Measures to address lost exam scripts inadequate

I was aghast upon reading the report on the stolen A-level answer scripts (238 A-level Chemistry answer scripts from 4 Singapore JCs stolen in Britain; ST Online, Feb 23).This is the second time national exam papers were lost.

My cousin, who was affected, was greatly distressed over the loss of his script. It was a paper de had worked hard for, yet his effort has come to naught.

His university and scholarship applications may even be affected.

The avenues to seek redress are inadequate. Those choosing to resit the paper may find it difficult to regain the momentum in preparing for it.

As someone who sat the exam before, I can say that Chemistry Paper 3 is not easy to prepare for.

Furthermore, it has been a few months since the exams ended and students may find that they have become rusty on the concepts.

It is also unfair to unaffected students, as they do not get this second chance to achieve a better grade.

Students can also choose to keep their grade. However, I am sceptical of the projection used to determine the adjusted score.

It will not be as accurate as the actual score and, given the importance of the A-level exam in determining their future, this is a concern.

Some students have also gained an unfair advantage, such as the student who ended up with an A despite not completing Paper 3 (Affected students mostly happy with awarded grades; Feb 24).

Motherhood statements stating that the process will be reviewed are unsatisfactory, given the gravity of the situation.

Candidates paid hefty exam fees, and Cambridge Assessment is obliged to ensure safe delivery of the scripts.

The Ministry of Education and Cambridge Assessment should be held answerable for this lapse. Others involved should also be held responsible.

There should be a full accounting to let Singaporeans know the concrete steps taken to ensure this does not happen for the third time.

I suggest a partial refund of the exam fees to the students affected, as the lapse resulted in papers paid for but not being graded.

The authorities should also consider having a digital back-up of the scripts, in the event papers get lost again.

Sean Lim Wei Xin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2018, with the headline 'Measures to address lost exam scripts inadequate'. Print Edition | Subscribe