Students will not be allowed to wear watches into their NCEA exams this year to prevent cheating.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority has banned watches from the examination room because some digital watches can store information and share emails.

Otumoetai College principal Russell Gordon said the college was adhering to the no watch policy.

"As digital watches can potentially be used for storing information, and given that a digital watch can look exactly like an analogue watch, we understand the reasoning behind NZQA banning watches from the examination rooms," he said.

Advertisement

"We have clocks in every examination room so that students are still able to gauge and use their time wisely throughout the three hours."

Tauranga Boys' College principal Robert Mangan said the ban was logical based on the availability of being able to store information in watches.

Mangan said there were 950 boys sitting their end of year exams this year and all exam rooms would have clocks for students to check the time.

"There is no need for students to bring watches into their exams," he said. "It is a logical decision."

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said the school had banned the timepieces on advice from NZQA.

Walsh expected changes in technology would continue to present a challenge for schools trying to keep the exam playing field fair.

"You now have pens that can store data and will need to be checked, and glasses as well," he said.

Rotorua Girls High principal Ally Gibbons said students did not need to bring a watch into their exams.

"It is just another distraction really," she said. "I don't see it as an issue."

NZQA deputy chief executive of assessment Kristine Kilkelly said the decision not to allow watches into the exam room was because some digital watches had transmitting functions to send and receive emails and messages.

Kilkelly said some watches can also be used to store information and can be linked to hearing devices.

"The reasoning for not allowing both analogue and digital watches into examination rooms is because of the difficulties faced by examination supervisors in determining whether a candidate's watch is digital or analogue," she said.

"Many digital watches can resemble traditional analogue watches, and the supervisors don't have time at the start of an examination to figure out what type of watch it is."

Clocks are displayed in every exam room and supervisors indicate on a whiteboard how much time students have left to complete their exam in 15 minute segments, she said.

Tauranga Boys' College Year 12 student Jack McManaway said it was easier for exam supervisors to have a blanket ban on watches.

"With the amount of clocks and stop watches, it is easy for people to gather how much time is left," he said.

Year 13 student Kale Adair, 18, said the no watch policy was a "great idea".

"It minimises the risk of cheating considering how far technology has come."


Exam Dos:

- Follow all instructions of any supervisor
- All work you submit for marking must be your own
- You may only have an approved calculator in the examination room which has had its memory cleared and checked.

Exam Don'ts:

- Talk to, communicate with or disturb other candidates
- Copy another's work
- Communicate with the marker, including writing or drawing anything that could be viewed as offensive
- Leave the examination room within the first 45 minutes or the last 15 minutes of the examination
- Touch or open any emergency evacuation pack without the permission of a supervisor

Banned items:

- Any electronic device*, unless it is switched off and inside the sealed emergency evacuation pack
- Any paper – except for your admission slip
- Any notes in any form
- Any watch of any type (digital or analogue).

*An electronic device is anything that can store, communicate and/or retrieve information and includes all cell phones.

Source: NZQA