Student Sphere: Edition 7

Studentsphere: Edition 7


By Émer O’Toole, News Editor



German student makes FoI request to see exam questions

A German school pupil has taken exam revision one step further by making a freedom of information request to see the questions in his upcoming Abitur tests, the equivalent of Highers in Scotland.


17-year-old Simon Schräder, from Münster, used the website (“ask the state”) to ask the education committee of North Rhine-Westpahlia for “the tasks of the centrally-made Abitur examinations in the senior classes of high school in the current school year.”


Schräder gave the committee the legally allowed one-month deadline- which was 21 April- to reply, but his first exam was 16 April.


Schräder told the Guardian that if the board answers in time “it might be fit for one exam.”


“I did think beforehand that they probably wouldn’t send me the exams…I’m already revising, and I’m not relying on them to get back to me.”


“I thought it was worth a try; I just wanted to see what they would say.”


Spokeswoman Sylvia Löhrmann told Die Welt on 8 April: “The deadline will be kept…the request is being processed.”


However, it is unknown whether the request went through or not.


The Open Knowledge Foundation established the internet platform to allow people access to public information.


The site includes details of other requests submitted by the public, as well as answers from authorities and comments from other users.


The foundation said success was unlikely in a recent blogpost.  The freedom of information law says that “requests will be turned down if they would ‘significantly impacr the success of an upcoming administrative measure.’”


Schräder studies maths, physics and English, and works as a web developer, plans to study applied information technology at university.


The media attention from his FoI request has got him a work offer from research website, Correctiv, another transparency-related organisation.

Schräder said: “If I have time before university starts I’ll definitely do it.”

Exam board investigates question leak

A UK exam board is examining how some students taking an IGCSE exam in Egypt last month knew the questions they would face in a practical exam.

The IGCSE Information and Communications Technology exam was taken at the same time by 1500 pupils in England.

The case is being investigated by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), and the British Council, which supervises its exams in Egypt.

A statement from the exam board says it is “investigating” why a small number of candidates in Egypt seem to have been given “advance notice of tasks” in the exam.

Ofqual, an exam regulator, has been informed, and the investigation will examine possible sources of the leak, including packets of questions being opened in advance.

The exam board said: “There is nothing to suggest that the allegations extend beyond a localised incident in one city in Egypt.”


Students at St Andrew’s “most likely to vote Tory”

Students at St Andrew’s university are those most likely to vote Tory, according to new figures showing support for Lib Dems has lowered among undergraduates.

A study of more than 1300 students in the UK revealed those at St Andrew’s are most likely to vote Conservative in Scotland, while the SNP is more popular among students at Strathclyde and Glasgow.

The Green party is popular at Edinburgh University, but the Lib Dems- once popular with students- have lowered support after breaking tuition fee promises.

The study by High Fliers Research, an independent market research company, asked final year students about their voting plans.

While 30 percent of students at Glasgow said they planned to vote SNP and 43 percent of students at Strathclyde, the percentage of SNP voters at St Andrew’s was only 12 percent.

Students at the University are most likely to vote Tory (29 per cent), followed by Labour (24 per cent) and then Green (22 per cent).

At Edinburgh, the Greens and Labour are most popular, with 54 per cent of students planning to vote for one of the two parties.

Across the UK as a whole, Labour and the Tories were the most popular parties, with 31 per cent of the vote each.