Leaving cert exam ‘not compromised’ after paper appears online

14 Jun 2017

Image: Chinnapong/Shutterstock

This year’s Irish Leaving Certificate saw a confusing security concern develop after exam papers emerged online.

The Leaving Cert is the bane of many an Irish child and parent, with countless hours going into rote learning.

Compromising the exams, so, is a real no-no.

Leaving Cert

Sharing community

Yesterday morning (13 June), when the second Irish higher-level paper was sat, the exam was posted online in a Facebook forum used by teachers.

According to RTÉ, the forum has more than 3,000 members and was closed to the public. However, as with anything online, sharing content far and wide is never that hard.

Thankfully for the State Examinations Commission (SEC), it was apparently posted shortly after 10am, when the students would have already entered their exam halls.

Nevertheless, the SEC subsequently sent out a message to supervisors, reminding them of their obligations. Security and confidentiality are, quite clearly, key.

“Any candidate who leaves the examination before the scheduled completion time must return the examination paper to you. Examination papers must not be released from the centre for any other reason (eg to the staff room),” says the message, seen by the state broadcaster.

The SEC said it was satisfied that the release of the paper had not compromised the integrity of the exam.

Going digital

The relationship between exams and technology is nothing new.

For example, earlier this month, an AI system took two entrance exams for a Chengdu-based university in China’s Sichuan province.

In the first exam, AI-Maths – developed by Zhunxingyunxue Technology in 2014 – was tasked with answering 150 maths questions alongside students who were expected to finish the exam in a period of two hours.

As it turned out, AI-Maths was more than up for the challenge, managing to score 105 out of 150 in just 22 minutes. Over the course of a further 10 minutes, on a second version of the test, it achieved a score of 100 while a panel of judges watched on.

By comparison, the average score achieved by Beijing liberal arts students last year was 109.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic