Dear University College London,

I request that you kindly provide the past exam papers from the academic years 2000 - 2018, or for as many years as possible from within that timeframe, for your 1st year modules (i.e., Level 4) of your BSc Computer Science course, including for any modules that have been discontinued or amended.

Many thanks,

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Fakouri

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

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Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Fakouri,

Thank you for your below enquiry which we are currently handling under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I write to advise that UCL are required to conduct a public interest test with regard to your request. This is on account of a qualified exemption being engaged for information you have requested.

The exemption under consideration is Section 36(2)(c) which states:

“Information to which this section applies is exempt information if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the information under this Act—
(c) would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.”

Public authorities are entitled an additional 20 working days to consider the application of the exemption and we will disclose our full response to you as soon as we are able.

Please let me know if you have any questions with regard to this process in the meantime.

Kind regards,

Mehwish Sultan
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser
University College London
Legal Services
E: [email address] Data Protection: [email address] FOI: [UCL request email].
Telephone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal 57862)

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Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    COMPS ENG Exams 2009 2017.zip

    14.7M Download

Dear Mr Fakouri,

We have now completed the compilation of information in response to your request.

We can confirm that we do hold some of the information of the description specified in your request and where this information is not exempt, it is provided attached.

"I request that you kindly provide the past exam papers from the academic years 2000 - 2018, or for as many years as possible from within that timeframe, for your 1st year modules (i.e., Level 4) of your BSc Computer Science course, including for any modules that have been discontinued or amended."

Please note that we only hold exam papers from 2009 onwards and we therefore do not hold the papers for the time period from 2000 to 2008.

Please see attached for the exam papers held for 2009 onwards, with the exception of exam papers based on multiple choice questions which, have been withheld. Please see below for a more detailed explanation.

The requested information for exam papers based on multiple choice questions is exempt from disclosure.

The exemption is Section 36(2)(c) which states that:

“Information to which this section applies is exempt information if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the information under this Act—
(c) would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.”

This exemption applies to all exam papers based on multiple choice questions from 2009 onwards.

For this exemption to be engaged, public authorities are required to seek the ‘reasonable opinion’ of the organisations qualified person; in UCL’s instance, this person is the Provost. I can confirm that the Provost has provided the view that disclosure of the information would prejudice the effective conduct of UCL’s affairs.

UCL are also required to conduct a public interest test with regard to the application of this exemption. Please see below for this test in full:

Factors in favour of disclosure:

- There is a general public interest in transparency. The public have a right to know how public authorities are carrying out their core functions, including those of student assessment.

- Disclosure of this information would contribute to a more open and knowledgeable debate concerning the quality of assessment within the department, which may inform prospective students.

Factors against disclosure:

- Certain questions in exam papers are considered to be particularly effective in testing understanding and learning in relation to a particular topic. If UCL was to disclose these questions it may be seen to remove a proven and effective method of testing a student’s abilities. This would negatively affect UCL’s ability to assess and grade students in the most effective manner possible.

- It would also be considered as being disruptive as disclosure would necessitate the preparation of entirely new papers. Examiners usually build a bank of multiple choice questions and build examination papers using different combinations of these questions. If these questions were published, this would significantly impair examiners’ ability to use multiple choice questions as a method of assessment. This would increase the burden on staff within the Department and on the external examiners (who would need to review and approve the new papers).

- Disclosing the past exam papers used over the time period requested is also seen as being disruptive to the examination process by giving undue prominence to the use of past papers in exam preparation. The prejudice here is the negative effect on preparing students for exams in the best manner possible.

Outcome of the public interest test:

-Disclosure of the requested information for all exam papers based on multiple choice questions from 2009 onwards would prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs by negatively impacting upon UCL’s ability to educate students in the knowledge and skills necessary for their post-study careers in a chosen subject area, outweighing the public interest arguments for disclosure. For the reasons given, we are unable to disclose this information to you.

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing or issuing copies to the public, will require the permission of the copyright owner.

If you are unhappy with our response to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, please email [email address]. Emails should include the words ‘Internal Review’ in the subject and be marked For the Attention of the Chief Operating Officer, alternatively you should write to:

Chief Operating Officer
University College London
Gower Street
London
WC1E 6BT

Please note, complaints and requests for internal review received more than two months after the initial decision will not be handled.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner at the address given below. You should do this within two months of our final decision.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact me using the details provided in this letter and including the request reference number.

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
SK9 5AF

01625 545700
www.ico.org.uk
[email address]

Kind regards,

Mehwish Sultan
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser
University College London
Legal Services
E: [email address] Data Protection: [email address] FOI: [UCL request email].
Telephone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal 57862)

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