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Mobiles fuel exam cheating rise

Mobiles fuel exam cheating rise

  • 2015-12-04

Cases of malpractice detected by exam boards in England rose by more than a quarter last summer, new figures show.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said in a report that 1,897 incidents were penalised by the AQA board, 1,762 by OCR and 888 by Edexcel.

Taking unauthorised items into exam rooms was the most common offence with 60% of such cases involving mobile phones - probably often accidentally.

A third of cases involved plagiarism, collusion or copying work.

This is the first time that the regulator's annual report on the performance of awarding bodies - as the exam boards are known - has included a breakdown of malpractice.

Penalties imposed ranged from warnings and loss of marks to partial disqualification and, in "a small number" of cases, a total ban from all qualifications.

Parental awareness

The numbers involved represent a tiny fraction of the total number of GCSEs and A-levels - less than one in every 1,500 results issued.

The QCA makes the point that individual candidates might be penalised by more than one board and for more than one exam - so the total number of people involved is most probably even smaller.

But its report said: "Although the incidence of candidate malpractice remained low, it is essential that it is actively addressed to ensure that learners, parents and employers can continue to have confidence in the examination system."
It was working with awarding bodies to ensure that schools, candidates and parents fully understood the penalties and consequences, especially where coursework was concerned.

As well as mobile phones being taken into exams, other unauthorised items included notes or notes in the wrong format, study guides, materials with prohibited annotations, calculators and dictionaries where prohibited, and personal audio players.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education and Skills said: "We expect schools to maintain high standards of discipline.

"We have been very clear - there is no place for mobile phones in the classroom let alone in the examining hall."

People had to realise that cheating of any kind would not be tolerated, he added.

What can be done to halt the rise in exam cheating? Your comments:

Search every student? £500 phone jammers in every exam room? Perhaps you've never worked with the logistics of running exams in a large school! Draconian penalties, yes, though. Also, fewer incentives for schools to collude in cheating with coursework.(from BBC)

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