Dutch secondary schools more careless with final exams: report

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During 2016 end exams in secondary education a total of 1,370 exams and maths tests were declared invalid - a very significant increase compared to the 850 invalid exams in last year's final exams, according to figures the Education Inspectorate released on Thursday, Telegraaf reports.

While in some cases circumstances outside the schools' control - such as power failure - were the reason behind invalid exams, the carelessness of schools was often to blame. There were several cases of incorrect test instructions given or wrong exam papers handed out. In Rotterdam there was one case of pupils being allowed to write their Dutch language exam on Microsoft Word, which comes equipped with a spell checker.

Invalid math tests almost doubled, from 330 in 2015 to 616 invalid tests this year. This was mainly due to technical problems or power failures, resulting in large groups of students not being able to write their test.

The schools themselves report 607 irregularities surrounding the final exams this year.

Pupils whose exams were declared invalid will be able to take them again, without losing their right to a second chance should they need it.

The Inspectorate stressed that "the vast majority of schools handled the final exams in a careful way". "This year approximately 1.2 million exams were written. So the majority of students were able to take the exam without any problems", according to Inspector-General Monique Vogelzang. "But sometimes things unnecessarily went wrong. More care from schools could have prevented some of the invalid declarations. The schools in question are being addressed by us, because it can and should be better."