Cheater, Cheater

Cheating blog 190615

We are well and truly in exam season with GCSES, A Levels and SATS well under way! Cheating has always been an issue to be considered with exams, with examiners taking five minutes at the start of each exam to inform students of the rules and the penalties of breaking them. However a recent episode of Channel 4’s Dispatches revealed it isn’t just students being caught out, in some cases schools may be just as guilty.

It has been reported that investigators have uncovered that schools have been caught attempting to cheat the exam system in an attempt to boost their league table performance. The programme exposes schools allegedly exploiting loopholes in regulations to avoid some pupils sitting examinations, so that their results would not be affiliated to the school and would ultimately boost headline exam results.

So why is this happening? Is the mounting pressure placed on teachers to improve and meet standards to blame? Even then cheating can never be condoned. Is this common practice in most schools or is this just a select few schools? Let us know your experience.

Students aren’t found to be completely innocent either, with it being reported that more than 58,000 undergraduates have been investigated for plagiarism by their universities over the past four years. With software such as Turnitin (which is designed to spot similarities between students work and online journals or materials) more regularly being used by colleges and universities, more and more plagiarism is being caught. Even with this added deterrent it is reported that students are also being found to be paying companies to write their dissertations, passing work off as their own. Thomas Lancaster a senior lecturer at Birmingham City University said “The vast majority of students of course are completely honest but I’ve seen estimates of £200m a year going through these sites.” Of the 40,000 undergraduates that were found to be guilty of plagiarism and disciplined 400 were expelled or excluded, while 12,000 had marks deducted, to affect their final degree grade. Is this type of punishment enough? If not, what disciplines should the schools and teachers face if they are found guilty?

A Department for Education spokesman said “we trust the professionalism of teachers to administer tests according to the published guidance, and it’s essential that the integrity and security of these tests is maintained”. But have the exams integrity already been tarnished and what punishments should be dealt?

What do you think? Have your say…

4 thoughts on “Cheater, Cheater

  1. Cheeting is going on by schools and head teachers. One head teacher left under a cloud in Birmingham, where my sister worked. What a fool she and other fellow workers were when they trusted in the whistleblowing policy. My sister is now out of work as she was not afforded the protection that the whistle blowing policy should have given her. Other senor staff were aware of the cheating and the whole situation made it impossible to be able to stay and work at the school, as the support did not go far enough in sacking the senior team. My poor sister is now out of work after giving 25 years service to the school. She was well respected by the pupils and parents, but no doubt they have been given another story. What can be done for those honourable staff oput there who uphold what is right and end up being the ones out of a job?

  2. A big clue in Key Stage 2 is when the headteacher supervises tests personally – behind closed doors of course, and with the support of teaching assistants rather than professional teachers.

    “I have seen blatant cheating by a TA”, said an Executive Headteacher who observed the standard practice which had been operated by the previous headteacher for many years. The TA was not aware that what she was doing was wrong – as it had been modelled by the headteacher, who treated guidance as ‘confidential information’ which only she could see.

  3. As preparation takes place for issue of National Curriculum test results to schools tomorrow, perhaps focus should also be that (cheaper) online marking makes the picking up of cheating more difficult. An examiner marking a 100 anonymous question 6s, before moving on to 100 question 7s from totally different candidates, does not ‘get the feel’ of the whole paper. The system is no longer there where a paper marker could judge, from the whole script performance, that ‘this candidate could not have produced this answer’. A perfect setting for intervention by a cheating manager.

  4. Musing further on this one, I do not know how far the government can go in imposing formal testing as there is a cost to this. I have just recalled ‘cheating’ in the Phonics screening. Children were ‘tested’ individually by a Deputy Head with some timespan between the first children tested and the last. Following testing of some children, the Deputy informed teaching staff, whose daily phonics lesson was still to be held, that they could help by teaching a particular sound that day, as most children were making an error with that sound. Unsurprisingly, there were different results for children who were tested after this lesson, so the glaring gap did not appear in the overall results. So much for assessment being a useful planning tool!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>