Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 12:02 UK

CCTV could be used in exam rooms

Exam candidate
CCTV cameras are used widely in many areas of schools

CCTV cameras could be used in examination halls to catch cheats and prevent unfounded complaints against invigilators.

The Examination Officers' Association is planning to test the idea in a handful of exam centres.

It says exam cheats are using increasingly hi-tech methods and that invigilators themselves fear a rising number of complaints from students.

Some schools and colleges already use CCTV to monitor teaching and behaviour.

Our suggestion is that we could use this technology and that it could help both sides
Andrew Harland
Examination Officers' Association

The battle against examination cheats is getting ever more hi-tech, with exam papers tagged and internet technology being used to spot passages of plagiarised text.

Now invigilators say they want to use some of that new technology to help them crackdown on cheats.

'No diktat'

EOA chief executive Andrew Harland said: "CCTV is extensively used in schools and colleges but not in exam rooms.

"We wondered whether it would be useful in an exam situation to protect the students and staff.

"There is no diktat about introducing this, we are simply exploring the idea of whether this would be an interesting solution."

He said there was a change in the way that exams were managed in that invigilators tended not to be teachers any more.

This meant students were not necessarily managed by people that they knew, he said.

"With the introduction of the diploma system in September we are going to get people moving in and out of schools and possibly sitting exams in centres that they've never been in before - how can these pupils be recognised?"

'Harder job'

Mr Harland said some invigilators fear that students might complain they were being put off their work because they were being stared at, for example.

Others claimed the invigilator had failed to give them a certain vital instruction, he added.

He said there was also a "world of wonderful technology out there" that pupils could use to cheat such as pens with miniature recording and playback devices.

"This is making the invigilators job a lot harder. Our suggestion is that we could use this technology and that it could help both sides," he added.

Association of School and College Leaders general secretary John Dunford said the rise in the number of invigilators who did not know the students meant there was a need for greater checks.

"If a pupil knows CCTV cameras are around, it's like slowing down for a speed camera on a main road - it acts as a deterrent."

In 2006, cases of cheating detected by exam boards in England rose by more than a quarter on the previous year.

Taking unauthorised items into exam rooms was the most common offence with 60% of such cases involving mobile phones.


SEE ALSO
Mobiles fuel exam cheating rise
26 Mar 06 |  Education
Exam papers tagged to beat cheats
10 May 07 |  Education
Teachers voice plagiarism fears
18 Jan 08 |  Education

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