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Should all watches be banned from exams?
An inquiry into the extent of malpractice in exams has called for a “blanket ban” on all watches to discourage cheating. The review, which was commissioned by exam boards, has stated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between smart watches and traditional watches.
Currently, there are exam centres across the UK that do not allow students to wear watches at all, but according to The Independent Commission on Examination Malpractice there needs to be a complete ban in all schools and exam centres.
Other cheating concerns were also raised in the review – such as students concealing devices below false fingernails and the illegal sales of exam papers on the dark web. The most common form of cheating was found to be the use of mobile phones in exams.
The Joint Council for Qualifications says it will consider whether a ban on watches could be in place for next summer's exam period.
The report also highlights concerns about schools seeking extra time in exams for pupils who have special needs or emotional problems. Whilst there was no evidence that this was malpractice, the report states that there needs to be more investigation to explain the growth in students receiving 25% extra time.
Last year, figures for England showed 2,735 pupils had been penalised for cheating – this was down on the year before, and the review found that there had been no overall increase in cheating and that levels had remained constant.