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RFID Being Deployed to Fight Exam Cheaters

Edexcel, one of the UK's five leading examination boards, has turned to RFID to combat cheating, counterfeiting, and other misuse of its examination materials. The company announced today that it will tag packages of exam materials due to ship this summer to schools and institutions around the country.
May 11, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 11, 2007—Edexcel, one of the UK's five leading examination boards that issues student exams and qualifications, has turned to RFID to combat cheating, counterfeiting, and other misuse of its examination materials. The company announced today that it will tag packages of exam materials due to ship this summer to schools and institutions around the country.

"We're doing a major trial of new techniques and technologies with the aim of deterring potential thefts, enabling us to better identify the source of a lost or stolen paper, and reducing the threat of fake papers being sold to candidates," said Edexcel managing director Jerry Jarvis.

As a proportion of the total number of exam packages sent every year, the incidence of what the company calls "security breaches" is quite small. Last year, for example, 620,000 packages were sent for a summer series of examinations, and there were roughly 70 reports of suspected security breaches. But Jarvis notes that a single confirmed breach can have expensive consequences as the company is forced to conduct what essentially amounts to a product recall. "Incidents involving stolen papers are extremely rare, but the potential impact is massive. The logistics of re-issuing an alternative paper to schools and colleges around the country and re-training markers on the new paper are complicated, costly, and could ultimately be detrimental to candidates," explained Jarvis.

The RFID initiative will see a "significant number" of this summer's packages tagged. Those packages will initially be scanned at shipment. Upon delivery at the destination school or institution, a tagged package may be scanned again by the dedicated Edexcel compliance team to compare what the contents of the package should be and what they actually are. Any discrepancy would constitute a potential breach, triggering an investigation by the compliance team. The company also considers packages that are opened prior to a designated date to be breached.

Read the announcement from Edexcel
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