12 students caught cheating in exams

By Patrice Dougan, Kim Fulton

1 comment
There were 12 breaches of NCEA exam rules in Hawke's Bay last year.
There were 12 breaches of NCEA exam rules in Hawke's Bay last year.

Hawke's Bay students were involved in a dozen cases of cheating in exams last year.

There were 12 investigations into breaches of examination rules in Hawke's Bay last year with breaches substantiated in every case, according to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) annual NCEA report.

The report doesn't identify any of the schools where students breached exam rules.

Taradale High School deputy principal John Marshall said all students were given detailed exam instructions, prepared by NZQA, and the school ran a briefing for all students before external exams.

The exam centre manager repeated the instructions at the beginning of every exam.

He said he could not recall the school having any problems with students cheating in external exams.

Exam centre managers had to be increasingly vigilant around cheating, particularly with devices such as phones, smart watches and calculators' memories, Mr Marshall said.

"Each year NZQA provides a list of banned devices but it is a moveable feast as technology develops," he said.

"While it is increasingly easy to plagiarise electronically, there are also programmes to help identify plagiarised work which has been sourced off the web."

Havelock North High principal Greg Fenton said his school had no issues with exam rules.

The school went through expectations regarding rules when seniors carried out mock exams during the year.

The exam controller and the principal's nominee responsible for NCEA exams also spoke to each year level completing exams prior to external exams at the end of the year.

Calculators were all reset prior to exams, and students weren't allowed phones in the exam room, he said.

Hastings Boys' High School principal Robert Sturch said students were well briefed on exam etiquette and junior exams were held under the same conditions as NCEA exams. "So by the time they get to Year 11, you know, it's not foreign to them."

They were also reminded of the rules before they entered the exam room, he said.

Nationwide, the number of students cheating on their NCEA exams went up last year.

Among the 2015 cohort of students sitting NCEA, 290 were caught cheating out of a total 305 who were investigated.

That's 10 more students than the 280 who were caught cheating in the 2014 exams, out of 299 investigated students, according to NZQA.

Of those caught cheating in last year's exams, 102 were using or had a cellphone on them, while 59 were either using notes or had notes on them during their test.

A further 39 were found with unauthorised material, eight with inappropriate or offensive material/language, and 20 were found to have made an unauthorised absence from the exam room.

Meanwhile, two students were caught with similar answers to another candidate, 34 were caught communicating with another student in the exam room, and 20 were found to have caused a disturbance. Ten had the authenticity of their answers questioned.

The vast majority of those caught cheating were based in Auckland with 159 cheaters, followed by Wellington with 27. Central Plateau and the Cook Islands were the only two regions listed as having no cheaters.

This was similar to 2014 results, which also found Auckland had the most cheaters - 124 that year - followed by Wellington with 41. Again, Central Plateau and the Cook Islands had no cheaters, with Wairarapa and Southland students also boasting honest students.

Using cellphones was the most popular method of cheating in 2014, with 116 students caught using phones during exams.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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