Ending Exam Fraud in Africa

Barbara Wynn was back in Johannesburg in April, honoured to be the only speaker from last year’s Annual Combating Education Irregularities Examination Fraud Summit to be invited back this time.

Thank you very much for that inspiring workshop.
One didn’t need to be told that the workshop was great fun to the delegates.
The laughter and smiles on the faces of our delegates was evident enough that you invested a lot of time in preparing for the workshop.
We look forward to working with you again next year.

Again there were representatives of 11 African countries. The conference was even better than last year, with some excellent speakers, all of whom were united in trying to ensure the integrity of all their examinations.

Examination fraud is a widespread and international issue, and the Summit is a response to the problem of exam fraud and irregularities in high schools and tertiary institutions in Africa. New trends such as ‘group copying’ have emerged where teachers and exam supervisors provide information to candidates. “These activities thrive when invigilation is very slack,” the organisers point out. “Therefore exam invigilators determine the quality of the assessment.”

Or as we say in ETD, “An exam is only as secure as the person invigilating it”.

Effective invigilation reduces if not totally eradicates fraud and irregularities in the exam hall, and that’s where ETD comes in.

Barbara’s workshop title was “Advanced Skills for Effective Exam Team Development and Invigilation—A Panacea for Exam Fraud and Irregularities”. Participants really appreciated the practical approach to aspects such as training and managing invigilators, whistle-blowing, and identifying cheating.

The workshop also looked at the psychology of cheating, and therefore what tactics combat it. For example, a worrying trend mentioned by delegates was the extreme pressure on candidates from parents, who in some cases had even encouraged cheating in high-stakes exams. More positively, some universities require candidates to use the online service “Turnitin” to check their dissertations and essays for plagiarism before handing them in. This means students take responsibility for the authenticity of their work.

Exam managers and invigilators help to combat cheating by getting candidates on board. They can be reminded that the rules are ultimately for their benefit:


Both the Summit and Barbara’s workshop highlighted many effective measures for combating exam fraud. It was inspiring to see the commitment of all those present to implementing these, and to creating a culture where exams are run, and invigilated, with the highest integrity.


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