Chord Labelling Bungle Affects 2,000 Victorian Students

Graham Strahle
| November 21, 2016

An unfortunate bungle has affected around 2,000 Victorian students sitting their Certificate of Education final exams. Apparently one question contained incorrect labelling of chords that made it impossible for them to provide a correct answer.

Two chords that should have been identified as major, using upper case Roman numerals, were wrongly notated as minor, using lower case.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) Issued an apology, explaining that “the convention used on the examination regarding the two specific chords was not consistent with that used in VCE Music Study Design”.

As a solution, the VCAA has chosen to assess exam papers based on a ‘”range of interpretations’” that students could have provided in their answers.

But that may not help those students who may have become thoroughly confused by the paper’s chord labelling anomaly. The Age reports that one student changed her answers elsewhere in the paper in an attempt to accommodate it. “I thought surely they won’t get this wrong, it’s VCAA, they can’t make a mistake … so I changed my other answers,” she said.

Faced with this mess, the VCAA has said it will review results the results of any students if schools believe that they were “adversely affected”.

The authority has stated the following: “Applications for an examination irregularity are reviewed by the VCAA and a determination is made as to whether an adjustment should be made to the student’s assessment result”.

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