Thursday, 12 October 2017


I have just been reading a scary article about the growth of cheating technology that is rife in many universities around the world. A few years ago, it was mobile phones that were the chief culprit, but all that has changed, it seems. There are some companies that blatantly advertise miniature ear pieces that are completely undetectable and are actually advertised online. The following is a direct "copy and paste" from such a site:

The essential invisible earpiece for cheating on tests.
Cheat on tests with no worry of being caught.
No cables: the sound reaches your ear wirelessly.
All accessories included--you will only need your cell phone.
Also, totally compatible with any MP3 player.
Instructions: open it, turn it on and pass the test.

I an not going to advertise this appalling practice by giving details of the website. Furthermore, the problem seems to be, for the moment anyway, confined to universities. Nonetheless, it is only a matter of time before AS and A2 exams are infiltrated. It used to be said that with the growth of miniaturisation, digital media and advanced technology, examinations were the only safe method of ensuring students' work was entirely their own. Even the exam hall now seems to be under threat.

However, for those of us who still believe in morality and ethics (the vast majority, I sincerely hope) there is some other and better news this week. Readers of my blog may recall that I recently posted an article about people in the UK and US who would write university student essays and assignments for a fee. The British government this week announced plans to outlaw this practice and will be assigning funds to invest in sophisticated means of identifying the culprits and putting them out of business.

Education, like any other profession, attracts its fair share of undesirables who prey upon those who are feeling insecure or unable to cope with the demands placed upon them. Cheating in any form, will never be an acceptable practice in any area of the education process. Once identified, it must be resisted at all costs and eradicated completely.


  1. I wonder whether it is possible to "jam" these devices with some kind of electronic noise (inaudible to examinees of course). If so it might be worth investigating providing the Great Hall with protection. It would impress Cambridge, and mean that all KY exams would be guaranteed safe from the minute ear piece!

    1. Certainly worth looking into. Thanks for your suggestion!

  2. Paul, very interesting comments. I saw the same in the Guardian last week. I sincerely believe that rooting out the culture of being tempted to cheat from an early age is the way forward. Yes, the pressures are deep and hard to bear for students, especially when they are working to tight deadlines and/or the language of instruction might not be their native tongue. However, there is still (I believe) a moral majority out there and these are the people we should be catching at the early stages, (a) to make sure that they gain credit for their own industrious hard work and (b) to highlight to them the potential punishments should they be tempted to fall into such a trap.
    My own daughter has started university this year ad she has had very clear directions from myself about academic honesty. I do not think for one second that she would be tempted, but I do think that having parental support in the fight against such practices is essential for students so that they know they are supported, regardless of what grade a particular submitted piece of work might attract.
    I currently serve on our college's committee for investigation into academic dishonesty and some of the cases I have come across are truly astounding. However, the College has a stringent set of measures in place, and as soon as one student is found guilty of malpractice, word amongst the student body is quick to spread. The students are very aware of the potential consequences, and whilst we cannot say that we have eradicated such behaviours 100%, we are well on the way to reducing it as much as possible within the organisation.
    Thank you for sharing your post.

    1. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts.