LUU should work with University of Leeds to create a formal policy around examination errors

Passed: May 2018 (1st)

What's It About?

I want the university to seriously reconsider its approach to examination errors, by introducing a new policy that provides appropriate guidance to exam invigilators and module leaders. This would include policy on:

  • The amount of extra time added, when something goes wrong with the examination procedure.
  • First and second course of action for the exam invigilator, when dealing with missing information or printing errors on the exam paper
  • The university to reconsider when module leaders have access to the printed version of the exam paper.
  • Clear and prompt communication with students taking the exam, including those in other rooms.
  • I would also like the panel to have sufficient student input, when discussing the potential policy that could be introduced.

Why Have You Proposed It?

There are multiple reasons why I want the university to reconsider their approach on examination errors. There is a lot of preparation that goes on before any examination by staff and students. Students spend countless hours to study for the exam, while staff spend a lot of time writing up exam questions that are appropriate and meet the learning outcomes of the module. For something to go wrong during the examination procedure, we must be extremely careful on how we deal with it.

During my three years in university, I have found that there is a 50% chance my exam will have a problem. The problem could range from a missing value, to a wrong question. The majority of these errors, are down to printing mistakes. After speaking to module leaders in my school who have experienced problems with their exams, they confirmed with me that the version of the exam they sent was sometimes not the same as the version printed. On top of that, they only get to see the printed version of the exam paper, in the first 10 minutes of the exam. That means it would be too late for them to change anything anyway.

Another problem is regarding the time added. Usually, there are two exams going on at the same time in the same exam hall. If a mistake does occur on one of the exams where extra time is required, the decision is down to the main exam invigilator. The invigilator would then make a subjective judgement of how much time all students should get, rather than just students who are affected. Thus, their decision will usually be very harsh on students who had a mistake in their exam.

A missing constant or a value in an engineering exam, could require 45 extra minutes just to adjust your answer to the question. When something like this does happen, 5 minutes is usually given to the students, wish does not reflect the magnitude of the mistake or error. It’s almost as if students are being punished for a mistake they did not commit. Having done my research and having relevant case studies of exams that went terribly wrong, I believe a formal policy must be introduced that lays the foundation for any decision to be made by the exam invigilator (Or even goes as far as informing them the appropriate course of action).

Expires: May 2021 (1st)

Submitted By: Mohamed Kamel

Officer: Education

Area of Work: Education Service Provision


October 2019: As below, policy is already in place. If you have concerns or have experienced issues please contact

October 2018: There is already a policy, technically, but still questions about how it's implemented. Work to be done.

May 2018: This has arisen from some specific issues experience on the Idea Holder's course- however they affect many courses. It is thought that academics are also frustrated with deficiencies in how this is handled as there is no clear policy and procedure in place. Work will need to start at University Committee Meetings. Need to get University to undertake a review.