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Huge increase in exam 'cheating'.

Byline: Brendan Hughes

THE number of students reported for cheating in exams at South Wales' largest university has almost tripled in the past year, new figures reveal.

A total of 69 students were allegedly found to be cheating in exams at Cardiff University last year - an increase of more than 165% on the previous period.

But while reports of cheating in exams have surged, claims of plagiarism have plunged. The figures show reports of plagiarism in coursework have been slashed from 243 in 2010-11 to 56 last year. And complaints of collusion - where work with others is passed off as the work of solely one person - have also fallen.

A total of 1,115 reports of cheating in exams and coursework were made at Cardiff University between 2008-09 and 2011-12, according to details from a Freedom of Information request.

Details show students were found in possession of mobile phones, handwritten notes and textbook annotations during their exams.

And some students were discovered with cheat notes scrawled on their hands and arms by exam invigilators.

The huge drop in plagiarism cases has helped slash the number of reports of cheating by more than half, from 394 in 2010-11 to 125 last year.

A Cardiff University spokesman said: "Cardiff University takes all cases of unfair practice and plagiarism extremely seriously and takes firm action whenever such cases arise.

"However, these cases involve only a small minority of university students and should be seen in the context of 105,000 individual exams and many thousands of coursework assessments.

"The slight rise in cases for the year 2009-10 can be largely attributed to one specific incident. The university took appropriate disciplinary action with those involved and has introduced measures and additional study skills support designed to prevent any repetition.

"Over a half of students who were identified as having an allegation of cheating in examinations were dealt with informally.

"They were found not to have cheated, but were in possession of unauthorised material such as a mobile phone which is in breach of the regulations."

Beth Button, education and university affairs officer at Cardiff University Students' Union, said: "We recognise that academic regulations regarding cheating in exams and plagiarism in coursework are very confusing to many students.

"As a union, we have been working with the university to make the academic regulations more accessible and easy to understand for students, however some may still find regulations and policy confusing and therefore make mistakes."

The new figures come after the Echo revealed earlier this year that 2,053 students at Cardiff University and the University of Glamorgan were found guilty of cheating between 2008-09 and 2010-11.

Dr Haydn Blackey, head of the centre for excellence in learning and training at the University of Glamorgan, said at the time: " "It isn't just that you don't want students to plagiarise - you don't want graduates, teachers, doctors, to plagiarise.

It doesn't give them the skills for life that they need."

THE FACTS Number of reports of cheating in exams and coursework at Cardiff University: Offence 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 TOTAL Plagiarism 81 288 243 56 668 Collusion Unavailable 166 125 0 291 Cheating in exams 24 37 26 69 156 TOTAL 105 491 394 125 1,115
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 19, 2012
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