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Leaving Cert pupils are denied grade for copying off internet

LEAVING Cert students tried to cheat in the history exam by copying information off the internet.

A new report has revealed students were caught plagiarising part of their submissions.

The document by the chief examiner raised concerns that higher-level candidates are plagiarising their research study report (RSR).

The project, which is worth 20pc of the final mark, is submitted by candidates in advance of the written test.

But the chief examiner stated in his report: "This year, several RSRs were found to have been copied verbatim from articles in online encyclopaedias and the candidates in question had not even listed those sites as their source.

"The State Examinations Commission (SEC) regulations require that the candidate and his/her teacher authenticate that the RSR is the candidate's own individual work.

"All candidates should be aware that the onus is on them to present original research. In 2011, five candidates had their history result withheld because there was a case of plagiarism to answer."

However, the overall picture is far more positive, with many candidates using their "sources well, sourcing information and quotations from them".

Some 8,000 sat the higher-level Leaving Cert History exam last year.

The RSR is divided into three sections, namely an outline plan, an evaluation of the sources and an extended essay.


The paper is completed by students before the end of April and kept at the school until the written exam in June.

Both are then sent to the SEC to be corrected together.

General concerns about the RSR include a failure by some students to adequately outline their aims and intended approach.

"Most candidates cited their research sources fully and accurately, and evaluated their sources in a clear and confident manner," the chief examiner stated.

"Some candidates failed to include a review of the research process with their extended essay while others produced generic reviews which might have applied to any RSR," the report added.

However, the extended essays "were often interesting and impressive and the work of candidates and teachers was often complimented".

In relation to the documents-based question, the chief examiner stated many candidates showed a "lack of comprehension of key words like solemn".

"Some candidates offered historical content which was irrelevant to the set question," the report added.

Among the conclusions, the report said students should be advised not to exceed the recommended word length for their RSR essay and to include a review of the research process.