Chapter 4 - Sharing Questions/ Examination Papers Guidance


  1. Sharing Questions/ Examinations Papers Guidance
    1. Introduction
      1. During the current summer examinations and assessment period, there have been several cases where it has come to the attention of departments that students have posted examination questions /examination papers on online forums. In other instances, students have requested access to the paper from peers early, in order to circumvent timed examinations. This paper provides guidance for Colleges on how they should approach these cases where the students have sought to gain unfair advantage though sharing and distribution of the examination paper/question.
    2. Guidance
      1. Where a module lead (or someone else within the department) becomes aware that a student has shared an examination paper/question should notify their Director of Education (or nominee).
      2. Directors of Education (or nominee) should notify they should notify Student Cases and the Examinations Co-ordination team for this incident to be logged.
      3. Departments should notify students on the module that they are aware that the paper/question has been shared, inform them how this will be investigated further (if at all), and remind them of the severity of penalties that can be applied where evidence of academic misconduct is identified.
        For example ‘We are aware of concerns being raised about assessments being shared … our academic misconduct processes will be used where we identify those responsible … students should remember that due to no detriment engaging in academic misconduct is the only threat to student results’.
        It is intended that this communication is sent out prior to the full investigation in order to act as a deterrent.
      4. When undertaking the marking of the examination/question, the department will need to ensure they are vigilant in reviewing examination scripts. Is there evidence of the following?
        a) Collusion (students with the same or similar answers where this cannot reasonably be a coincidence).
        b) Plagiarism (if the site allows posting of answers, have any students used this content in completing their assessment).
        c)Unusually high marks bearing in mind the marks profile of the cohort/individuals.
      5. If there is evidence of a) or b) for individual students, then this should be managed through the normal Academic Misconduct process. Please see Chapter 12 of the Assessment, Progression and Awarding Handbook.
      6. Where there is evidence of c), in the case of individual student concerns, this will require further investigation before this can be referred to Academic Misconduct. Departments should refer to the viva process in the first instance.
      7. Where there is evidence of any of the above across a cohort (or a large percentage of the cohort), then it may not be appropriate to refer these cases to Academic Misconduct. In this case, the department should scrutinise the marks for this assessment carefully at the APAC and record any concerns or actions. It is recommended that this is done in all cases where it is known that the examination paper/question have been shared online. Where scaling is deemed to be an appropriate course of action, please refer to separate Scaling Guidance.
      8. The act of posting or seeking to distribute the examination/paper (even where an individual can be identified) is not in itself Academic Misconduct. Where there is no evidence that the individual student has benefited from this act (for example, the kind of evidence listed above), then the case should be treated as a disciplinary offence.


Last reviewed July 2021

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