Yr 12s docked  exam marks
testing times: Year 12s students must follow WACE rules. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

Nearly 60 Year 12 students were punished for cheating or breaking exam rules in last year's WA Certificate of Education exams, more than double the 22 picked up the previous year.

School Curriculum and Standards Authority figures released yesterday reveal 56 students breached exam rules, including 12 who lost up to 100 per cent of their marks for plagiarism or not correctly referencing work.

Another 35 had between 2 and 5 per cent of their marks docked for failing to follow instructions, including revealing their name or their school on portfolios submitted for assessment in visual arts or media assignments.

Three lost between 5 and 100 per cent of marks for taking written notes into an exam and six were penalised up to 5 per cent for having a mobile phone or iPod.

The authority warned schools that teachers should be more careful when signing a "declaration of authenticity" form confirming that work was the student's own.

"All but 14 of the breaches were for practical examinations," it said in a circular to schools.

"The breaches indicated that teachers were not following the practical examination requirements sent to schools in March and that students were not informed of these requirements, nor had they followed the instructions written in the Year 12 information handbook."

SCSA chief executive Allan Blagaich said students were told the requirements and must expect to lose marks if the rules were not followed. He said last year a significant number of students submitted portfolios that did not include appropriate referencing or acknowledgment of sources, which was plagiarism.

Students could only be identified by their student number to ensure fairness in marking.

The authority's committee for breach of examination rules also gave notice that penalties would increase this year for taking mobile devices into an exam.

Mr Blagaich said these devices were increasingly versatile and students could use them to access the internet to answer questions.

The West Australian

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