Malpractice

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After the Exam

Cambridge Assessment English has a responsibility to candidates, test centres and other stakeholders to ensure the integrity of the examinations by putting in place robust measures to identify and deal with instances of candidate or test centre malpractice.

The Cambridge Assessment English Malpractice Procedure

The Cambridge Assessment English Malpractice Procedure deals with cases of suspected irregular conduct.

Any action which gives or aims to give unfair advantage to a candidate or causes disadvantage to other candidates. The Notice to Candidates, which is displayed outside all examination rooms, warns candidates of the consequences of such actions. (añadir vínculo al Notice to Candidates más reciente)

Cambridge English has rigorous procedures in place to detect instances of malpractice.

Examples of malpractice include:

  • obtaining unauthorised access to examination material
  • using or trying to use unauthorised material, e.g. notes, study guides, mobile phones
  • copying/collusion or attempted copying/collusion
  • disruptive behaviour or not following the instructions of an invigilator, supervisor or Centre Exams Manager, e.g. use of mobile phones or other electronic device
  • impersonation (pretending to be someone else
  • altering any results document
  • any other form of cheating or gaining of an unfair advantage.

Cases of suspected malpractice may be reported, for example:

  • by our centre, e.g. a report from an invigilator
  • by an examiner, e.g. unusual incorrect answers, shared by candidates who were sitting next to each other
  • via an application for Special Consideration
  • by statistical analysis of candidates’ answer sheets (see below).

Once reported, potential malpractice cases follow a process of investigation by Cambridge English staff, assisted as necessary by the Malpractice Panel, which may lead to results being permanently withheld.

In line with best practice, Cambridge Assessment English investigates potential malpractice by carrying out a range of statistical analyses on individual candidate results, pairs and groups of candidates in test venues and the overall results of all the candidates from one test administration.

These analyses may include, but are not limited to:

  • comparing the similarity of response patterns, or marks, between two or more candidates
  • comparing the performance of a candidate on one test paper to their performance on the other papers
  • comparing the performance of a candidate on one test date to their performance on a previous test date
  • assessing the likelihood of certain responses and scores given the overall ability of a candidate
  • analysing key stroke activity (in a computer-based test).

In each case the analysis assesses the likelihood of any given pattern of results or scores being found by chance, given the typical pattern observed in the rest of the test population (based on historical candidate data). In other words, Cambridge English identifies instances where the candidates’ results are substantially different from those observed in the overall population.

Any cases which are identified as being unusual may then be further scrutinised by an external Malpractice Panel (or an internal malpractice panel if required due to business continuity measures). All available evidence is checked before a decision is made on whether to withhold results.

If Cambridge English has reasonable grounds to suspect that a result is not a reliable indicator of a candidate’s ability, then we believe it is in the interests of all candidates that they withhold it.

Appeals procedure

There is an appeals procedure for candidates who wish to appeal against a decision to permanently withhold their result.

Information about the appeals procedure can be found on the enquiries and appeals page.

Consequences

Any action which gives or aims to give unfair advantage to a candidate or causes disadvantage to other candidates. The Notice to Candidates, which is displayed outside all examination rooms, warns candidates of the consequences of such actions.

Malpractice Panel meeting

Cambridge English has a dedicated Malpractice Panel which looks at cases, taking into account all relevant information, e.g. statements from candidates. After carefully considering the case, the Panel may be asked to help Cambridge English to decide whether the candidate’s result should be released or permanently withheld. Our centre is then asked to inform the candidate:

  • If it is decided that a candidate’s results can be released, the original results will be issued, unchanged.
  • If it is decided that the results should be permanently withheld, the candidate will not receive a result.

This procedure is designed to ensure that all decisions are consistent, fair and based on the fullest information available. Cambridge English aims to complete the investigation of suspected malpractice cases within eight weeks of the test date.

There is an appeals procedure for candidates who wish to appeal against a decision to permanently withhold their result.

Information about the appeals procedure can be found on the enquiries and appeals page.