Leaving Cert results withheld for 71 students over cheating fears

Students warned over risks of bringing smartwatches and phones into exam halls

Seventy one Leaving Cert students have not been given their exam results over fears they may have cheated.

Seventy one Leaving Cert students have not been given their exam results over fears they may have cheated.


Seventy-one Leaving Cert students have not been given their exam results over fears they may have cheated.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) said these candidates’ results were being withheld due to concerns that they may have breached exam regulations

At each exam centre for the Leaving Cert, students are warned they are liable to have their whole examination cancelled if they bring in iPods, MP3/4 players or mobile phones into the exam hall.

Students are also warned they risk having their exam cancelled if they aid or attempt to aid another candidate or obtain or attempt to obtain aid from another candidate.

In a statement, the commission said results have been “permanently withheld” from 51 candidates found to be in breach of exam regulations.

In addition, it has has “provisionally withheld” 20 other results pending further communication with the schools and candidates concerned.

The commission declined to say what form of alleged cheating may have occurred, though sources say the use of smartphones, production of identical papers and copying notes in the exam hall are among the most common issues which arise.

Last year a total of 72 Leaving Cert candidates has their results permanently withheld, while the equivalent figure for 2017 was 68.

In a statement, a spokeswoman said cases of alleged cheating come to light in a number of different ways.

They include an examiner detecting similar work from more than one candidate when correcting work from the same centre.

While marking an examination script, an examiner may discover memorandum, notes or paper brought in by a candidate in an attempt to gain an advantage in the examination.

In addition, an exam superintendent may detect a candidate using prohibited items – such as smartphones or smartwatches – or attempting to contact another candidate in the centre. The superintendent submits a report of the incident to the SEC.

“In the interest of being fair to all candidates, the State Examinations Commission must be satisfied that marks awarded have been gained fairly and will investigate any suggestion, suspicion or allegation of cheating or other impropriety in relation to the examinations,” the spokeswoman said.

“This is essential in order to uphold the integrity of the Irish State examinations system and to underpin equity and fairness within the system in order to enable all candidates to display their achievements on an equal footing.”

She said the principles of natural justice are applied when following up all cases of alleged cheating and findings are open to appeal.

“Details of the evidence available, such as superintendent’s reports, confiscated material or items, notes or work prepared that exhibits evidence of collusion, is given to the candidate through his/her school,” the spokeswoman said.

“The candidate is invited to offer a response to the evidence presented and the school authorities are also free to offer comment if they consider it appropriate.”