination. The same member of staff during the examination also left the candidate unsupervised for an unknown period of time.
For inappropriately assisting the candidate the teacher was debarred from involvement in the delivery of the awarding body’s qualifications for a period of three years.
For failing to supervise the candidate whilst being an invigilator, the teacher was debarred for an additional year.
The centre was subject to enhanced monitoring in order to safeguard the integrity of qualifications delivered at the centre."

The candidate wasn't disqualified.

Their guidance notes say
"Awarding bodies will endeavour to protect candidates who, through no fault of their own, are caught up in a malpractice incident.
It should, however, be accepted that there may be instances where the work submitted for assessment does not represent the efforts of the individual candidates and it may not be possible to give those candidates a result, or permit a result to be retained."
I think the second part will relate to teachers giving inappropriate help to students, and your DD should be fine.

chocolateworshipper Tue 31-May-16 20:00:12

Thank you so much everyone - you are amazing giving so much help. It definitely sounds like this needs to be taken seriously, but my only worry now is how much stress this will cause for DD if she is being questioned about what happened. She can't handle any more stress!

Haggisfish Tue 31-May-16 20:13:25

Schools are very good at this sort of thing. Has she any more gcses to sit?

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