Exams agency probes web cheating -
06-14-2006, 11:01 AM
Scotland's exams watchdog has reported an increase in allegations of internet plagiarism this year.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority, which has been dealing with more than 200 claims of malpractice, said web cheating was a growing problem.
The SQA has also had reports of pupils taking electronic devices into exam halls and more traditional scams of students writing on their bodies.
Overall, however, it said cheating remained a small problem.
Scotland's exams season for secondary school pupils ran from 2 May to 9 June, with 140,000 candidates tackling a range of 575 exams at Standard Grade, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2, Higher and Advanced Higher levels.
The SQA said it had seen reports of suspected cheating increase by about a third this year to 221 cases and its malpractice unit has been dealing with 83 allegations of plagiarism, compared with 41 last year.
These cases all related to course work which goes towards the final grades.
Mike Haggerty, the SQA's director of communications, told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper: "The main difficulty we have had is that pupils have lifted and copied work from the internet and attempted to pass it off as their own.
"A couple of candidates have also been reported after remarkable similarities in their coursework.
"Plagiarism is not going away but nor is our vigilance. Our markers know their subjects better than pupils and they will always discover if cheating is going on."
The SQA said all cases are thoroughly investigated and out of the 41 cases of plagiarism last year, only 11 were upheld.
Mr Haggerty said pupils continue to bring mobile phones into exam halls, despite clear warnings and while in most of the 119 cases this year the breach was accidental, "some definitely are not".