A spokesperson for the AQA admitted that the question could be seen as misleading, but defended the decision to ask a question that mentioned creationism and ID:
"Merely asking a question about creationism and intelligent design does not imply support for these ideas. Neither idea is included in our specification and AQA does not support the teaching of these ideas as scientific.
"In the examination question, information was given to candidates and they were asked to relate evidence to conclusions. The use of the term 'theory' was intended in its common, everyday sense. However, we accept that in the context of a science examination this could be misleading and we will be addressing this issue for any future questions."
But James Williams, lecturer in education at Sussex University and a leading expert on the encroachment of creationism into education, has criticised the AQA for appearing to suggest that creationism and ID are scientific "theories":
"This gives an unwarranted high profile to creationism and intelligent design as ideas of equal status with tested scientific theories. I was alerted to the question by concerned biology teachers in schools who were dismayed that such a question could be set by an examination board."
I actually saw James Williams give a lecture on this subject at a recent BHA conference on Darwin – he's very good on how we should develop science education in Britain in order to keep pseudoscience out of the classroom. The lecture is on YouTube - it's well worth watching if you can spare a bit of time: