Schools counting on anti-plagiarism software to catch out cheats

What a sad sign of the times (pun alert) according to this article in The Times (see what I did there) as they report that Schools are buying sophisticated computer software to catch pupils who cheat when doing their coursework by cutting and pasting previously published work.

At least ‘in my day’ we had to sit in a library and copy it out long hand which gave you a fighting chance of adding your own flavour!

Universities routinely use plagiarism-detection programs to identify essays or dissertations that include passages lifted from articles or books published online, but some school teachers are now finding it necessary to do the same.

Turnitin, a company specialising in “originality checking”, whose programs are used by universities across the world, said that schools and colleges in England were a fast-growing market. It sells its software to 130 schools and more than 200 colleges. Although the program is designed to detect cheating, the company says that some teachers use it to prepare sixth-form students for university.

I have no idea at all about how the exam system works these days, but I do agree with Ofqual who say that the coursework is the weakest link in the exam system, and it is positive (in my view) that coursework has been radically scaled back or removed from many of the redesigned GCSEs and A levels, which are to be introduced in schools from 2015 and 2016 in a return to high stakes end-of-course exams.

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