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A leaving cert answer booklet Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
leaving cert 2013

Fifty students suspected of cheating in the Leaving Cert this year

The exam scripts were held back with a further 25 ‘provisionally withheld pending communication’ with students.

Updated 22.50pm

UpdateTHE RESULTS OF fifty Leaving Certificate examinations have been withheld over cheating suspicions. A further 25 results are being provisionally held back from the State Examination Commission (SEC) pending further communication with the school and students concerned.

The SEC state that cases of cheating can be highlighted in a number of ways, such as:

An examiner detecting similar work from more than one candidate when correcting work from the same centre; while marking an examination script, an examiner may discover memorandum, notes or paper brought in by a candidate in an attempt to gain an advantage in the examination or an examination superintendent may detect a candidate using prohibited items such as books, mobile phones or attempting to contact another candidate in the centre.

When incidences like this occur, the superintendent must submit a report to the SEC.


The SEC state that 67 papers were withheld in 2011 and 75 in 2012, but that every effort is made by the SEC to investigate the events prior to the issue of the examination results, but they said that this is not always possible to do.

“In these circumstances results are withheld without prejudice and pending further communication with the schools and candidates concerned,” they said.

The SEC is charged with responsibility of ensuring that the rules and regulations of state examinations are met. They state that “it is essential in order to uphold the integrity of the Irish examinations system and to underpin equity and fairness within the system in order to enable all candidates to display their achievements on an equal footing”.

They added that “any incidence of suspected copying, improper assistance from another party, plagiarism or procurement of pieces prepared by another party are thoroughly investigated by the SEC and the candidate is liable to have penalties imposed as provided for in the Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools”.

The rules

The state examination rules on cheating and inappropriate behaviour are very clear. They state:

A candidate may be expelled from the examination hall if his/her behaviour is such as to jeopardise the successful conduct of the examination. Submission of material of a pornographic nature or any other offensive material or the inclusion of any cash/cheque in the script may result in the examination in all subjects being disallowed.

In the case of cheating, the rules state:

Where the Commission is of the opinion that any candidate has violated any of these rules… the Commission may think fit from any sum payable in respect of any grant or scholarship obtained by the candidate, according to the opinion which the Commission may form of the gravity of the offence.

The Commission may, if the Commission thinks fit, publish the candidate’s name and address, as given in the notice of intention to present for examination, as those of a candidate who has been so deprived and the Commission may, according to the opinion of the Commission as to the gravity of the offence, debar the candidate from entering for any of the examinations run by the State Examinations Commission for such period as the Commission may determine.

Column: The Leaving Cert poorly prepares students for the realities they now face>

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