Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Tracking Tweets to Catch out Test Cheats: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Tracking Tweets to Catch out Test Cheats: News

Article excerpt

Exam board announces monitoring of social media.

They might more often be used to share pictures of friends and family or organise a night out, but now social media posts are being monitored to find students who cheat in their exams.

In previous exam seasons, questions have been posted online and students have even been caught using Twitter during tests. This has prompted exam board AQA, which operates in the UK (excluding Scotland), to warn this week that it will monitor social media and take action if it finds evidence of cheating.

"If we do come across any examples of overstepping the boundaries, or of actual cheating, we will step in and investigate," a spokeswoman said. "We do this to be fair to all students taking our exams - it isn't right that anyone has an unfair advantage."

She explained that the exam board was publicising its move in order to educate students about what they could not share online, such as rumours about exam contents, which could trigger an investigation. OCR, an exam board based in Cambridge, England, also said that it monitored social media.

A Twitter search by TES for "cheating" and "GCSE" (exams taken by 16-year- olds) provided evidence that there are indeed students shrewd enough to give themselves an advantage in exams, but not quite so cunning as to refrain from admitting to it on a public forum. The volume of confessions was low, however, and they tended to be written under pseudonyms.

One user wrote: "you know me and my brain. …

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