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Monday, 15 Jun 2015

HSC malpractice investigation

HSC students will complete over one million school assessments and sit over 350,000 examinations.

In 2014 teachers found 350 cases of plagiarism in school assessments, and BOSTES found 21 cases of cheating in the exams.

Recent allegations about malpractice are of concern to BOSTES, schools, teachers, parents and the vast majority of students who do the right thing.

BOSTES advised that it will follow up each and every report of cheating.

Before they complete an assessment or sit an exam, students understand their responsibilities under the All My Own Work requirements and are fully aware of the Rules and Procedures for the HSC exams.

Where malpractice is found, students may receive zero marks for a school assessment, zero marks for an exam, potentially not receive their HSC, and live with the life-long knowledge that they did the wrong thing by themselves and their friends.

To address these latest allegations and support ongoing efforts to maintain the integrity of the HSC, BOSTES is in ongoing discussions with teacher and principal representatives on all aspects of the HSC to ensure that all our processes are as robust as can be. Even though BOSTES is well ahead in developing strategies to combat malpractice, where appropriate we will adjust our processes and our communications.

Teachers know their students very well as they spend at least 240 hours with their HSC classes. During this time they develop a deep and detailed understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each student, their individual abilities, their writing style and personal expression.

This means that they are very well-placed to detect any deviation from their expected performance in any one assessment task.

Even where an essay passes the scrutiny of software such as Turnitin, teachers are also entitled to engage with the author of a suspicious essay in a number of ways, including "viva voce" interviews, asking to see essay plans, and scrutinising early drafts. Where the assessment is developed over a longer time, teachers often build regular progress reports into their schedule.

BOSTES can confirm that it will now focus on where students might be sourcing work which is not their own. If these activities are shown to be illegal we will take action in each case.

While malpractice is not an issue that affects the HSC more than any other academic assessment, being a function of new technologies and high stakes assessments wherever they occur, BOSTES will work with schools to maintain the integrity of the credential.

For more information, contact:
Kevin Ford
Manager, Student Support Service

(02) 9367 8298