Cambridge English Malpractice Procedure
The Cambridge English Language Assessment Malpractice Procedure deals with cases of suspected irregular conduct.
Irregular conduct is any action which gives or aims to give unfair advantage to a candidate or causes disadvantage to other candidates. The Notice to Candidates, which is displayed outside all examination rooms, warns candidates of the consequences of such actions.
Examples of malpractice include:
- obtaining unauthorised access to examination material
- using or trying to use unauthorised material, e.g. notes, study guides, mobile phones
- copying/collusion or attempted copying/collusion
- disruptive behaviour or not following the instructions of an invigilator, supervisor or Centre Exams Manager, e.g. not switching off mobile phones
- impersonation (pretending to be someone else)
- altering any results document, including certificates.
Cases of suspected malpractice may be reported:
- by the centre, e.g. a report from an invigilator
- by an examiner, e.g. unusual incorrect answers, shared by candidates who were sitting next to each other
- by statistical analysis of candidates' answer sheets
- via an application for Special Consideration, e.g. where a mobile phone has disturbed a group of candidates.
The Procedure usually has two stages. However, if all the information needed is not available at Stage Two, a Stage Three meeting may also be required:
Stage One Malpractice Committee meeting
The Malpractice Committee looks at all available evidence in relation to the case (e.g. seating plans, question papers and answer sheets). If the Committee feels that there is no case to answer, it recommends that the candidate's results are released.
If the Committee decides that further investigation is needed, it recommends that the candidate's results are withheld. This means that no final result or certificate is issued at this stage.
If results are withheld, the centre informs the candidate, and asks them to give a statement. This statement is returned to Cambridge English, together with any other information requested.
Stage Two Malpractice Committee meeting
The Malpractice Committee looks at the case again, taking into account the candidate statement and any other additional information. After carefully considering all the evidence, the Committee recommends whether the candidate's result should be released or permanently withheld. The centre is then asked to inform the candidate.
If it is decided that a candidate's results can be released, the original results will be issued, unchanged. If it is decided that the results should be permanently withheld, the candidate will not receive a result. However, the candidate can enter for another Cambridge English Language Assessment examination in the future.
This procedure is designed to ensure that all decisions are consistent, fair and based on the fullest information available. We usually aim to complete the investigation of malpractice cases within 12 weeks.
There is an appeals procedure for candidates who wish to appeal against a malpractice decision. Information about the appeals procedure can be found on the enquiries and appeals page, or obtained from the centre.
If you would like information or advice, please first contact your Cambridge English Language Assessment Centre Exams Manager/IELTS Administrator.
For further information or advice about Special Circumstances please contact the Cambridge English Helpdesk team.