A computer science exam paper set by the Scottish Qualifications Authority was infested with errors and an impossible question, prompting teachers to call for an immediate inquiry.
Teachers have expressed their disappointment, calling the paper “a disgrace”, especially since it comes at a time where the subject faces an “existential threat” with falling teacher numbers, according to Scottish newspaper The Herald.
The National 5 computing exam was sat by thousands of unlucky Scottish teenagers, who faced questions that were poorly worded and factually wrong. One question reported the weight of a tablet computer as 65kg, whilst another had questionable grammar: "Give one reason of using this type of selection".
The paper has also been attacked for setting questions with multiple possible answers, and quizzing students over the legislation of mobile phone cloning – a subject that was not part of the syllabus.
Concerns were highlighted on internet forums, reported the Herald, with one teacher who was said to be from a high profile Edinburgh private school describing the paper as "the most error-strewn and, in places, incomprehensible examination I’ve seen in my career".
"It contains typos, incorrect code and other errors which make questions unanswerable. It is strewn with grammatical errors, it requires knowledge which is not in the course and some questions are so poorly designed and worded that even the most able and best-prepared of candidates could well be defeated by them”, the teacher said.
A spokesperson for the SQA told The Register that “the National 5 Computing Science exam paper met our published course and assessment specifications. The breadth of questions allowed candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding."
“The paper did contain a small number of typographical errors,” the spokesperson added. ®