VCE scores changed over Battle Tech Marauder confusion
One hundred and thirty confused VCE history students had their scores adjusted after an artwork featuring a mysterious robot who appeared to be assisting socialist revolutionaries in 1917 was accidentally used in last year's exam.
The VCE exam body apologised after the doctored version of Storming of the Winter Palace by Nikolai Kochergin formed part of a question about the Russian Revolution in the History: Revolutions exam.
The altered image had been sourced from the internet.
The image that appeared on the exam paper.
While many students did not notice a giant robot - rather like BattleTech Marauder II – in the background of the artwork, others were distracted by the strange image, suggesting it was anything from a statue of prime minister Alexander Kerensky, who was supported by the Mensheviks, to the battleship Aurora.
A Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority spokesman said that of the 2379 students who answered that question in the exam, 130 or 5.5 per cent, had their scores adjusted due to the robot.
The exam body looked at every student's answer to the question in relation to their marks on the rest of the paper.
The original image.
Where their score for that question was significantly lower than the projected score, it was adjusted up to the expected range.
The VCAA spokesman said 27 students referred to the robot image in their answer.
However the exam body conducted a statistical analysis of all students' responses to the question to ensure their answers were not negatively affected by the robot, even if they didn't mention it.
A BattleTech Marauder II.
As a result, 130 students had their scores increased, with the average adjustment 1.25 marks out of 20.
"The VCAA is satisfied that the question worked well for the group as a whole and that no individual student was disadvantaged," the spokesman said.
The gaffe went viral after last year's exam, with many commentators pointing out this was why images should not be taken from the internet.
The VCAA said new guidelines governing the use of internet-sourced material in exams would be issued.
It was the second consecutive year the authority had been embarrassed by a VCE exam controversy.
In 2011 it apologised to Melbourne writer Helen Razer after the VCE English exam featured a column on tattoos she had written for The Age without obtaining her permission.
In the exam paper, the slightly-edited article was falsely attributed to "part-time journalist and blogger Helen Day", who supposedly wrote for the blog "Street Beat".