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Distracting invigilators during A level paper today - any advice please?

(88 Posts)
GnomeDePlume Tue 20-Jun-17 17:31:52

DD sat her Core 3 Maths A level paper today. She is very unhappy.

Throughout the exam the invigilators whisper chatted to each other. To add to this, one of the invigilators' mobile phone went off and was not silenced and allowed to ring through.

Just in case this couldnt get worse another invigilator came into the room 20 minutes before the end and joined in the whisper chatter.

Unfortunately the invigilators were sat just a foot in front of DD so she (DD) found this incredibly distracting when she was trying to concentrate. The distraction was so bad that DD was unable to complete the exam in the time.

This is not a subject DD is struggling with and was hoping for an A*. She is a diligent student and has sat many practice papers, completing them to a very high standard with time to spare.

If need be she can retake the paper next year while studying Further Maths.

DD has informed the Exams Officer of this very poor practice. Is there any recourse available to her?

Do any wise MNetters have advice please?

Misplacedcell Tue 20-Jun-17 18:44:57

Make sure your complaints are in writing. Lets hope your DD gets her A*.

GnomeDePlume Tue 20-Jun-17 20:06:09

Misplacedcell, thank you. DD is going to speak to the Exams Officer again tomorrow. When DD spoke to her today she did take it very seriously.

Unfortunately DD thinks the A* is gone for this year. She is taking Further Maths next year so can retake next year but had really hoped to get the A* this year.

She is just incensed by the inconsiderate behaviour of the invigilators. The exam was taken in a classroom so the invigilators were just normal classroom distance from candidates. They should have been aware that their behaviour would have a far greater impact on candidates than in an exam hall.

Misplacedcell Tue 20-Jun-17 21:17:55

The Department for Education might be interested to receive a copy of any correspondence regarding your complaint for its records. Any follow-up communication from them on the matter to exam officers would ensure that children are not penalised in the future by such inconsiderate exam hall practices. Don't fight your corner alone. The system is there to help.

noblegiraffe Tue 20-Jun-17 21:33:55

Ask the school's exams officer to apply for special consideration on the basis of the constant noise in the exam hall, with the complaint as evidence. She might get an extra mark or so which could make a difference.

GnomeDePlume Tue 20-Jun-17 22:05:21

Thank you Misplacedcell and noblegiraffe. I wasnt sure if special consideration was something which could be applied for. DD is going to speak to the Exams Officer tomorrow.

The Exams Officer is very professional and also very helpful so I am confident she will deal with DD fairly.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 20-Jun-17 22:06:21

As an invigilator myself I am hsppy to say this would just not happen at the school I work in. Definitely follow up, ask whether the school is asking for special consideration for this paper for Dd.

elevenclips Tue 20-Jun-17 22:08:06

Contact the exam board via the school. This is appalling, plus those whisperers need sacking.

Bishybarnybee Tue 20-Jun-17 22:11:35

That's really hard. I took a GCSE as an adult. I really needed it for further training I wanted to pursue. On the day of the exam, students were laughing and joking outside the exam hall. I was furious because there were posters everywhere telling them to be quiet. Then I caught myself, realised the anger was going to make me fail, and got on with it.

I can absolutely see how a conscientious and stressed teenager would be completely thrown and could be overwhelmed by feelings of "They should not be doing that" and not be able to complete the exam.

Unforgivable behaviour by the adults. Not sure whether there will be anything that can be done about it, but my heart goes out to her.

user1497480444 Tue 20-Jun-17 22:12:56

what were they talking about?

Lots of things can crop up in an exam that HAVE to be discussed and sorted out there and then.

The phone call and the other adult entering the room and joining the discussion points to a query being resolved. We have had several recently.

If there was no reason to talk, the invigilators need speaking to BUT some exam rooms are noisy, some are very noisy, and students just have to get on with it. There is no "special consideration" available for noise, and one phone call, and a whispered conversation would not even count as noise.

Try an exam room with 6 scribes simultaneously being dictated to, or 30 students typing madly on word processors!

noblegiraffe Tue 20-Jun-17 22:15:01

There is no "special consideration" available for noise

Yes there is. "Noise during the exam which is more than momentary".

user1497480444 Tue 20-Jun-17 22:16:30

whispering is not noise! And as I said in my previous post, dictation during exams is common, and far louder than whispering

LineyWimey Tue 20-Jun-17 22:20:14

user-plus-numbers-person I fear your information is incorrect.

user1497480444 Tue 20-Jun-17 22:21:40

of course its not incorrect, I 've been running the damn things all month. I know all this stuff exactly.

Lancelottie Tue 20-Jun-17 22:25:45

I misread your title as 'Distracting alligators during A-level'
(I blame the heat).

Now that would be worth a complaint.

noblegiraffe Tue 20-Jun-17 22:26:43

Clearly it was a noise if it caused a candidate to be unable to complete the paper.

Where scribes are being used, the centre has to ensure that they cannot be overheard by, or distract other candidates.

SylviasLovers Tue 20-Jun-17 22:27:02

You don't lose anything by applying for special consideration, so I'd do that and then let the exam board decide if whispering is noise.

LineyWimey Tue 20-Jun-17 22:30:29

Well read the OP properly then, usernumberperson.

LineyWimey Tue 20-Jun-17 22:31:16

I must say, alligators would have been impressive.

user1497480444 Tue 20-Jun-17 22:32:34

Clearly it was a noise if it caused a candidate to be unable to complete the paper.

The candidate being distracted is not what defines an exam room as too noisy, Candidates can be distracted by many things, that it would be totally unreasonable to try and eliminate.

Where scribes are being used, the centre has to ensure that they cannot be overheard by, or distract other candidates.

as I said, it is impossible to create an exam environment where absolutely no candidate can claim to be distracted. If there are 6 readers and 6 scribes in the room, you are going to be able to hear them all, even if you can't hear exactly what is being said.Candidates can claim it distracts them, but the answer is basically , tough. There is nothing we can do. We had a candidate using a word processor complaining she was distracted by the sound of other word processors last week. I don't know what she expected us to do about it. We didn't do anything about it, because there is nothing we can do about it, and it certainly didn't qualify as "noise"

user1497480444 Tue 20-Jun-17 22:33:57

My information is completely correct lineywimey

LineyWimey Tue 20-Jun-17 22:35:48

Yeah, and I'm struggling with the cold.

noblegiraffe Tue 20-Jun-17 22:36:20

6 scribes in the room

Per JCQ, candidates with scribes are usually put in separate rooms precisely because it's so distracting for other candidates.

And given that this wasn't other candidates, but invigilators, about whom a complaint is being made, it is certainly worth trying.

user1497480444 Tue 20-Jun-17 22:37:42

Per JCQ, candidates with scribes are usually put in separate rooms precisely because it's so distracting for other candidates

well that just doesn't happen, I don't know what planet you are living on, but one in which schools have 6 times more empty rooms available, and 6 times more invigilators, obviously.

LineyWimey Tue 20-Jun-17 22:38:40

I smell a whiffy thing.

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