Exclusive: Exam cheating commission wants to 'future proof' the system

Sir John Dunford says commission will look at 'the drivers' of exam malpractice

Cheating must not be tolerated in any form, Andrew Otty writes

An independent commission looking into cheating and other forms of exam malpractice will try to "future proof" the system against technological change, its chair has told Tes

The commission was launched by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) last summer, and is chaired by Sir John Dunford, the former general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.

Sir John spoke to Tes as it launched a call for evidence. He said the commission is looking at "the way in which tech can be used to cheat in exams" and would consider how to "future proof the system".

Schools and exams bodies were currently constantly having to play catch up, he said, because "you don't know what next year's tech is going to be".

In a statement launching its call for evidence, JCQ said it wanted responses on the "nature, extent and drivers of malpractice both in the general and the vocational examinations system".

Sir John told Tes JCQ was "not looking for whistleblowers", but was "interested in people's experiences of malpractice". 

The commission will also look at issues such as "the training of exam officers", and the "critical" role played by centre heads, Sir John said.

"If there is malpractice in your school, then your first responsibility as head of an exam centre has to be to run an efficient and honest centre."

Sir John said that the commission's work to date suggested that a high "churn" of exam officers and invigilators made it more difficult to crack down on malpractice. 

He said that countering malpractice would have to be rooted in an "ethical approach" as well as "extreme vigilance" by all those involved in delivering exams. 

The commission was originally expected to deliver its recommendations in the spring, but Sir John told Tes that it would now be likely to report in September.

 

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