Extra penalties for exam cheats

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TEENAGERS were penalised more than 2,500 times this summer for cheating in GCSE and A-level exams.

A new Ofqual report also showed that the number of penalties handed out to schools have more than doubled in a year.

Among pupils who were caught cheating, the most common offence was smuggling banned items such as mobile phones, calculators, dictionaries or study guides into the exam hall with the second most common plagiarism, failure to acknowledge sources, copying or collusion.

In other cases, students were handed penalties for offensive or obscene writing in exam papers, disruptive behaviour and attempting to pass or receive information relating to an exam.

In total, 2,550 penalties were issued to candidates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during the summer exams, down 32 per cent on last year.

In half of cases students lost marks, and in a fifth of cases pupils lost the chance to gain a qualification. In almost three in 10 cases candidates were issued with a warning.

The new report also revealed the numbers of schools and colleges that faced penalties for malpractice this summer: 130 penalties imposed on UK compared with 56 in 2011.

The most common sanction was a written warning, the report said, which was mainly responsible for the rise.

Almost all of the 119 warnings were issued by one awarding body, Edexcel, which said the rise was due to “a new internal management procedure and a more rigorous warning process in relation to malpractice.”

Schools had penalties imposed for: a breach of security, giving assistance to candidates or “other reasons” which include not sticking to an exam’s requirements, opening papers early without authorisation, allowing students to sit an exam at the wrong time or a lack of proper invigilation.