Students 'taking it in turns to answer exam questions' while sitting tests at home as cheating 'normal' in lockdown

STUDENT households are reportedly being busted cheating in online university exams taken at home as cheating becomes "endemic".

Virtual assessments have replaced hall exams during the pandemic and this has driven an increase in students accused of malpractice, experts say. 

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The Daily Telegraph reports how students are forced to take exams in their bedrooms where they become tempted to cheat. 

Some are said to have shared questions with their housemates by photographing answers.

Others are taking it in turns to complete sections of the exam papers, it is claimed.

In one recent case, during an online exam dozens of undergraduates swapped answers on a social media group in real time.

One sickened student then took screenshots and informed university officials. 

Meanwhile, plagiarism software can detect identical errors and typos in exam papers.

Students can then end up being disciplined.

Dr Daniel Sokol, a barrister at 12 King’s Bench Walk, said: "Clients tell us that collusion is so rife that it has become normalised. Not colluding is the exception.

"Some feel aggrieved that they have been caught and punished when most of their year has done exactly the same thing without penalty."

Dr Sokol, who set up the Alpha Academic Appeals legal service that represents students in academic misconduct cases, has received more than 120 queries in one month. 

He said: "Punishments for collusion can be  serious, leading in some cases to repeating the exam with a cap of the pass mark, repeating the year, a lower degree classification or fitness to practise procedures."

Robin Jacobs, a barrister who deals with academic misconduct cases at Sinclairs Law, has also recently seen several students in a household caught cheating.

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