Oral tests 'may stop pupils cheating'

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The Independent Online

Pupils should be given an oral test on their exam coursework to make sure they have not been cheating, the Government's exams watchdog has said.

Ministers have been alarmed by a widespread increase in cheating - with many youngsters getting help for GCSE and A-level coursework from their parents or ripping answers off the internet. As a result, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority urged teachers to give their pupils an oral test on what they have written. They are also suggesting the pupils should be given follow-up work in the classroom on their previous assignments.

If they fail to answer the questions or repeat their answers in a classroom, they could then be reported to exam boards as potential cheats - and face disqualification from the exam.

The call for oral tests is included in a leaflet, Authenticating Coursework: A Teacher's Guide, published by the QCA yesterday. Sue Kirkham, who chairs its coursework taskforce and is president of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "It is essential that teachers are given advice and guidance to ensure they are able to mark coursework fairly and be able to detect if the work is not the candidate's own."