More than 70 students took wrong O-level maths paper after blunder by schools

Catherine Robert
The New Paper
Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016

More than 70 students sat for the wrong GCE O-level mathematics paper last Thursday.

The 73 Secondary 5 students who were affected were from Woodgrove Secondary School and Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School (AISS). They had taken the O-level mathematics (Syllabus 4048) Paper 1.

The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) told The New Paper yesterday that the students were supposed to take the GCE O-Level mathematics (Syllabus 4016), and were registered by their respective schools.

SEAB revealed that 24 of the affected students were from AISS, while the remaining 49 came from Woodgrove Secondary.

The board, which collaborates with the Ministry of Education (MOE) on all national examinations, said the mistake came about after the respective schools "indicated the wrong syllabus code during the registration process".

TNP understands that both schools became aware of the error after the exam was taken.

In a statement, SEAB said: "They immediately notified us and worked closely with us to ensure that the candidates sat for the correct syllabus for Maths Paper 2 on Oct 21 (last Friday)."

SEAB also confirmed that no other schools were affected.


Shin Min Daily News reported on Sunday that "one of the students" from AISS "went home after the exam, looked through his 10-year series" and realised the different syllabus codes.

The student, who declined to be named, said: "We told our teacher about the inaccurate subject code that night and when we went back to take the second paper, we were given the paper with the correct subject code and syllabus."

When asked how different the two papers were, SEAB said: "The GCE O-Level mathematics (Syllabus 4048) is a revised version of the mathematics (Syllabus 4016) and is being examined for the first time this year.

"While the affected candidates have sat for the revised Syllabus 4048, the topics examined are largely comparable with the Syllabus 4016."

Principal of AISS, Ms Chew Ing Lim, told TNP in a statement yesterday evening that since the incident, the "school has reached out to the parents of these students to convey that SEAB is working with Cambridge International Examinations to provide a fair assessment for the students".

She said she had "also met with the students the next day after Paper 2 to provide assurance and ascertain if further support was needed".

"Our immediate focus is to provide the necessary support to the students who are still in the midst of taking the national examinations. The students have been encouraged to stay focused." 

SEAB confirmed that the students will not have to re-sit the exam.

Instead, they "will take into consideration the circumstances of the incident, the candidates' performance in the school preliminary examination, their performance in the other mathematics paper and the cohort's performance in providing a fair assessment to the candidates for the mathematics subject".

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