1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Is it possible to future-proof the exam system and stamp out malpractice?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    ‘An independent commission set up to look into cheating and other forms of exams malpractice is likely to focus on the complicated nature of instructions for exams officers, which can lead to inadvertent breaches of the rules, Tes understands.

    The commission, chaired by Sir John Dunford, former general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, will publish its findings next week.

    The commission was set up by the Joint Council for Qualifications, the membership body for exam boards, in July 2018.

    Tes understands that the report is likely to highlight the need to simplify overly complex instructions to school leaders and exams officers.’

    Are you confident that the commission will help to future-proof the system? What are your views about the instructions for exam officers? Do you think simplifying the process will really help to prevent inadvertent breaches? Do you think more needs to be done to tighten up the system? If yes/no, why?

  2. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Here is the BBC report.

    There seem to be some sensible suggestions, but I doubt if it's possible to eliminate cheating completely.

    I particularly agree with with the concern about the increase in students getting extra time, this seems to be especially common at independent schools. One of my A level tutees told me he was the only person taking the exam at his school who didn't get extra time.
  3. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    "An independent commission set up to look into cheating and other forms of exams malpractice is likely to focus on the complicated nature of instructions for exams officers, which can lead to inadvertent breaches of the rules, Tes understands."

    Schools are cheating in exams because of league table pressures. Pure and simple.
    chelsea2 likes this.
  4. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    Considering that Sir John is reported as saying that "the review found no overall increase in cheating over time and that levels had remained relatively constant." I'd say it's actually good evidence that despite the increased pressure due to league tables, that I fully agree with @moscowbore exists, teachers, exams officers and invigilators should be commended on their professionalism. Indeed with the increase in ways and devices available now to get pictures of exam questions and papers and distribute them one might suggest that their vigilance has actually been increasing.

    Playing devil's advocate for a bit one might even suggest that the increased applications for extra time is due to school's added incentive to ensure that anyone who 'needs' the time is in fact getting it whereas in the past they may have just been told to get on with it. (In the same vein that when we see increased crime figures we are told that it's possibly down to 'better' ways of reporting or recording it)
  5. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Surely this will soon be impossible to police.

    Google glasses? Hidden cameras in false finger nails?

    It’s like James Bond...and that’s now! Where will we be in 5 years’ time?

    A little story. Last year I was on my way to work. SWMBO called me on her mobile from her car and then apologised for the bad line, as she’d left her mobile in the house.

    Confused? Me too, until I realised what was going on.

    She was sat in the car on our driveway. She’d rung me using the car’s system, which connects to her phone via Bluetooth. The phone was in our bedroom. She was calling me on a phone that wasn’t there.

    It’s going to be pointless even searching for equipment, when much of it doesn’t need to be there.

    Mini, invisible ‘hearing aid’ deep in the ear. Answers sent to be read on contact lenses.

    Exams? Their days are numbered.
  6. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    A much more widespread problem, which many of my tutees tell me about, is cheating in mock exams. Many schools simply use past papers or practice papers which are available on the internet, sometimes students are even told what the paper will be!

    While cheating in a mock GCSE maybe pointless, A level is quite another matter. Because of our crazy system, university offers are made on predicted grades which are based on mock results. Now that so many offers are unconditional, university entrance could be based on the result in a mock exam where the student is able to see the paper and mark scheme in advance.
  7. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    In the past, with A level exams, the time allocation was enough for most students to do the paper and quickly check it.
    Now it feels as if the students I've worked with are struggling to do all the questions. I can see why schools are trying to get extra time.
  8. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    A major step which reduced cheating was the acceptance that schools cannot be trusted with "controlled" assessments. I witnessed entire year groups herded into a hall and instructed how to improve their work. I complained, emailed AQA and left the school. I do not believe that AQA did anything.

    I agree that technology will make exams more susceptible to cheating. The answer may be body scans like in airports. Seriously.
  9. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    '...And the commission recommended that exam centres should conduct toilet sweeps to stop students cheating.

    The report also said there needs to be a definition of malpractice that is “as free as possible from jargon.”

    The final review is the work of an independent commission set up by exam membership body the Joint Council for Qualifications in July of last year.

    It recommended that all watches be banned in exam rooms, as well as maintaining the existent ban on mobile phones.'


    As you have all said, technology is moving on and who knows what we will all be able to do in the future. Will toilet sweeps and banning watches really deter people today from cheating in exams?

Share This Page