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Stolen A-level Chemistry Paper 3: What happened?

A parcel of 238 exam scripts for last year's H2 Chemistry Paper Three was stolen. Here's a timeline of the incident.

Students affected by the theft of the GCE A-Level H2 Chemistry paper 3 examination scripts were given a slip of paper informing them of a briefing. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

Students affected by the theft of the GCE A-Level H2 Chemistry paper 3 examination scripts were given a slip of paper informing them of a briefing. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

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A parcel of 238 exam scripts for last year's H2 Chemistry Paper Three was stolen. Here's a timeline of the incident.

Nov 10, 2017: 8,843 students here sat for the H2 Chemistry Paper Three exam. Accounting for 35 per cent of the overall score, it has the highest weightage among the four papers that students have to take for the subject.

Nov 10 to 16, 2017: All the exam scripts were sent to Cambridge Assessment office in Hills Road, Cambridge in the United Kingdom (UK), before being broken up into smaller batches to be delivered to examiners for grading. Courier service provider was Parcelforce, which is part of UK's national postal agency Royal Mail.

Nov 16, 2017: En-route to make his deliveries, a Parcelforce courier driver noticed that eight parcels from his locked van went missing. One of the missing parcels contained the 238 exam scripts being delivered to one examiner; the rest were not from Cambridge Assessment. The driver filed a police report with the UK police.

Nov 30, 2017: Cambridge Assessment notified the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) about the theft. Police investigations – and efforts to recover the stolen scripts – were already underway at this point. According to SEAB, it was notified only 14 days later as Cambridge Assessment was assessing the situation, including checking if the parcels were misplaced.

Throughout Dec 2017: SEAB remained in close touch with Cambridge Assessment for updates on the investigations.

Jan 5, 2018: Cambridge Assessment sent an incident report to SEAB, stating that the UK police were still unable to recover the stolen scripts.

Week of Jan 15, 2018: SEAB representatives and Cambridge Assessment met in the UK to discuss an appropriate course of action, and how to fairly assess the 238 affected students.

End January: Cambridge Assessment examiners completed marking of all four Chemistry papers, followed by finalisation of grades for unaffected cohort.

End-Jan to Feb 9, 2018: Cambridge Assessment worked with SEAB on giving the affected students projected grades, based on their performance in the other three papers. The schools were informed after the grades were finalised.

Feb 23, 2018: Release of 2017 GCE A-level exams in Singapore. Affected students in the four schools were informed that their scripts were stolen and they were given a grade based on their performance in the other three papers when they personally collected their result slips.

The school held briefings with the students, informing them of the option to re-sit for the paper in April or November if they are not satisfied with their results.

To date, investigations into the theft are still ongoing. No culprit has been found. This is the first time examination scripts sent to the UK have been stolen since Singapore introduced the national GCE examinations.

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