26 July 2023
We understand how important the integrity and high standing of our qualifications are to our members and employers. To safeguard the reputation of our qualifications, we take the integrity of our exams and guarding against inappropriate conduct very seriously.
We updated our Assessment Regulations to reflect our online, open book exam environment and have produced clear guidance on inappropriate conduct and plagiarism in exams. We have measures in place to prevent inappropriate exam conduct, including two-factor authentication and exam question review.
We have several methods for identifying possible breaches of IFoA Assessment Regulations. These include use of software, exam markers highlighting concerns,
whistleblowing, and carrying out a review of every exam script to detect potential inappropriate exam conduct.
April 2023 exam session
During our April 2023 exam session, we reviewed over 12,500 exam scripts. Following the exam script review process, 1% of the exam scripts were referred for further investigation. Each possible breach of our Assessment Regulations was reviewed by IFoA executive staff, including education actuaries, along with examiners. If, after review, inappropriate conduct was still suspected, candidates were notified and invited to respond, before all the information in each case was referred to a panel for consideration.
Panel members undertake an independent review of each exam script and all evidence submitted, before meeting and working through all of the cases to ensure a fair outcome.
Following a robust review process, investigation outcomes for the 1% of exam scripts referred for further investigation in our April 2023 exam session, were:
- 38% of cases flagged for further investigation for plagiarism were confirmed to contain plagiarised material, and
- 62% of cases flagged for further investigation for collusion were confirmed as including collusive behaviour.
These outcomes range from a formal warning through to a 24 month exam booking ban, depending on the severity of the breach of our Assessment Regulations.
As candidates become more confident in the open book, online exam environment, we continue to see an encouraging downward trend in the number of scripts that require further investigation by the panel. The percentage of total exam scripts flagged for further investigation during recent exam sessions are:
• around 2% in September 2021 and April 2022, and
• around 1% in September 2022 and April 2023.
While this is encouraging, some candidates have reported that they are unfamiliar with the regulations and guidance around avoiding inappropriate conduct. We encourage candidates to read our Assessment Regulations and Exams Handbook, and our online guidance on inappropriate conduct before each exam session, to ensure they are aware of how to avoid inappropriate exam conduct.
Visit our inappropriate exam conduct web page.