Rising number of Scots pupils caught cheating in exams

Authorities say only a tiny fraction of students cheat. Picture: LuckyBusiness Photo Studio
Authorities say only a tiny fraction of students cheat. Picture: LuckyBusiness Photo Studio
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A RISING number of Scottish pupils were caught cheating in their exams last year – with more than 100 being stripped of their awards, official figures today showed.

The main type of cheating is plagiarism where youngsters attempt to pass off another person’s work as their own.

But Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) chiefs insist it still amounts to a tiny fraction of the overall number of youngsters sitting exams which topped half a million.

There were a total of 163 cases of cheating last year across the National 5, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, the new Higher, Higher, and Advanced Higher exams which is up from 119 last year.

Candidates were also stripped of their awards last year in 119 cases - up from 94 the previous year.

Jean Blair, Director of Operations at the Scottish Qualifications Authority, said: “It is testament to the continued vigilance of teachers, lecturers, markers and invigilators that it is only a tiny minority of pupils who engage in malpractice. Any kind of malpractice is totally unacceptable.

“These figures send a strong message that each and every instance will be investigated thoroughly.

“We will continue to work with schools, colleges and the teaching profession to ensure that our zero tolerance approach is applied everywhere and every time.”

Revision of marks – where candidates’ papers were remarked leaving out the sections where cheating was attempted – was applied in 13 cases.

A total of 31 candidates were let off with a warning.

Despite concerns over the greater use of smartphones to cheat, SQA figures showed only nine cases across Scotland. This is down two from last year and five fewer than those who were caught cheating through conventional methods with notes.

There were 39 cases of collusion with others, which included copying work from another candidate, including the use of information technology and working together with other candidates on an individual tasks or questions.

Guidance is also provided to all exam invigilators, who are appointed by SQA and led by a Chief Invigilator in each school or college.

Invigilators are advised how to deal with candidates found with prohibited items during an exam or candidates whose conduct is inappropriate. Pupils are briefed on unauthorised items immediately before they sit each exam.