Exam board fails pupil accused of cheating by social media

“A story in The Times today reports that a student using a WhatsApp study group was failed in an exam for cheating because another member of the group posted questions from the exam paper. This happened because the exam centre allowed a pupil to sit the exam at a different time, without supervising them enough, giving the opportunity for them to post on the mobile messaging app.” comments Pete Langley, Study Help Director at The Student Room Group.

He continues “This illustrates the very real dangers associated with any form of cheating in an exam. If students find themselves in a position where they feel there is any suspicion of cheating they should report this straight away.

But we should not be surprised that young people are tempted by short cuts in a culture where there is so much pressure on them to achieve high grades.

That’s why it’s the responsibility of everyone in the educational establishment to ensure that these risks are minimised.

At The Student Room a team of trained moderators constantly monitor discussions reported to us and our users can report any activity they feel is suspicious. We work actively with Ofqual and exam boards to identify and deal immediately with any issues of potential cheating. This form of community-led moderation is simply not the case with social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp – the source of this issue.

Exam boards and schools also need to play their part in preventing cheating. The incident in The Times story appears to have arisen because the integrity of an exam paper was compromised by a school or college failing to provide the required supervision for candidates whose exam had been moved from the afternoon to the morning.

The exchange of information through social media and other communication channels like email and instant messaging will only increase. It is vital that exam boards, teachers, schools – in fact everyone in the educational world – takes this fundamental social change into account.

Pete concludes “The Student Room provides a unique service in creating a safe online environment for students to express their worries and concerns, receive peer support, ask questions and exchange ideas for revision and study. We believe that the exchange of ideas through social media can be a massive force for learning and will continue to encourage student discussion within an environment where risks are minimised.”


For more information please contact:

Charlotte Wilson
The Student Room Group
01273 646539