Coursework to be removed from GCSE computer science grades amid cheating fears

Coursework is to be removed from GCSE computer science grades due to concerns about cheating. Picture by Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

COURSEWORK is to be removed from final GCSE computer science grades due to concerns about widespread cheating.

Tasks due to be completed as part of the new GCSE course have been posted online, as well as detailed solutions, according to exams watchdog Ofqual.

Some posts have been viewed thousands of times.

Most Northern Ireland pupils take exams offered by the north's exams board, the CCEA. However, many also take papers set by boards from England. The AQA and OCR are the two most popular English boards.

The decision is expected to affect hundreds of pupils from the north. The non-exam assessment is worth 20 per cent of the total GCSE computer science mark.

Ofqual said the non-exam assessment was intended to test pupils' programming skills.

The apparent extent of malpractice in the qualification, it said, lead it to believe it was no longer possible for exam boards to ensure that grades awarded next summer would fairly reflect the ability of all students unless changes were made to the assessment arrangements.

It is seeking views on alternative assessment arrangements that would apply to students sitting exams in 2018 and 2019.

Julie Swan, Executive Director for General Qualifications, said it was with great reluctance that Ofqual was proposing to change a qualification for which pupils were already studying.

"However, we must take immediate action to address these issues and the potential impact on public confidence in relation to this qualification," she said.

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