Page last updated at 19:05 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Hi-tech exam cheating: Your views

School exam hall

More than 4,400 people were caught cheating in last year's GCSEs and A-levels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the exams watchdog says.

Students and teachers have sent their reaction to the BBC News website.

I cheated in my GCSE's by simply writing answers upside down on my trousers in a code. So when I sat down I could just read the equations or whatever it was. I don't really see the need to get technological about cheating.

No one could have ever proved that what was scribbled on my jeans was an answer, whereas if you're caught with a mobile or any gadget it's an instant disqualification.
Sam Banks, London

I have just started working as an English teacher in a school in Essex. What has amazed me, especially coming fresh out of university, are the lengths kids will go to to cheat or copy other students, rather than simply sitting down and learning.

Many of them simply don't understand that if you talk, or look behind or take out a mobile phone in an exam hall that they will be disqualified. This threat doesn't seem to bother them and they seem to want to put more effort into cheating rather than just learning the material. It's very sad.
Mr McG, Essex

As an ex-teacher, who had to invigilate many GCSE and A-Level examinations, I am amazed that students get the opportunity to cheat by way of mobile phones. The hour sessions I spent invigilating involved me continually patrolling the exam hall, in such a way that anyone even breathing in a suspicious manner would be spotted!

What are these teachers doing that students can access information on a phone?
Brian Southgate, Wantage

I'm surprised that students are still not permitted to use internet access during exams. The ubiquity of internet access is such nowadays that the requirement to recall facts, dates, equations, statistics is obsolete. What's important nowadays is the interpretation and validation of information from multiple sources, then applying that information along with the student's own experiences, opinions or practiced methods to answer an exam question.

This would certainly eliminate the 'learn to pass the exam' mentality these days where key bits of information can be just recited for marks and instead prepares the student for real-world applications of the concepts being taught.
Glyn Costello, Daventry

These students should be commended. Move over dinosaurs
David Hogg

In a couple of years they'll be able to get internal implants, feeding straight to the auditory or optic nerves. How will the exam board deal with that one?

There comes a stage when they have to admit that the whole nature of information transfer and retention has simply changed and they need to reconsider the exam set-up from first principles.
Blake Williams, Glasgow

To utilise cutting edge technology in order to maximise the chance of a successful exam outcome shows initiative, resourcefulness and an understanding of information technologies. These students should be commended. Move over dinosaurs.
David Hogg, Nantwich

The solution is simple, make all exams open-book. The students can take any book or internet device into the exam. After all, when it comes to real-life situations they'll have access to all that information. What's important is their ability to understand basic principles and to apply them to specific cases.
Frank, Brighton

In our school we have had a strict 'No Phones' policy during all exams. Pupils must put their mobile in a box at the door and these are held securely until the end of the exam. Even if a pupil leaves early they cannot get their phone until the end of the exam. Pupils accept it and none have complained.
Alan Patterson, Dingwall

I left school in 2001, but cheating was very common even then. We'd write things in the lids of our calculators in pencil so it was hard to see unless you shone a light on it at an angle.

We'd have see-through pencil cases with tiny notes inside. Or we'd write on our thighs so we could read our reminders on a loo-break. You can't eradicate cheating completely, whether you ban technology in exam halls or not. The stress caused by an impending exam can lead to remarkable ingenuity on the part of the pupils.
Helen, London

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