High-tech gadgets crack down on exam cheats

Students looking to gain an unfair advantage in their exams could be more easily caught as education bosses turn to high-tech gadgets and security devices to deter cheating.

Each year thousand of teenagers taking their GCSEs and A-levels are caught copying or using mobile phones to cheat in their exams.

In a bid to deter exam cheats, the names of schools will now be invisibly written on exam papers using "microtext". As microtext cannot be photocopied, the papers are in effect watermarked. This system also allows for exam papers to be traced back to schools in the event of a security breach.

Last year, the Edexcel exam board was one such group that electronically tagged exam papers to ensure that they had not been tampered with.

Around 80 per cent of children that cheat get caught, according to Edexcel's managing director, Jerry Jarvis. However, Jarvis also asserts that fewer are getting away with cheating in controlled exam conditions.

"Last year we had the best year ever of attempted cheating - we had zero incidents. Eighty percent of kids that cheat get caught anyway and it's devastating when they do get caught."

"The chances of cheating and getting away with it have gone down again as far as we are concerned," said Jarvis.

Further steps to eradicate plagiarism will also be taken with the increased use of computer software analysing students' written answers. The software will be able to check to see if work has been copied from anywhere else.

Authorities had considered sending papers in lockable boxes that could only be opened remotely by a mobile phone call on the day of the exam. However, bosses believed the measures already in place were sufficient deterrents.