Exam malpractice: More pupils caught with mobile phones

The number of pupils caught with mobile phones in exams continues to rise, while the number of teachers penalised for exam malpractice has fallen.

Figures from Ofqual show the number of penalties issued to pupils rose by 11 per cent in 2019 to 3,040.

As with previous years the most common type of malpractice was being caught with a mobile phone or communication device in the exam room.

This accounted for 46 per cent of all student penalties with 1,385 in 2019 – up 7 percent from 1,295 in 2018.

The most common penalty issued to pupils was a loss of marks and, due to the increased number of offences, this was up 10 percent compared with last year – with 1,560 pupils dropping marks.

A pupil does not need to be caught using the phone for it to be considered malpractice – simply having the phone in the exam venue breaches the rules.

However, some pupils are said to risk the consequences out of fear their device could be stolen if left outside.

While others, who may have no intention of using their phone, wrongly believe if it is switched off or on airplane mode it is acceptable to have in the exam.

Elsewhere the number of penalties issued to teachers almost halved to 335, compared with 650 last year.

As was the case in 2018, the largest proportion of penalties were for maladministration.

The number of penalties issued to schools and colleges also decreased – falling from 140 in 2018, to 110 in 2019.

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