back to article Exam bosses target faster cheat takedowns

Authorities worried that the imminent exam season will see questions leaked online have appealed to ISPs for help arranging for them to be pulled from the web quicker. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), which is responsible for producing national curriculum assessments and the security of papers, said it was …


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  1. Random Noise

    Stable door...

    Once its online it's probably been copied to multiple places. Taking down the offending host isn't going to stop the circulation after that. This whole thing seems like a huge waste of time / effort and most likely public funds.

    Once something has been leaked surely the only option is to use a new paper?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Maintaining secrecy ... is ... critical

    So what have you learned? To instil this attitude in your staff? Obviously not. Agree with random noise: use a backup paper. And tighten up your effin document control. And fire a few people. After the initial purge you can get around to firing the idiot who dreamed up this "takedown" scheme.

    I mangled the original quote. It said "maintaining secrecy and confidentiality ..." Of course, if you don't have secrecy, the information isn't confidential any more. Again, "stable door" says it all.

  3. Jon


    QCA fundeamentaly fail to understand the internet. Once out a paper should be dropped. It is most likily be torrented or wikileaks or on a server with no control.

    I don't think they mean takedown but block in the way the iwf got wikipedia nuked over that pedoalbum but that still won't stop p2p.

  4. Sean Barry

    Not addressing the root cause

    Whats wrong with these people? Why do they still consider the internet as a compartmentalised system over which they can apply controls? They need to accept that once information goes public it stays there.

    Why don't they focus efforts on securing the questions properly in the first place? Or maybe even using the internet to provide a solution - such as secure digital downloads / prints to schools closer to the time of exams.

    Although I guess if shifting your problem onto the ISPs is good enough for the government it's good enough for everyone else

  5. dracotrapnet

    Gir: Hi Cow..

    If questions are getting leaked before exam, maybe the distribution channel needs fixing. Perhaps start shipping in time locked containers if it's oh so important that no one see the tests before hand.

    Also, who is to say the questions havent been asked before somewhere on the internet?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    what about the IWF?

    They should use the IWF blacklist...

    THINK OF THE CHILDREN! They can find the exams online! How disgusting is that?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hmmm, how about having enough questions to cover the entire syllubus for each subject with a random set chosen on the day? Leaks would then only provide revision material.

  8. PJH

    A possibly quicker way...

    Why not just get the IWF to mark the sites as 'questionable?' I'm sure that'd be a quicker "shoot now, ask questions later" route to getting the content in question off t'internet.

    Coat? It's the one with Virgin Killer on the back, ta.

  9. Paul

    Why not just make 20 different papers

    and randomly decide which is to be used on the day.

    Of course, it's possible they could all be leaked. But then any student preparing answers to them all will end up with a pretty decent grasp of the subject anyway so no problem.

  10. Frederick Karno

    Just another excuse

    They should ensure the security of the papers better.If it has got online then the damage is already done taking a site down will have little or no effect.

    Our Government says it is capable of keeping and using data securely let them prove it by ensuring exam questions are not released in the first place,get your own house in order before asking others to do your dirty work for you.

    We have a Government hell bent on controlling everything we say and do and if ISP's bend the rules for this they will have to do it all the time.

    mines the one with the question papers in the inside pocket.

  11. Martin

    But what is the point?

    I've never quite understood the point of cheating in an exam, except possibly for university finals.

    You cheat in an A-level, and you'll end up at university. If you are good enough to do the work at the uni, you were good enough to pass the A-level without cheating. If you're not good enough, you'll be thrown out and you've gained nothing.

    Similarly GCSEs to A-level.

    And as for cheating at SATS - well, it's up there with the most futile exercises I've ever come across. So wow - you're school is now marginally higher in the league tables. Big deal !

  12. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up

    Oh for the love of....

    So how many kids have mobiles/PDAs with GBs of storage now? Simply bluetooth transfer from phone to phone, spreads to PCs and other electronic storage...

    You lot then decide to waste my taxes asking ISPs to waste customers money chasing 1 site?

    Yeah a big,fat F-A-I-L for you my techno-challenged friends!

  13. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    They seem to fail to understand both the internet and children. Tell me, if a 15-year-old gets hold of exam questions, which of the following scenarios is more likely?

    1. Child creates a website with 1&1 Internet with exam questions

    2. Child posts exam questions on Facebook, Twitter or 4chan

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Title is required


    They have got it right - the document they sent ISPA does talk about removing content hosted by the ISP, not blocking access.

    Of course this is shutting the door after the horse etc.

    @ Paul

    The idea's nice but how many schools do you think would manage to give out the wrong paper ;-)

  15. Simon B
    Paris Hilton

    Try just keeping the questions more secure to start with!!!! pratts

    Pratts, I've a much simpler way. PROTECT the exam sheets better ffs!!! I.E. don;t leave them on a train/bus/car/open drawer/posted on a notice board blah blah blah ...

  16. Roger Heathcote

    Hello examiners...

    ...the 1950s called, they want their testing methodology back.

    IMHO this countries education system needs to be entirely destroyed and started again from scratch and many of the teachers I have met would agree with me. The exam boards are no different from any other lazy incumbent monopolies resisting all attempts at reform and improvement - kind of like the teachers unions.

    Something is deeply wrong when so much suffering is inflicted without virtually no positive results and where the most fascinating and awe inspiring knowledge about our world is imparted in such a way that it is perceived as boring. A radical rethink is needed.

  17. John Savard

    The Point?

    Yes, if you're not competent, you won't get anywhere. So there's no point for someone incompetent to pretend he is something he isn't. But if the number of spaces in an academic program is limited, so that not everyone who is competent is admitted, but only the best, then, of course there will be cheating, and cheaters will gain from it.

    The solution is to build more universities, so that everyone can get a university education who is competent enough to make use of one; and then reform our economy, so that the types of jobs available match more closely with the kinds of jobs people want - as long as they actually could do them competently.

    Right now, we have fierce competition for jobs because some jobs are in short supply, so instead of going to every competent applicant, they go only to the very best.

    Of course you can't have an army with more generals than privates, so the solution is to have the UK economy grow to many times its present size, and allowing immigration.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: John Savard

    "The solution is to build more universities"

    The solution is to only teach academic subjects at university, and then to repopularise work placements and HNDs.

    You should go to university if you want to go into research or academia. You should go to a medical college if you want to go into healthcare. For all other things you should be doing on-the-job training, supplemented with a part-time HND if appropriate.

  19. Dan

    Good luck with the takedowns.

    I foresee TPB making a new category: Exams.

    Or better yet, Let them steal the exam for you: Just post every question that could be on the exam on a UK ISP. The questions that get taken down are the ones on the exam.

  20. Neoc

    Simpler solution.

    It surprises me that this is their proposed solution when a better (and apparently working) solution has come (of all places) out of Hollywood.

    To deal with Scripts being leaked on the Internet, Movie studios started issuing individualised scripts - i.e., each script was essentially correct, but with subtle differences (that's plural - more than one) between each and every one. People who received the script were told they were not to distribute the script and would face termination and blacklisting if the script was leaked.

    After the first few "you're never working in this town again", scripts being leaked seems to have dropped to background levels.

    Which does not stop *detail* of the script leaking, of course, but for an exam paper, this should be sufficient.

  21. Rab S


    INCOMING TAKE COVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Also @neoc that could lead to questions changing could it not?

    It can already be a right pain to figure out not only the answer for teh question but what the questioner actually requires...

    I remember once asking do you want this full listing of files and dirs actually printed out? Answer yes...well we are gonna need to reams of printer paper then...they only wanted the root not the entire drive listed ;)

  22. Wortel


    "Of course, it's THEIR fault, not ours." Bigwig Nameless said, when questioned about document security and variations.

    Mind you it's the same here, it's always someone else's fault if something goes wrong with the exams. And when it goes wrong, the entire exam is invalidated and everyone has to come back to do it all over again with new exams.. so that's at least something of a penalty to abusers.

    Thing is it doesn't work. So they are pushing for us to use their 'digital' exam methods, which are so miserably programmed that it won't even run properly on a 3Ghz, 2GB quad-core. I'm really not kidding, the errors their programs display are nothing short of hilarious, complete with some miss-spelled animal names and 30-day trial license banners for some obscure programming framework.

    Easier and already common practise on many schools: Kill off all access to the Internet, email, group documents, etc. on student accounts, and completely forbid them from taking mobiles, ipods, programmable calculators, books and the likes into the exam rooms.

    All they need is a pen, pencil, eraser, and whatever the exam demands is present. Which is -very- little.

    Rest is handled by surveillance during the exam by at least 2 persons at the same time, which doesn't give the little brats any time to turn their heads and exchange notes. If you get caught trying to cheat anyway, you fail the entire exam and school year. Try explaining that one to the school board and your parents.

    ISPs should tell them to fsck off and get their act together.

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