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What would you do? Cheating in coursework.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Zipphorah, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Zipphorah

    Zipphorah New commenter

    Six months ago a candidate told me that he was allowed to cheat in a controlled assessment in German. He was allowed to read from a sheet which should have been learnt. I asked my HOD about it, she was annoyed that the boy had told me, and annoyed with me as I asked her when a class was present. She told me that she allowed him to read it as he hadn't revised, and that she would put in a note to the moderator. However, I believe that this did not happen, as he had a high mark for speaking. I think he was allowed to do this as he is an eFSM pupil, and a target was to increase a-cs for eFSM pupils. If I report it now, my life in school will be a misery as my HOD is very chummy with SMT. Should I leave it? What would you do?
  2. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter


    I have seen loads of this and have even been involved - it was one of the reasons I left mainstream. I know of numerous (and often hilarious) stories that I can't divulge on here. I also know that in some cases the exam board were well aware and only issued warnings to the school while allowing results to stand. It has been widespread and blindingly obvious in results - if candidates are getting very low grades in exams, yet scoring Bs and As in coursework, the results should be embargoed immediately and a serious investigation put in place. Does that happen?

    The honourable thing is to bring it to the attention of those who are responsible in the school leadership team/governors/exam board etc. However, it's highly likely no-one will want to know, your career will then be on a knife edge, and the exam board will not act in a meaningful way anyway.

    Good luck,
  3. banjouk

    banjouk Occasional commenter

    Do you like working in that school?

    You will probably need to find another job if you report this even though it's the right thing to do.
  4. Zipphorah

    Zipphorah New commenter

    Thanks for replying.

    I wouldn't say I like working here-mainly due to the department-but I can't lose my job, and there are very few schools now teaching German, so my chances of finding a new post are slim.
  5. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    The situation in which you find yourself is whether or not to engage in whistle-blowing.

    This, I think, is likely to amount to whistleblowing in law because you would be conveying specific information...involving law-breaking...in the public interest and would be giving the information to an employer. It would not matter if the allegation turned out to be untrue, providing you had a genuine belief in its truth when making the disclosure. This means it is likely to amount to a 'protected act'.

    If you subsequently find yourself victimised as a consequence of making such a disclosure, you are protected in law. However, things could get pretty unpleasant, protection or not.

    In my opinion you should disclose this. I cannot bear corruption in public office and was badly hurt by such an act myself. It's why I no longer work in teaching.

    However, it is important that you get your ducks in a row / cover your back before saying anything. Talk to your union; ring the organisation Public Concern at Work and chat it through with them in confidence first.

    If you do decide to report it, ensure you do it in writing and keep careful records of everything.
  6. Zipphorah

    Zipphorah New commenter

    Thank you.

    I know that the information is true, as the candidate told me in front of a class that he had been allowed to read from notes, then the HOD came in and I told her what he had just said and she confirmed that this had happened, but that she would inform the exam board. As he had an A, this can't have happened.
    I've had strong suspicions before, but this is the first time it has been confirmed.
  7. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    This is a difficult one and I admire your moral stance in objecting to it. Having said that, I cannot say that whistle blowing, or even raising your concern, despite the law in place supposedly to protect you, will not lead you down a miserable path where your moral stance is not supported, and perhaps even looked on less than favourably by others.
    GLsghost, solvacrime and mark6243 like this.
  8. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Cheating in c/w? It's why I left my past permanent role.

    Kids that did as they should got their targets, HoD decided 'everyone gets a c' and took kids out and dictated to them what to write when they should have been under exam conditions.

    One of the most awful turds struts back into my lab 'I got an A on my c/w'. Fvcker. 'Is ***** gonna sit your exam for you as well?' I asked, furiously. I told the good kids to tell their parents, and they did. It was made clear I was no longer required, although they asked me to stay until end of year when could have gone end of May.

    Quit, that's what I say.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2015
    solvacrime and petenewton like this.
  9. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Mark. I'm sincerely so sorry to hear that happened to you. I hope you found a place of ernest intent in which to work.
  10. katweasel64

    katweasel64 New commenter

    Blow the whistle on cheating?.... Career suicide.
    And I speak from personal experience.
    Find another job.
    petenewton and chouxbunsmum like this.
  11. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    I also speak from experience. I told SLT and the HoD that my integrity was intact, that I was right and they knew they were wrong. I was told I'd not be getting a great reference if I told good kids to tell their parents ever again what was going on. I didn't whistle blow as such, I just packed up my stuff and worked my notice. I've had good references from school since as left on good terms.

    But...I never considered myself to have a 'career', I had a job and certainly didn't have a family, mortgage or any dependents.

    On a side note, the head, HoD and SLT link have all moved on to promotions at other schools now. Just goes to show that if you can tick boxes and leave your principles and integrity on the doorstep every morning, you'll get on very nicely.
  12. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I'd keep quiet about it .... since I spoke up and it's me getting shafted.

    If you fancy being pushed out of your school feel free to blow the whistle but it's the cheats that rule these days.
  13. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    If I needed the job I would keep quiet and pretend it never happened. If mentioned, say "but you sent an email to the exam board so that sorted it out?" and pretend you think that makes it okay.
    Then start looking for another job.
  14. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    I informed the HT at a school where I once worked that there was a serious problem with cheating in several subjects and also pointed out that it was her name and signature as Head of Centre that verified everything was correct.
    Nothing happened. Cheating continued and probably still does.
    League tables and PM have not helped. All you finish up doing is cheating better next year.
    Thank god I am no longer teaching.
    solvacrime and mark6243 like this.
  15. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    OP - Frankly you have been a little silly and naïve going to your HOD about this issue with a CLASS PRESENT? In terms of risk of sabotaging your career/ status at a school you well and truly got the sledgehammer out on that one?!

    Your HOD was obviously annoyed because you accused her (accurately or otherwise!) of cheating in front of other students!

    If you were concerned, you really should have broached this to your HOD without a class present!

    Of course, some would say I am being too harsh on you here and you are morally on the high ground. Unfortunately, I am a believer myself that coursework is 'sanctioned cheating', the 'skill' is in 'how much' you 'help' the students get a good mark without it being 'outright' cheating. Its the system frankly that needs altering, controlled assessment needs to be conducted by external agencies if we are ever to get a total 'eradication' of 'helping' students.,

    Ultimately you will have to decide whether, morally, you accept the system or move to another school. However, I wouldn't rate your chances of finding things being much different in another school that highly! In which case, as for others, maybe the profession itself may not be for you! You could always be an external assessor :)
    sabrinakat likes this.
  16. Zipphorah

    Zipphorah New commenter

    The class present was the group of pupils doing the exam- they were taken out one at a time by the HOD. They then returned to my lesson as it was a shared class. On returning the boy was asked by his friend how it had gone as he had already told everyone he hasn't learnt it. He announced to the group " she let me read from my notes" I then told the HOD when she returned what he had said to cover my back if I'm honest, as the other pupils were annoyed. I said "x has just told everyone that he read from a script, but he can't do that can he?"
    I didn't explain the situation fully as I didn't want to be identifiable!
    I can't leave my job, so I will obviously just have to forget about it. It's wrong, though, and so unfair on the candidates who did learn their work
  17. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Apologies OP, the way you described it sounded like you had gone into your HODS class while she/he was teaching and it seems a difficult one, on one hand you have a duty to your own pupils............

    As I say, the system itself is rotten. Genuine external exam cheating would be a massive issue but many have already mentally written off controlled assessment parts in terms of their integrity!
    Zipphorah likes this.
  18. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    My initial reaction was: 'why did you 'confront' the HOD?', which I understood she had come into your class after the student had made the comment. That was mistake number one. You should have/could have made light of it, and then asked later - but I appreciate that it was a knee-jerk reaction to a surreal situation, e.g a student says he was able to cheat, the HOD 'helped' and the HOD walks in - all around awful. My advice would be to laugh it off and let it go. If you genuinely feel that you don't want to work in the school, then put in your year and get out.

    In my subject, we are getting rid of controlled assessment, so it will cease to be an issue from the first exams in 2018; I teach Classics but am unsure of the changes in MFL, if this year's Y10s and Y11s are the last of the 'controlled assessment', then just step back and 'let it go' (sorry, my toddler was playing that movie/song all night - please help me)

    The irony is that the student may have been able to cheat OR perhaps thought they had been helped - don't ruin your career over something intangible and difficult to prove.

    damnant quod non intellegunt - check out Classics jokes (and maybe add a few)
  19. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Established commenter

    Very concerned...................... should Post 8 (which contains a name) be scrubbed quickly?????
  20. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Any reason to think it's a real name and not a pseudonym?
    mark6243 likes this.

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