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Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations

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Formation 1998
Purpose Examination board
Headquarters Cambridge, UK
Region served England, Wales and
Northern Ireland
Cambridge Assessment
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations
) is an examination board
that sets examinations and awards qualifications (including GCSEs and A-
levels). It is one of England, Wales and Northern Ireland's five main examination
OCR is based in Cambridge, with an office in Coventry. It is part of the University
of Cambridge's Cambridge Assessment, which operates in over 160 countries
and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008.
History [edit]
The name OCR reflects the fact that, in December 1996, it was created through
the amalgamation of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate
(UCLES) and the Royal Society of Arts Examinations Board (RSAEB). At the time
of the merger, UCLES's qualifications were offered by two wholly owned
subsidiaries: the Oxford and Cambridge Examinations and Assessments Council
(OCEAC) for A Level and the Midland Examining Group (MEG) for GCSE and Certificate of Achievement. RSAEB offered
vocational qualifications. After the merger, the OCR name replaced all previous names.
UCLES had previously taken over the University of Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations (founded 1857) and the Oxford
and Cambridge Schools Examinations Board (founded 1873). The University of Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations
(UODLE) and the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examinations Board (O&C or OCSEB) were acquired by UCLES in 1995;
earlier, it had taken over the Southern Universities Joint Board (SUJB). The acquisition of RSAEB was completed in 1998 and
brought a new range of qualifications and activities to the UCLES Group because RSEAB's principal activity was in vocational
The formation of OCR represented the culmination of more than a decade of corporate activity on the part of UCLES, activity
that came about as a response to the policies of successive British governments towards public examinations and the
provision of qualifications as well as moves to strengthen the regulatory framework.
This process has not been without problems however and OCR came under fire in 2008 when it emerged that the answer to
one question in a GCSE Music paper was given away by accident in the copyright declaration printed on the back of the
question paper.
Another error happened in 2011 where an impossible maths question was set.
In addition, there were errors in Section B of
the Latin Literature paper, confusing names of both authors and characters, in questions comprising 28% of the total marks.
Also of the same exam period in 2011, many students protested against an A2 Biology paper on Control, Genomes and
Environment (F215) which had a large emphasis on Ecology. This issue was made public in a Facebook page which
generated support from thousands of students.
The Times and The Times Educational Supplement reported on this
OCR released a statement, but refused to answer questions from candidates.
However, OCR were not the only
board to make a mistake, with two other major examination boards also producing impossible questions; this has led to
scrutiny from Ofqual.
All the UK schools examinations and vocational qualifications of the UCLES Group were transferred to OCR on 1 October
1998. Subsequent physics syllabuses released by OCR included the now infamous (fictional) units the "Ocrawatt" and
"Ocrajoule" due to overzealous find-and-replace on MEG's part
(in previous and later syllabuses, the units were correctly
written as "Megawatt" and "Megajoule".)
Cambridge Assessment is a non-teaching department of the University of Cambridge. Once, every UK exam board was linked
to or was part of a British university. OCR is the only one left.
Footnotes [edit]
1. ^ OCR > About OCR
2. ^ BBC News, 2 June 2011, "[1] "
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[hide] v· t · e
3. ^ Students protest on Facebook, "[2] "
4. ^ Times Educational Supplement, "[3] "
5. ^ OCR Biology F215 Statement, "[4] "
6. ^ BBC News, 9 June 2011, "[5] "
7. ^ New Scientist
External links [edit]
OCR website
OCR Nationals website
Cambridge Assessment website
Examination boards in the United Kingdom
England, Wales and Northern Ireland AQA · CIE · CCEA · Edexcel · OCR · WJEC
Scotland SQA
Notable historic boards AEB · JMB · MEG · NEAB · SEB
Categories: Examination boards in the United Kingdom Oxbridge Organizations established in 1998
Organisations based in Cambridgeshire Education in Cambridge
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