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My son accused of cheating in GCSE maths exam...urgent advice needed please

(128 Posts)
supersare Sun 12-Jun-11 07:58:20

Hi, my son has been accused of cheating in his GCSE maths exam and I have been informed by the school that there is a possibility all his exam results may be consequently voided. I am close to breaking point and am furiously trying to find some information on how to sort this out. The examining board is EDEXL and their website has no details relating to their policy on cheating.
The only thing my son is guilty of is absent mindedness as he claims that in the exam, he took his calculator out of its case he had forgotten to remove a piece of paper with some revision notes on - when he found the paper he panicked and stuffed it back in the calculator case and carried on with the exam. Another pupil spotted him do this and reported him to the invigulator who approached my son while the exam was still going on and asked him why he was cheating.
The school say they have to report it now and I'm at my wits end as to what is going to happen, surely he can't loose all his other GCSE's because of this?

OP’s posts: |
ajandjjmum Sun 12-Jun-11 08:01:47

That must be really difficult for you. I thought they had to have 'see through' pencil cases, so that this couldn't happen?

I would go into school with him first thing on Monday, see the Head, and let your DS explain what happened, as you're there to support him.

It would be a very tough lesson for him to learn.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 08:07:20

My DS's school sent out very stern reminders about exam procedure, and warned them all what he consequences would be.
Transparent pencil cases, bag at the back of the hall, mobiles absent, no MP3 players or the like.
All you can do is plead, and hope that his record backs him up and that he is given the benefit of the doubt. They do have to report it.

AngusOg Sun 12-Jun-11 08:07:22

a piece of paper with some revision notes on

Despite the myriad of warnings to check things before they enter an exam hall and all the tmes they are told beforehand what is required re:exam behaviour? Absentminded?

I don't think you will be able to prevent the school reporting this - if the exam board found out the school glossed it over, the whole cohort's results would be in jeopardy. And that would not be fair at all.

supersare Sun 12-Jun-11 08:08:10

Thanks. He has a calculator which is in a case and the note was inside the case with the calculator.
My husband is going into the school on Monday as they have said they have to write a letter reporting what happened. What is a DS?

OP’s posts: |
Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 08:10:18

Acronym used on MN, DS =Dear Son DD for daughter.
I do hope it works out for him.

ajandjjmum Sun 12-Jun-11 08:11:19

Darling son - although I suspect yours may not be quite so 'darling' this morning! I am sure the school will use an element of judgement based on his record. Is he normally a high achiever?

ajandjjmum Sun 12-Jun-11 08:11:57

Ooops - maybe I'm wrong and it's 'dear' - not that it matters too much!

RitaMorgan Sun 12-Jun-11 08:21:22

I think he's going to have a hard time explaining why he had revision notes in a calculator case - is there any reason to hide notes there other than to cheat?

supersare Sun 12-Jun-11 08:22:45

He has a good achievement record, he is predicted A grade for his maths. He already has a C which he got earlier in the year and a GCSE grade C in statistics which he gained in year 10 so I guess he is a high achiever..he is also very absent minded also! I understand why it has to be reported to the examining board but it's the fact that all his other results will be scrapped also which is particularly frightening. He was planning on doing A Level Maths so if his higher paper is scrapped will he still keep his grade C which he gained earlier?

OP’s posts: |
TimeWasting Sun 12-Jun-11 08:24:20

Erm, why would you keep revision notes inside a calculator case?

activate Sun 12-Jun-11 08:25:37

If school have already said they are going to report him then I think they've already considered his record and will be providing that along with the report

if they don't report I'm sure there will be consequences to all those other students in the exam that weren't "absentminded" which is a paltry excuse based on the practice tests, notices and reinforcements by the way

I would also be worried in your case, extremely so, I wish you a lot of luck

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 08:28:20

My DS does, because it is logical to keep the notes in the same place as the calculator and he likes making notes. He had to leave the lid of his calculator behind at home because it had various mathematical formula printed on it, and he had to scrub his arms free of where he'd drawn and written on them in black ink.
Not maths, but someone could have misinterpreted what he'd done.

supersare Sun 12-Jun-11 08:30:30

As far as I know he had them in his calculator case as it was where he kept his formulas during revision sessions prior to the exam? He is adamant it was a genuine mistake (which he will be, I know) but I'm his mum and will defend him to the hilt. We have an honest and open relationship, he comes to me with any problems and all I can say that he has a bad track record when it comes to remembering things and is forgetful too, therefore I believe him.
I just wondered if anyone has any knowledge on the procedures for this kind of thing as I've never had to deal with anything like it before.

OP’s posts: |
SDeuchars Sun 12-Jun-11 08:33:17

It would be very unfair, IMHO, if all his results for this exam season were cancelled.

However, it would not be a disaster if his maths is refused (which is quite likely, even if I cannot imagine having much in a calculator case that would change his result). He could take the exam again in November (even after starting the A level course, if the college or school is sensible).

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 08:34:39

There are quite a few secondary teachers who will be able to offer you specifics about what will happen and what are your options.
Check your thread later on.

AngusOg Sun 12-Jun-11 08:44:05

1. The school report him for the violation of exam rules. The have to follow the protocol unless they wish to risk their status as an accredited centre. Which they are not going to do!
2. The exam board make a decision about the matter. He may be given the benefit of the doubt (unlikely, given waht you say about the contents of the paper in his calculator case), he may be disqualified from this one exam for this diet or he may have all his results from this year voided and have to resit them all next year (worst case scenario).

Whilst I understand your wish to defend him, this isn't a falling out in the playground. He was found in a national exam with revision notes, in a complete breech of exam rules and regulations. How they came to be there is no real concern of the exam board - the fact is he took revision notes into his maths exam. All candidates are told - till they are sick of hearing it - what is expected from them. Your son may just have to learn the lesson from this and be more responsible in future. Sorry, probably not what you want to hear, but actions like this, regardless of how they have come about, do have consequences.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 12-Jun-11 08:46:16

Calculator cases are not allowed in exams for this reason. The lead invigilator at the start of the exam should have read a warning which states "check now that you do not have any unauthorised material on you as you will be penalised for this EVEN IF You do not intend to use it".

ellisbell Sun 12-Jun-11 08:50:12

I'm sorry but every child's results at the school could be suspect if it was not reported to the examination board. The invigilator should have removed the piece of paper and sent it in with the exam paper - what did happen to the piece of paper and do you have a copy?

In some modern GCSE maths exams it is quite hard to cheat as you are given most formulae anyway, you have to know how to use them. I would hope the examination board would take that into account when looking at the maths examination.

If the exam board void all other examinations you might legally challenge that (an invigilator should have spotted cheating) but you can't avoid this having an impact on his future.

Despite all reminders children do take things they shouldn't into examination halls. In any other exam I wouldn't believe it was absent-minded but in a maths gcse I'd see revision notes as pretty useless and be more inclined to believe him.

exoticfruits Sun 12-Jun-11 08:50:22

It is unfortunate- but he must have had the rules. I bought plastic see through pencil cases, the alternative was a clear plastic bag. Iam surprised that there wasn't a check and the calculator case taken away until the end.

magentadreamer Sun 12-Jun-11 08:52:57

My DD has various formulas for Maths in her calculator case purely for the reason she always has her calculator for Maths lessons. According to my DD they have to put all caluculator cases/lids on the floor at the start of the exam, before looking at the paper.

Several years ago a work colleagues DS stupidly forgot to leave his mobile phone at home on the day of an exam and was found with it in his blazer pocket at the end of the exam - it went off. He ended up with that paper being made void. His other exams were not effected.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 08:53:32

'in a maths gcse I'd see revision notes as pretty useless'

I'm surprised at that, my son's notes involve definitions of mathematical terms, formulae and acronyms to help him remember specific areas of weakness for him. So he'd find them very useful.

MmeBlueberry Sun 12-Jun-11 08:53:43

The school has to report the facts.

The exam board decides what the penalty is. The worst case scenario is that all his summer exams from all subjects and all boards are voided. Next would be just Edexcel exams, then just Maths, then just this paper etc.

I would say at having revision notes hidden inside a calculator is a very severe form of cheating in the scheme of things.

They aren't allowed to keep their calculator lids either.

TheFlyingOnion Sun 12-Jun-11 08:54:01

ooh you won't like this but it sounds like he was cheating to me - or rather, intended to and then got caught/chickened out.

I think it would be unfair to void all his results but if that exam is voided, he will just have to suck it up....

The rules are pretty clear....

mnistooaddictive Sun 12-Jun-11 08:55:09

I understand he is your son and you will defend him but this is an idiotic thing to do. He will have been told about the importance of checking everything before he goes in. They are not even allowed calculator cases as they have some (unuseful) formulae on. The threat of all GCSE grades being cancelled is bandied around a lit but I have never known this to happen. Your son is snout to Hearn an important lesson about consequences. You will have to support him but allow the process to happen. Hopefully he will learn from this and bit do it at Alevel or degree. If he was in my class I would be furious with him and I imagine you must be too. He may loose his GCSE grade but will be allowed to resit. See what the school/exam board say on Monday.
It worth saying here for other people that the best thing to do in this situation is to put your hand up and hand in the piece of paper. He was unlucky as I don't know many students who would actually report one of their peers for this. How far into the exam did he discover the notes?

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