Last updated 14 April 2015

This page provides information to students who were presented with an error in the March 2015 BTEC Level 1 / Level 2 Firsts in Application of Science: Scientific Skills paper (20474E) sat on Monday 2 March 2015.

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What was the issue?

In a question about an ammonium nitrate experiment, we referred to ammonium chloride. This was a mistake and the question should have continued to talk about ammonium nitrate. We're really sorry for any confusion this may have caused. 

What happened after the error was identified?

The question was a calculation and it should still have been possible to answer it correctly. However, we're aware that this may have confused some students and made the question harder to answer than expected.

We take our responsibility for issuing fair results very seriously, so our examiners were trained to mark the exam and monitored in the same rigorous way as normal. This included asking our examiners to let the Lead Examiner know if any students had answered the question in an unusual way.

Find out more about how we ensure quality marking

Once the paper had been marked, our senior examiners used both statistical evidence and their own professional judgement to determine where the grade boundaries should fall.

We then completed additional analysis of student performance to determine if we needed to take additional steps to ensure that students weren't unfairly disadvantaged by the error.

What did your additional analysis show?

The question containing the error was designed to be challenging, targeting borderline Merit/Distinction students, so we checked how students performed on this question in relation to the rest of the exam. Our analysis indicated that students generally performed as we expected on the question, completing the calculation using the figures given for ammonium nitrate.

We also looked at how students performed on later questions in the exam to see if there was any evidence to suggest that the confusion may have impacted performance. Again, our analysis indicated that students did not appear to have been affected by the error.

Next steps

We're sorry that the error in this exam paper wasn't picked up during our usual quality assurance checks and want to reassure students that we've thoroughly considered the impact before releasing results. We've written to your school to provide more information on the analysis we've completed so, if you have any questions about your mark or grade, particularly if you feel you were confused by us mentioning ammonium chloride, please speak to your teacher.

If you'd like to see a copy of your marked exam paper, your school will be able to request this on your behalf and we won't be charging for requests received before Friday 24 April 2015.

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