Within this section you will find information on malpractice, advice on how you can prevent it and what to do if you suspect malpractice in exams and assessments.
What is malpractice?
Malpractice is any act or practice which breaches regulations, or which:
- gives rise to prejudice to candidates
- compromises public confidence in qualifications
- compromises the process of assessment, the integrity of any qualification or the validity of a result or certificate
- damages the authority, reputation or credibility of any awarding body or centre.
We’ve prepared the following documents to help you identify examples of malpractice:
- Exams officers and invigilators: how to avoid malpractice
- Student exam malpractice
- Identifying malpractice quiz
For more information on malpractice, view the Joint Council Qualifications (JCQ) malpractice page.
The best way to avoid malpractice is plan ahead before the exam series starts.
In the video below, we’ve outlined some key things to consider before, during and after the exams.
Instructions for conducting exams (ICE)
As a starting point, you should be familiar with the JCQ's instructions for conducting exams (ICE).
The instructions will help you with your planning and administering of exams. The ICE document is updated each year, so it’s important that you read the latest version. Any changes to the document are highlighted to help you see what has changed.
Talk to your students
Help your students prepare for their exams by checking that they know what’s going to happen and what’s expected of them.
Let your students know that they must not have any of the following items with them in the exam room:
- mobile phones
- MP3/4 players or similar devices
As of 1 September 2021, students are no longer allowed to wear a watch of any type in the exam room.
Train your invigilators
Make sure your invigilators have been trained and understand their role in advance of the exams.
Invigilators must be familiar with the JCQ invigilator checklist.
Set up your exam rooms
You should identify all the rooms that will be used for exams. This includes separate rooms, such as those needed to accommodate students with access arrangements (scribes, readers etc) or specialist subject exams (computer science, modern foreign languages etc).
All exam rooms need the same conditions and should be set up according to the ICE document.
The following posters must be displayed in a prominent place outside each exam room:
Complete pre-series and exam day checks
To help you prepare for exams, you might find it useful to complete a pre-series and exam day checklist.
You can view these checklists, along with other helpful resources, on the JCQ instructions for conducting exams page.
If you witness or suspect malpractice, you should report it to your head of centre first. Your head of centre has a duty to investigate and report all such incidents to us.
If you feel that you cannot report your suspicions of malpractice to your head of centre, you can contact our exams integrity team directly.
We’re aware that reporting suspected malpractice can be difficult. Where requested, we will not disclose the identity of an informant unless we are legally obliged to do so.
To report malpractice to us, you'll need to complete one of the following forms:
- JCQ form M1: report of suspected candidate malpractice
- JCQ form M2: notification of suspected malpractice involving centre staff
You can find additional information about making an allegation and whistleblowing on the JCQ's malpractice page.
Further information and guidance from JCQ and Ofqual.
- JCQ notice to centres: malpractice
- JCQ notice to centres: sharing non-exam assessment material and candidates' work
- JCQ understanding and avoiding malpractice
- Malpractice in GCSE, AS and A level: summer 2021 exam series
Contact our exams integrity team by: