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When data Act does not apply

Published 07/06/2008

In an article in the Belfast Telegraph, 'So, what are the questions that puzzle parents?' (June 4), the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment is disingenuous.

They pose and answer the following question: 'Can I find out if my child left questions out? No. The council operates a policy in line with the Data Protection Act in this regard and, consequently, access to pupils' test papers or information relating to a pupil's response to test questions is not possible.'

The relevant section of the Data Protection Act is Schedule 7, Miscellaneous Exemptions, section 9(1): 'Personal data consisting of information recorded by candidates during an academic, professional or other examination are exempt from section 7'. Section 7 is the 'Right of access to personal data'.

In short, although the CCEA is not obliged to say whether a child left questions out, the choice is theirs.

To suggest that the DPA precludes it is dishonest.

Dr Mark LomasFormer head of Data Protection Research and Policy Group, British Institute of International and Comparative Law

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