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Exam malpractice by school staff up by 149%

The number of penalties issued to students has also risen – with the use of mobile phones in exam rooms a major factor, Ofqual figures show

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The number of penalties issued to students has also risen – with the use of mobile phones in exam rooms a major factor, Ofqual figures show

The number of penalties given to school and college staff for exam malpractice has risen by 149 per cent this year, figures published by Ofqual today reveal. 

In total, there were 895 penalties issued to school and college staff for malpractice with GCSEs and A levels in 2017, compared with 360 in 2016 – a rise of 149 per cent.

The number of penalties issued to students has also increased by a quarter – from 2,180 in 2016 to 2,715 in 2017, according to a new report from the exams watchdog.

Introducing unauthorised materials into the exam room, in particular mobile phones, was the main reason for student penalties, Ofqual reveals.

Plagiarism, which was the second largest category of student malpractice, accounted for 17 per cent of penalties.

'Worrying' rise in exam malpractice

Today’s report also shows, however, that there were 23 per cent fewer penalties issued to schools and colleges, down from 155 in 2016 to 120 in 2017.

During a Commons Education Select Committee meeting in November last year, chairman Robert Halfon called the rise of exam malpractice "pretty worrying".

He was speaking after Michael O’Sullivan, the chief executive of Cambridge Assessment International Education, said there had been 269 proven cases of exam malpractice in 2013, which had risen to 719 in 2017 – an increase of 167 per cent in four years. 

MPs grilled Mr O'Sullivan, Eton College headteacher Simon Henderson and Ofqual's Michelle Meadows following claims that serving teachers who set exam papers had leaked questions to their students.

Eton College's deputy headmaster left the school in the summer amid claims that he leaked questions from a Pre-U economics exam, following an investigation by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). 

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