Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

More students found cheating in GCSE and A-level exams

More students found cheating in GCSE and A-level exams

The number of teachers penalised for malpractice in GCSEs and A levels more than doubled previous year, figures from Ofqual, the exams regulator, show.

Malpractice covers anything that could "undermine the integrity of an exam" including students speaking in an exam hall or teachers failing to comply with exam board rules.

Unauthorised materials accounted for half of all students given penalties for cheating, and of those almost 80% were owing to the use of mobile phones.

The second largest category of student malpractice was plagiarism.


Exams regulator Ofqual issued 2,715 penalties to students for malpractice in 2017 compared with 2,180 in 2016. In 2016, about 2,180 students were caught, a rate of 0.011%.

According to Ofqual in more than half of cases the teachers received written warnings, but 185 were required to undergo training, while 90 were barred from involvement in exams. Students found with mobile phones were more likely to lose marks. This has resulted in an increase in written warnings to school and college staff in 2017. The number rose from 360 in 2016 to 895 past year after a change in response by the examination boards which offer A-levels and GCSEs.

"It is important to note that the vast majority of students and staff abide by the regulations and, with 5,000 schools and colleges and over 18 million GCSE and GCE papers taken, the number of those breaking the rules is very small". Of staff, almost half of all penalties were issued for maladministration of exams, while a third were issued for giving improper assistance to candidates.

Statistics revealed there was a 149 per cent hike in penalties issued to teachers and other staff, while the numbers for pupils rose by 25 per cent.

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