Education
JM | Oct 7, 2021

UWI to resume face-to-face examinations in wake of cheating epidemic

Juanique Tennant

Juanique Tennant / Our Today

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In the wake of increasing examination irregularities since the onset of remote testing, administrators of the University of the West Indies say they have been forced to order a resumption of face-to-face examinations, beginning at the end of this semester.

The increasing examination irregularities which are the impetus for the administration’s decision to pull the plug on remote testing, were last week brought to the attention of the university staff in a document entitled, ‘Situational Analysis for Staging of Face-to-Face Final Examinations for Semester One 2021-2022’.

Data provided in the document revealed that there was a growing trend in the normality of examination irregularities, which had become more concerning with each passing semester.

Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

According to the document, 14 cases of examination irregularities were recorded in the first semester of the 2019-2020 academic year and, with the transition to online testing in the second semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number increased to a shocking 81 cases.

In the subsequent academic year, which saw the predominance of online examinations for both semesters, 98 cases of irregularities were observed in both the December and May exams.

The document went on to relay that, while efforts have been made by the administration to tackle the problem, the results have been less than favourable.

“It has also been brought to our attention that cheating in tertiary exams is becoming an organised and lucrative industry with students paying third parties to complete their assessments on their behalf.”

‘Situational Analysis for Staging of Face-to-Face Final Examinations for Semester One 2021-2022’

“Despite faculty continuously adjusting their approach to the assessment and the campus introducing campaigns to promote and encourage academic honesty, the campus continues to experience an unacceptably high amount of irregularities each semester,” read the document.

Even more worrying is the realisation that remote testing has afforded the growth of a lucrative industry that has egged the cheating epidemic on.

“It has also been brought to our attention that cheating in tertiary exams is becoming an organised and lucrative industry with students paying third parties to complete their assessments on their behalf,” stated the document.

Recognising that this epidemic could pose future challenges for a university that just recently celebrated its Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking of 1.5 per cent of best universities in the world, the administration has moved to quickly rectify the problem.

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