The exam board AQA has apologised to A-level law students for “confusion and stress” after complaints that a 30-mark question in a recent paper was not included in advance information.
But pupils will have to wait until after the paper is marked to find out what the board will do about the issue.
Pupils, parents and teachers tweeted their dismay about a question in AQA’s A-level law paper 2, which was sat on Monday.
Twitter users complained that the topics of a question on nuisance and the Rylands v Fletcher ruling was not covered in advance information which was aimed at making the first public exams since 2019 fairer.
Although advance information is not meant to cover every topic that may come up, pupils said they were led to believe it would cover all topics for questions attracting more than five marks.
One said advance information was meant to “level the playing field for those caught worse by Covid, not to trick people”.
“Your guidance clearly stated questions attracting more than 5 marks would be from the topics in AI.”
Another said: “It explicitly states that topics not listed will be the lower tariff questions!! Disgraceful.”
In guidance issued ahead of advance information, AQA said it would provide a “list of topics from the specification content that will be assessed on each paper”, and said higher-mark questions would “draw on these topics”.
“Topics not included on the list may still be assessed in low tariff, multiple choice or synoptic questions,” the continued guidance.
AQA ‘didn’t mean to cause confusion or stress’
AQA told Schools Week that advance information “wasn’t designed to cover everything in the exam.”
But they acknowledged that “many students expected us to include the focus of both the 30-mark questions – especially in light of guidance we gave before we released the advance information.”
“We didn’t mean to cause any confusion or stress for students and we’re sorry that we did. The fairest way to address this is for us to look at how students performed on this paper after we’ve marked it, and we’ll take any action necessary to protect them.”
It is the second time in a week that AQA has apologised after complaints about advance information.
The board apologized last Friday after a GCSE physics paper included a question on a topic that had been specifically ruled out in advance information.
All pupils who sat higher tier paper 1 last Thursday will all be awarded the full nine marks available for all parts of a question on energy transfers and circuits, AQA has said.
The board admitted that its advance information for the paper had specifically stated that circuits would not be assessed in the exam.
It also follows criticism of AQA last week over a question in a GCSE geography paper which campaigners warned was “inaccessible” to colour-blind pupils.
Edexcel this week also apologised over an error in its GCSE Geography B paper 3 which labeled Gabon as the Democratic Republic of Congo on a map of Africa.
Edexcel apologised on Twitter “for the unintentional error in the labeling of a map in our GCSE Geography paper and any confusion caused”.
“We will ensure students are not impacted by awarding marks for references to either country.”