Exam boards spend a “huge amount of time monitoring social media” to catch out pupils who share exam answers with classmates in the middle of the tests. These dedicated teams look out for students who post leaked exam questions online, as well as pupils who discuss the content of live tests on social media whilst still in the exam hall.
The move to do so was prompted by the ubiquitous presence of social media, smart watches and phones, that have created new opportunities for cheating. In fact, most recent figures show that the number of penalties given to students for cheating in GCSE O-level and A-level exams has risen by a quarter since the previous year.
Alex Scharaschkin, of the AQA exam board, said that the board is “conscious of the fact there are different ways information can be shared, through social media and encrypted routes” which are clear trends of how students increasingly use technology in different ways. Thus, the exam boards are taking the effort to do much more in order to ensure no malpractice occurs through these digital means.
Undoubtedly, as with plenty of things, cheating has also gone high-tech these days. What’s dangerous is the real-time aspect and high speed of mass communication that technology offers. Thus, I wonder if perhaps the more effective measure to take would be to ban handphones and other similar devices in the exam hall altogether.
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