SINGAPORE: Steps have been taken to ensure that the Secondary 5 students who were given the wrong papers for their O-Level Mathematics Paper 1 examination in October will be fairly assessed.
This was the assurance given by the Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng in a written parliamentary reply on Wednesday (Nov 9).
A total of 73 candidates from Woodgrove and Ahmad Ibrahim secondary schools had mistakenly sat for the O-Level Mathematics Paper 1 under the new syllabus because their schools had indicated the wrong syllabus code during the registration process.
Mr Ng revealed that the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) will take into consideration the circumstances of the incident and various other information, including the candidates’ performance in the school’s preliminary examination for Mathematics, their performance in the O-Level Mathematics examination as well as the cohort's performance in that exam.
The SEAB is working with the two schools and the University of Cambridge International Examinations to ensure a fair assessment for the affected candidates, he said.
In his reply to questions by MP Intan Azura Mokhtar, Mr Ng explained that this year, "schools could offer different O-Level Mathematics examination papers to Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) students due to a change in syllabus." He said that while the Secondary 4 Express students are the first batch to take the examination under the revised syllabus, the old syllabus is still available for the Secondary 5 students, noting that the topics examined under the old and revised syllabus are "largely comparable."
"Both affected schools acknowledged that such an error could have been avoided if checks in the registration processes were more thorough, especially in instances where two different syllabi were offered for the same subject," said Mr Ng.
Calling it "a rare and unfortunate incident", Mr Ng gave the assurance that efforts are being made to ensure the mix-up does not happen again.
"The two schools have reviewed their processes and tightened checks for future examination registration," he added.
Mr Ng added that the SEAB and the two schools took immediate steps to ensure that the affected candidates sat for the correct O-Level Mathematics Paper 2 the following day.