“Malpractice” means any act, or practice which is a breach of the Regulations or which:
compromises, attempts to compromise or may compromise the process of assessment, the integrity of any qualification or the validity of an examination result or certificate; and/or damages the authority, reputation or credibility of any awarding body or centre or any officer, employee or agent of any awarding body or centre.
A failure by a centre to investigate allegations of suspected malpractice in accordance with the requirements in this document also constitutes malpractice.
Centre Staff Malpractice
“Centre Staff Malpractice” means malpractice committed by a member of staff or contractor(whether employed under a contract of employment or a contract for services) at a centre, or an individual appointed as an oral language modifier, a practical assistant, a prompter, a reader, a sign interpreter or a scribe to a candidate.
“Candidate Malpractice” means malpractice by a candidate in the course of any examination or assessment, including the preparation and authentication of any coursework, the presentation of any practical work, the compilation of portfolios of assessment evidence and the writing of any examination paper.
Head of the centre must:
report to the appropriate awarding body at the earliest opportunity all suspicions or actual incidents of malpractice.
• supervise personally all investigations resulting from an allegation of malpractice;
• ensure that if it is necessary to delegate an investigation to a member of staff, the member of staff chosen is independent, and not connected to the department involved in the suspected malpractice. This is to avoid conflicts of interest which can otherwise compromise the investigation;
• respond speedily and openly to all requests for an investigation into an allegation of malpractice, as this is in the best interests of centre staff, candidates and any others involved; co-operate and ensure their staff co-operate fully with an enquiry into an allegation
• of malpractice, whether the centre is directly involved in the case or not;
• inform staff members and candidates of their individual responsibilities and rights as set out in these guidelines;
• pass on to the individuals concerned any warnings or notifications of penalties, and to ensure compliance with any requests made by the awarding body as a result of a malpractice case.
Procedures for dealing with allegations of malpractice
The handling of malpractice complaints and allegations involves the following phases:
• The allegation
• The awarding body’s response
• The investigation
• The report
• The decision
• The appeal
Rights of the accused individuals
When an incident of suspected malpractice is reported to the awarding body, or on receipt
of a report from the awarding body, an individual, whether a candidate or a member of
staff, accused of malpractice must:
• Be informed (preferably in writing) of the allegation made against him or her.
• Know what evidence there is to support that allegation.
• Know the possible consequences should malpractice be proven.
• Have the opportunity to consider their response to the allegations (if required);
• Have an opportunity to submit a written statement.
• Have an opportunity to seek advice (as necessary) and to provide a supplementary
statement (if required).
• Be informed of the applicable appeals procedure, should a decision be made against
him or her. (With the exception of private candidates, responsibility for informing the accused individual rests with the head of centre).
Sanctions and penalties applied against candidates
Awarding bodies may, at their discretion, impose the following sanctions and penalties against candidates found guilty of candidate malpractice.
Penalty 1 – Warning
The candidate is issued with a warning that if the offence is repeated within a set period of
time, further specified sanctions will be applied.
Penalty 2 – Loss of marks for a section
The candidate loses all the marks gained for a discrete section of the work. A section may
be part of a component, or a single piece of coursework if this consists of several items.
Penalty 3 – Loss of marks for a component
The candidate loses all the marks gained for a component. A component is more often a feature of linear qualifications than a unitised qualification, and so this penalty can be regarded as an alternative to penalty 4. Some units also have components, in which case a level of penalty between numbers 2 and 4 is possible.
Penalty 4 – Loss of all marks for a unit
The candidate loses all the marks gained for a unit. This penalty can only be applied to qualifications which are unitised. For linear qualifications, the option is penalty 3. This penalty usually allows the candidate to aggregate or request certification in that series, albeit with a reduced mark or grade.
Penalty 5 – Disqualification from a unit
The candidate is disqualified from the unit. This penalty is only available if the qualification is unitised. For linear qualifications the option is penalty 7. The effect of this penalty is to prevent the candidate aggregating or requesting certification in that series, if the candidate has applied for it.
Penalty 6 – Disqualification from all units in one or more qualifications
If circumstances suggest, penalty 5 may be applied to other units taken during the same examination or assessment series. (Units which have been banked in previous exam series are retained) .
Penalty 7 – Disqualification from a whole qualification
The candidate is disqualified from the whole qualification taken in that series or academic year. This penalty can be applied to unitised qualifications only if the candidate has requested aggregation. Any units banked in a previous series are retained, but the units taken in the present series and the aggregation opportunity are lost. If a candidate has not requested aggregation the option is penalty 6. It may also be used with linear qualifications.
Penalty 8 – Disqualification from all qualifications taken in that series
If circumstances suggest, penalty 7 may be applied to other qualifications. This penalty can be applied to unitised qualifications only if the candidate has requested aggregation. Any units banked in a previous series are retained, but the units taken in the present series and the aggregation opportunity are lost. If a candidate has not requested aggregation the option is penalty 6. It may also be used with linear qualifications.
Penalty 9 – Candidate debarral
The candidate is barred from entering for one or more examinations for a set period of time.
This penalty is applied in conjunction with any of the other penalties above, if the circumstances warrant it.
The college have established procedures for considering appeals against penalties arising from malpractice decisions. The following individuals have a right to appeal against decisions of the Internal assessment board or officers acting on its behalf:
• Members of centre staff, or examining personnel contracted to a centre, who may appeal against sanctions imposed on them personally.
• Private candidates.