HC Deb 26 June 1888 vol 327 cc1277-8
COLONEL DUNCAN (Finsbury, Holborn)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether it is a fact that, at the recent Army preliminary examination held on the 13th and 14th of June, there was an error in the 17th question in the arithmetic paper, inasmuch as one number was written with two decimal points (.13.56 grains); that in the examination for admission to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, held on the 20th of June and the following days, there were two mistakes in the algebra paper, inasmuch as in Question 8 (4+√15)3/2 + (4+√15)3/2 was inserted instead of (4+√15)3/2 + (4-√15)3/2 as it should probably have been written; and in Question 12: "Is the sum of the first r co-efficients in the expansion of (1—x)—u, &c." instead of "Is the co- efficient of xr in the expansion of (1—x)—u,&c,;" that the supply of papers in the trigonometry examination was insufficient to accommodate the number of candidates who presented themselves, in consequence of which some papers had to be torn in half, so that while some candidates had the opportunity of seeing at the same time all the questions proposed, others had not the same advantage; and, whether the Civil Service Commissioners will take these irregularities into due consideration before publishing the results of those examinations, and will take steps to prevent their recurrence in future?


With regard too the double decimal point, the error arose in striking off copies, the proof having been correct. No candidate would suffer, at it was immaterial which point was taken, and either answer would be accepted as correct. As regards the Woolwich paper, Question 8 as printed was unobjectionable, and those who worked it correctly obtained full marks, while those who assumed it to be misprinted and worked it correctly on that assumption also obtained full marks. There was practically no difference or difficulty between the two forms of the question. There was no mistake in Question 12, which was perfectly correct as it originally stood; but notice was given in the examination room before the candidates began to work the paper of a slight alteration introduced in the interest of the candidates to make it easier. As regards the deficiency in the number of examination papers, only six candidates were affected. A. slight allowance of time was offered them in compensation, of which, however, only three availed themselves. I need only add that I am sorry that mistakes of this kind have arisen, because this is twice within a week that I have had to answer Questions of this kind. I have requested that greater care shall be taken in future.