6 per cent rise in number of exam cheats

Cheating in GCSE and A-level exams increased last year, with teenagers caught almost 4,500 times, official figures showed today.

The most common offence was smuggling banned items, such as mobile phones, calculators, dictionaries or study guides, into the exam hall, according to a report by exam regulator Ofqual.

In nearly half of cases (49 per cent) students lost marks, and in one in six cases (15 per cent), pupils lost the chance to gain a qualification.

In a third of cases (37 per cent) candidates were issued a warning.

In total, 4,415 penalties were issued to candidates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during the June 2009 exam series, up from 4,156 in 2008 - a rise of 6.2 per cent.

Overall though, the penalties totalled 0.03 per cent of all exams taken by students.

The findings show that candidates were punished 1,897 times for taking unauthorised material into an exam, 1,084 penalties were for copying, collusion or plagiarism, while a further 349 were for writing offensive, obscene or inappropriate comments on exam papers or coursework.

Students were thrown out 539 times for being disruptive, and failed to follow instructions 240 times.

In 220 cases, candidates had been caught receiving, exchanging or attempting to pass information that could relate to an exam.

There were also 86 "other" cases, which involved impersonation, theft, destruction of work, altering results and misusing exam papers.

Ofqual's report also reveals that 88 penalties were issued to teachers and other exam staff for cheating.

The majority of those (58) were because teachers had given candidates help.

And 70 penalties were given to schools and other exam centres, most of these (48) were due to schools not following the requirements of an exam.

In two cases there had been a breach of security, and in 20 cases the school or college concerned had given help to students.

Ofqual chair Kathleen Tattersall said: "As regulator it is our role to ensure that fair systems are in place and that these are followed correctly.

"We require that awarding bodies report annually on the number of candidates notified as having particular requirements and the number of malpractice incidents reported and investigated.

"These figures provide invaluable information regarding the examination season and allow us to check that the systems put in place to protect learners are followed."



A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) said instances of malpractice are still "extremely rare".

"We are absolutely clear that any kind of cheating in exams is unacceptable," he said.

"Ofqual and the awarding bodies take all allegations of cheating extremely seriously to ensure the exam system is not compromised."

Sophisticated mobile phone and communications technology is becoming one of the biggest problems for exams invigilators, the BBC News website reported today.

Schools are being sold detection equipment to help trace devices being secretly used by candidates, as equipment such as concealed ear pieces are now available for students to buy, it said.

Candidates are given warnings not to take mobile phones, or other technology such as MP3 players into exams.

The penalties for being caught can differ in severity.

A student who forgets they have a mobile phone on them may be issued with a warning, an Ofqual spokesman said, while a student caught using a phone in an exam could lose marks or the opportunity to get a grade in the qualification.

A separate report published by Ofqual today found that the number of requests made for students to be given special consideration fell slightly last year.

A request is made if a student is unable to take part of an exam due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.

To qualify, a student must have completed half of the course at A-level or 35 per cent of the course at GCSE. Students are then graded based on the work and exams they have finished.

Last year 18,220 requests were made, compared to 20,025 the year before.

A third report reveals that some 152,000 requests were made for students to be given 25 per cent extra time in an exam, of these 95 per cent were approved.

A further 7,200 requests were made for students to be given extra time with rest breaks - 90 per cent of these were approved.





Jim Sinclair, director of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) said: "JCQ members take a zero tolerance approach to all forms of cheating in examinations including the possession of unauthorised items such as mobile phones, iPods and MP3/4 players.

"Cheating in an examination is an infringement of the regulations and may lead to disqualification from the current examination and the overall qualification."

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Humanities Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Outstan...

Special Needs Teachers required - Derby

£110 - £145 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are rec...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...

General Cover Teacher - Grimsby

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Qualified Teachers needed for Supply in t...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering