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Cyprus Education

Physics question continues to create furore

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The education ministry has announced it will add points to the results of those who took the physics school leaving exam because one question was not phrased correctly and had confused those taking the exam.

The news was received with mixed feelings as it was welcomed by organised parents but angered pupils who got the answer right and who complained of unfair treatment.

Following numerous complaints over question 11 in the physics PanCyprian exam paper – that it was phrased in such a way that pupils did not understand exactly what they had to do, the education ministry announced it would give 10 points to all. The exam took place on May 18.

The ministry said the decision was taken after a meeting with Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris, the physics exams committee, academicians and physics teachers, and was “because the wording of exercise 11 of the physics exam may have confused candidates”.

To set the record straight, it added however, that because the exercise in question had three parts, each of which could be solved independently of the other two, there will be an additional grade, depending on the answers of the candidates to the individual parts.

When news of the intentions of the ministry to add 10 points were first made known last week organised parents welcomed the development.

But students who had solved that exercise sent letters to Hambiaouris claiming they were being unfairly treated.

Larnaca students had said in their letter that they were surprised to hear all the noise around an exercise which had been taught in the physics lab.

They said they solved the exercise, just as in the physics book which the education ministry had published.

“Do you know what it means to just give 10 points to some, when posts for medical and polytechnic schools are given based on decimal points?” they asked. They also said that this also violated the law concerning unfair treatment.

Nicosia pupils too said that this was unfair to students who had studied and were able to solve the exercise and may deprive them of the opportunity to enter a higher education institution of their choice.

Pupils from Paphos said in their letter to Hambiaouris that “a student who had read this experiment could very well answer the exercise without being confused by the ‘vague instructions and explanations’.”

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