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article imageWatches banned from British examinations

By Tim Sandle     May 17, 2018 in Technology
Students have been told they cannot take watches into exams taking place in British schools and colleges. This is because of the risk that smartwatches will be used for cheating.
In June each year 16 and 18-year old students take examinations, at two different academic levels. For the eighteen year old these are 'A'-levels (for advanced level), which are part of the entry requirements for attending university. The announcement about the b on watches is therefore timely.
The 'ban' is not total and different schools and colleges are adopting different polices. In some cases, students are being asked to remove watches from their wrists and to place the timepieces on their desks. However, in other cases, exam invigilators are requesting that students leave their timepieces outside of the exam hall.
The basis of the new ruling is to prevent pupils from passing off smartwatches as normal ones. A few years ago a rule was put in place prohibiting smartwatches from being worn while attending examinations. One problem that has arisen is with a newer generation of smartwatches which more closely resemble standard watches, such as having analogue style fascias.
Interestingly, several types of smartwatches are being explicitly marketed as cheating devices can be found advertised online, including on Amazon's UK store. See, for example, the "Student 8GB cheating watch."
The restrictions are also being taken up by many universities for degree-level exams. For schools and colleges, the new ruling has come from the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). This comes in the form of an online guide.
As well as the concerns about the digital functionality of the smartwatch, there is additionally a concern about the risk that some pupils will smuggle in crib notes, folded up and placed under normal watch faces, into the exam setting.
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