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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Rise in students caught cheating
exam sign
The number of cases of cheating is on the increase
Cases of pupils caught cheating in school exams in Northern Ireland, though few in number, have increased tenfold in five years.

Figures from the CCEA exam board show 53 pupils were found guilty of cheating in 2005, up from just five in 2000.

The CCEA said an area of growing concern was the prohibited use of mobile phones in exam halls, with 20 pupils caught with them last summer.

The board is now issuing a general warning to all potential cheats.

'Huge risk'

The CCEA said, while the number of students found guilty of malpractice in GCSE and A-level exams was still small, the trend was in the wrong direction.

2000: 5
2001: 12 cases
2002: 17
2003: 19
2004: 47
2005: 53

Source: CCEA

"The vast majority of students do not cheat in their exams," said CCEA's director of operations, Neil Anderson.

"Therefore I want to say very clearly to any student who might be thinking of doing otherwise: don't," he said.

"It is unfair to the many thousands of your peers who don't cheat, to your teachers and to your parents.

"You're also taking a huge risk with your future. Penalties for cheating range from a loss of marks through to barring a candidate from taking any public examinations."

The CCEA stressed that invigilators were trained in the detection of "malpractice in the exam hall" and examiners were also trained how to spot the tell-tale signs of cheating.

The upwards trend in cheating in Northern Ireland is similar to that seen in England.

Last month, figures released by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority showed the cases of malpractice detected by the English exam boards rose by more than a quarter last summer.

In total, 1,897 incidents were penalised by the AQA board, 1,762 by OCR and 888 by Edexcel.

Taking unauthorised items into exam rooms was the most common offence with 60% of such cases involving mobile phones and a third of cases involved plagiarism, collusion or copying work.

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