Number of incidents of malpractice for GCSE, AS and A level in the summer exam series.


Data tables for Malpractice for GCSE, AS and A level: summer 2020 exam series

Ref: Ofqual/20/6727MS Excel Spreadsheet, 54.4KB

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Background Information for Malpractice for GCSE, AS and A level: summer 2020 exam series


Pre-release access list for Malpractice in GCSE, AS and A level: summer 2020 exam series



Due to the cancellation of exams in summer 2020, many of the more common instances of malpractice, such as taking unauthorised material into an examination, could not happen this year. As a result, the number of penalties issued by exam boards for malpractice cases has been very small. As a full analysis and description of these very small numbers would not have been meaningful, we are instead presenting a summary of main trends for this statistical release. However, a detailed breakdown of the figures is available in the accompanying data tables.

Main trends

The main trends in malpractice in GCSE, AS and A level for the summer 2020 exam series were:

  1. There were 20 penalties issued to students in 2020, down from 3,040 in 2019, representing a very small proportion of the 15,901,075 total entries this year.
  2. There were 15 penalties issued to school or college staff in 2020, down from 430 in 2019. This involves a very small proportion of the total number of staff in England (nearly 350,000 in state-funded secondary schools alone).
  3. There were 15 penalties issued to schools or colleges in 2020, down from 135 in 2019, involving less than 0.003% of centres.

New categories of penalty and offence were introduced in 2020, to capture malpractice cases related to the centre assessment grade process put in place due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These new categories were bias or discrimination, and negligence (types of offences), and referral to Teaching Regulation Agency (type of penalty). Of these, some cases of bias or discrimination were reported, but all of these cases were still ongoing at the time of data being submitted to Ofqual and may not lead to a penalty being imposed. As such, they are not included in the numbers of penalties reported above or in the data tables.

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Published 17 December 2020