Teachers becoming the worst cheaters in school exams

Invigilators accused of 'over-aiding' pupils in maths, English and science tests
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The Independent Online

Teachers are coaching their 11-year-old pupils inside the exam hall to give the right answer during tests.

The most common allegation of malpractice during the maths, English and science tests was that invigilators "over-aided" pupils, a report by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority showed yesterday. While the overall number of complaints about cheating in tests for 11 and 14-year-olds had fallen, there was a 14 per cent increase in reported cases of cheating inside the exam hall for 11-year-olds (from 305 to 348).

Nearly one in five (18 per cent) of these related to an invigilator "over-aiding" pupils. Only 12 per cent involved pupils cheating themselves.

The exam watchdog, Ofqual, said there was "significant cause for concern" over the marking of English tests for 14-year-olds.

Nearly half the pupils had been awarded the wrong marks, with a discrepancy in the marks awarded in 44 per cent of the papers. The researchers pointed out that, unlike maths and science answers, English called on markers to make a subjective assessment.

Teachers' leaders have warned that their members are under increasing pressure to make sure their pupils do well in tests because of schools' desire for a good showing in government league tables listing primary school results.

The figures emerge in a series of reports published yesterday about the conduct of GCSE and A-level exams and national curriculum tests.

They show a six-fold increase in the number of national curriculum test papers referred back for remarking in the wake of last summer's marking fiasco which led to the results of thousands of pupils being delayed. Teachers and opposition MPs were quick to claim this showed a loss of confidence in the testing process.

The figures showed that English papers were most likely to be sent back, with 4,628 primary schools asking for more than 25,000 papers to be re-marked. More than 160,000 papers were sent back for 11 and 14-year-olds. At secondary level, 1,001 schools returned English tests for 11,217 pupils, while 684 asked for a group review of their results.

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The figures are appalling."

David Laws, the Liberal Democrats' education spokesman, said: "These shocking figures confirm the shambles of last year's Sats [national curriculum tests] caused massive concern about the quality of marking."

However, the watchdog concluded that marking of the tests was "at least as reliable as in previous years".

In a report on this year's GCSE and A-level exams, Ofqual said there were 3,826 proven allegations of cheating.

A charter for cheats: How it's done

In tests for 11-year-olds

* Teachers and test administrators giving too much help for children during the tests – 18 per cent of complaints.

* Pupils cribbing from each other during test – 12 per cent.

In GCSEs and A-levels

* Unauthorised material into exam room, e.g. calculators, personal stereos or mobile phones – 1,618 incidents.

* Copying from other candidates, collusion or plagiarism – 1,037.

* Disruptive behaviour in the exam room (including use of offensive language) – 476.

* Including inappropriate, offensive or obscene material in exam papers or coursework – 302.

* Obtaining, receiving or exchanging information related to an exam – 184.

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