Pupil takes exam board to court over question that ‘made her fail’

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A pupil who narrowly failed her secondary school exams is taking legal action to overturn the result because of a mistake in one of the exam papers.

The girl from Brabant, who has requested anonymity, fell 0.05 points short of an overall pass at VWO level, the highest tier of secondary education. She claims she lost marks because of an ambiguous question in the French paper and as a result faces not qualifying for the next stage of her education.

The examination board CvTE acknowledged that two answers were possible for question 15 and awarded all students an extra 0.1 points by way of compensation, but the pupil’s lawyer argued that this is not enough to redress the balance.

‘I am asking the court to rule that the CvTE should have awarded a higher number of extra points, and then do so, so that my client can receive her certificate,’ NOS quoted the lawyer as saying.

It is thought to be the first time that an exam candidate has gone to court to try to force examiners to change their results.

The VWO French paper had been at the centre of earlier criticism when teachers told NOS anonymously that they felt it was sub-standard. The education inspectorate took the unusual step of asking to see the CvTE’s responses to teachers who were dissatisfied by the paper.

‘This case is obviously about my client, but I wouldn’t be surprised if other pupils who sat French, or other subjects, have had the same problem,’ said the lawyer. ‘If that’s the case they should contact the CvTE and perhaps start legal proceedings.’