Digital watches used to cheat in exams are being sold online, prompting teachers to complain and call on students to avoid using them.
These watches, which have product descriptions explaining they are “specifically designed for cheating on exams”, are part of a fairly unknown, hidden market, and there are fears that students feeling under pressure may feel tempted to try and use one during exams.
They work by allowing people to store images or text files onto the watch, which can then be viewed on the screen. They include an ’emergency’ button, which quickly switches the screen mode to display a clock face instead of the information they have stored on the watch.
Under current rules, electronic devices such as phones are banned from exam halls, and the rules would also encompass digital and smart watches.
One model claims to provide 4Gb of memory storage, and if the ’emergency’ button is pressed, it reportedly shuts off all other buttons and shows the time only, to try and fool the exam moderators keeping an eye on the students.
Schools should clearly inform their students which items are banned from their exam halls, and which items are permitted, the Joint Council for Qualifications stated, as they spoke on behalf of the exam boards:
“A candidate found in possession of anything used for cheating – like these watches – would be reported to the awarding organisation whose examination was affected. This could result in the student being disqualified from the exam and the overall qualification.”
Calls have been made for exam boards to toughen their stance further, in response to the rise of cheating watches, and also for any businesses selling such items to be challenged, in an effort to promote fairness in exams.