Sunday 17 December 2017

40 students have results withheld over exam cheating

Jan O'Sullivan
Jan O'Sullivan
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Up to 40 Leaving Certificate students caught cheating in the exams have not yet received results for the papers involved.

Exam chiefs are also conducting ongoing investigations into irregularities in a further 21 cases.

After the release of the results to almost 57,000 candidates yesterday, most are now awaiting the publication of CAO Round One offers for college places next Monday.

However, Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan dashed any hopes that a loosening of government purse strings in the October Budget would bring any relief on the student contribution charge.

The charge will rise to €2,750 in the autumn, and the minister confirmed that the planned increase to €3,000 in September 2015 would go ahead.

She said while she would not pre-empt the Budget, "What has been planned will continue".

On the controversial topic of Junior Cert reform - starting with a new English syllabus in September - the minister said she was supportive of the changes but insisted they would be gradual and that it was a partnership process.

Unions have warned that they will not co-operate with a key element of change - replacing the exam with the teachers grading their own students.

Ms O'Sullivan said she would be meeting all the partners in education, including teachers, parents, management bodies and the students, starting in the next week or two.

The minister also said that proposed legislation to reform the school admission process would help address issues such as educational inequality, highlighted in a new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

On the cheating issue, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) said the results of 40 individual subjects were withheld in English, History, Construction Studies, French, Business, Home Economics, Chemistry, Geography, Biology, LCVP Link Modules and the Personal Reflection Task in the Leaving Certificate Applied.


Suspected cheating can come to light in a number of ways, including the discovery of a mobile phone or books in the exam hall, a memo brought into the exam that the student inadvertently despatched to the examiner, or similar work 
appearing from the same centre.

The regulations apply equally to practical and project work as well as to the work presented in the written examination. The SEC said that, in most cases, the penalty applied is the withholding of the result in the subject.

For more serious breaches, such as copying in more than one subject, withholding of all results and a ban on repeating the exam may be applied.

Irish Independent

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