The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association today called on the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Qualifications Authority to act promptly to reduce and possibly eliminate cheating which may exist in our examination system.

“Over the years it has become increasingly evident that a small minority of pupils can have access to internet resources which, if used inappropriately, will give rise to an unfair advantage in the examination” said David Eaglesham, General Secretary.

“A wide range of courses at National Qualification and Standard Grade require the submission of course work as part of the examination. It is becoming an increasingly difficult problem to separate legitimate use of external sources and plagiarism in the work of candidates. This is exacerbated by online services which offer a “ready cooked” piece which purports to be capable of gaining a specific grade in the examination”.

“Despite the commendable efforts of the SQA, plagiarism and direct input from third parties is creating a major challenge for our examination system. We have to act now to eliminate the risk in coming years.”

The Association is calling for new standards to be adopted within the Curriculum for Excellence to ensure that all course work is completed in fully verifiable conditions to ensure that plagiarism and collusion cannot play a part in grades awarded to pupils. The Curriculum for Excellence will require some re-design of examinations and will be an ideal opportunity to tackle this growing problem.

“We must act now to tackle what will only become an ever greater problem due to miniaturisation of technology. We must be able to reassure pupils, parents and the wider community that examinations remain a scrupulous, fair and accurate illustration of the true ability of a pupil.”

“We would commend research into verification systems now in use in some schools in the USA which will also help to combat plagiarism by using the technology to police the technology.

Further information from

David Eaglesham

General Secretary22 December 2006