Penalties for school exam cheating double in a year

 

Education Editor

The number of schools and colleges penalised for cheating in GCSE and A-level exams has more than doubled in the past year, according to figures released yesterday by the exams regulator Ofqual.

They show 130 were penalised for malpractice during the 2012 exam season compared with just 56 the previous year.  In most cases (119) they were given a written warning. In five cases, though, exam boards withdrew permission for the schools and colleges to act as an exam centre.

They emerge at a time when the regulator has expressed concern over a rise in the number of candidates granted extra time to finish their exams with a separate report saying Ofqual is “concerned that in some cases extra time is being given to candidates to help them improve their grades rather than to address a significant disadvantage”.

Yesterday’s figures revealed the main reasons for issuing penalties to schools were breaches of security, i.e exam papers being opened too early, or giving inappropriate assistance to candidates.

Other reasons included allowing candidates to sit the exam at the wrong time or a lack of supervision during it.

The rise was down to one of the big three exam boards, Edexcel, toughening up its procedures for dealing with allegations of malpractice and insisting on delivering written warnings to all schools and colleges found guilty opf malpractice. In the past, many had received a more informal ticking off.

Yesterday’s report also revealed a total of 2,550 students were penalised for malpractice during this year’s exams - with the largest number being for bringing mobile telephones or other electronic gadgets into the exam room.

The penalties, the report adds, varied with 728 receiving a warning, 1,279 having marks deducted and 543 being either disqualified from the unit being examined or the overall qualification.

“Candidates who bring a mobile phone into an exam room but do not have their phone at their desk might receive a warning whereas candidates found using a mobile phone during an exam might be disqualified from the unit or the qualification in that exam series,” the report added.

Other common forms of malpractice include plagiarism, copying or collusion (415 cases) and writing obscene or offensive comments on the exam paper (250).

In addition, 60 teachers were penalised - with 23 of them suspended from any further involvement in exams or assessments.  Most of these were for giving “inappropriate” assistance to candidates during the exam.

Bot the figures for the number of pupils and teachers disciplined were a decrease on the previous year - by 32 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.  The number of scripts was down by five per cent.

The statistcis also show the number of requests for candidates to be given extra time (up to 25 per cent more) went up from 122,214 to 128,744 this year.

The regulator acknowledged the increase could be down to better diagnosis of disability but warned against allowing to help candidates achieve a higher grade.

Meanwhile, Ofqual is due to deliver its final report into the crisis over the marking of GCSE English papers on Friday.

The report, which will look at the wide discrepancies in schools’ results, is expected to suggest this is down to teachers’ marking standards - with some marking the new English syllabus more harshly in controlled assessments.

Ofqual and two exam boards, Edexcel and the Oxford and Cambridge and Royal Society of Art(OCR) are facing a legal challenge after the boundaries for a C grade pass were raised for candidates sitting the exam in June.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk