Baffled … Nick Grogin, 17 from Riverview, was not happy with parts of the Studies of Religion 1 exam. Source: The Daily Telegraph
DISTRAUGHT HSC candidates have accused the Board of Studies of setting an unfair exam by including questions about subject matter not included in the syllabus.
Students who sat one of the Studies of Religion papers yesterday said they were shocked to find the exam asked them to provide answers they had not covered during the year in class.
Teachers also complained that part of the paper sat by almost 14,000 candidates across NSW on Thursday afternoon was unfair.
The Daily Telegraph’s website was deluged with complaints by angry Year 12 students but the Board of Studies denied the exam was unfair or contained misleading material.
A school master said: “Our students found section one and section two of today’s Studies of Religion HSC very fair but were upset with section three . . . as were the teachers.”
Question four on Islam, worth 20 marks, gave candidates a quotation referring to the Qur’an and the prophet Muhammad. Then it asked candidates: “With reference to the quotation, analyse the role played by the revelation through the Prophet in the life of Muslims.”
One student identified only as Clare said: “When we reached section three I think most students in the state had a communal heart attack as we discovered obscure and obtuse questions which were from absolutely no part of the otherwise very straightforward syllabus.
“I just lost 20 marks from a paper I studied very hard for.”
As a number of schools called for an explanation, Newington College student Nick Grogin said he was stunned by one question.
“I had never seen anything like that in the syllabus,” he said. “Nothing about it related to what I had studied and been taught.”
Board of Studies chief executive Carol Taylor said she was aware of students’ concerns.
” I’d like to reassure them that the question was based on the syllabus and that it was looking for their knowledge of their mandatory depth study of a religion,” she said.
“The quotations used in the questions seem to have thrown some students – they were intended as a prompt or stepping stone into their answer and they will not be expected to have studied the quotations themselves.”