YEP Says: Zero-tolerance is only way to deal with exam cheats

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THE numbers are quite staggering. Some 3,000 students in Leeds have been caught cheating in exams and coursework over the last five years.

It begs the question how many of them actually succeeded and weren’t caught? And, just as importantly, how many genuine students suffered lower grades because the cheaters achieved higher grades?

The system, it seems, isn’t properly designed to tackle modern cheating techniques. The old ruse of scribbled notes secreted into exams has long since been replaced by hi-tech systems involving smartwatches and online ‘essay mills’.

And as exam season comes to a close, figures show that mobile phones and plagiarism are among the main ways for students to cheat.

Now universities, including Leeds Beckett, have revealed they are cracking down on the problem, with new measures being put in place to tackle the use of Bluetooth headsets and hidden wires in exams, alongside a text-matching service to detect online plagiarism.

The figures obtained by the Yorkshire Evening Post show that cheating is most prevalent in coursework – in the last five years a total of 3,248 students in Leeds were caught-out – with plagiarism listed as the main factor.

There must be a zero tolerance policy with cheats thrown off courses. Only then can confidence return to our exam system.

Museum of the Moon, Luke Jerram's incredible installation for Light Night Leeds 2017. Credit Robert Sils.

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