At an education forum in Sydney, the board said in a report that the involvement of parents and tutors in assignments must be addressed especially as the stakes are so high in terms of HSC grades.
The 50/50 split of exams and assessments; some of which are completed in school and others at home; is a fairly standard policy not only in most Australian states but also in other countries.
However students, teachers and education bodies have all expressed concern about the potential for students to cheat on home-based assignments. The situation has been exacerbated by students’ easy access to the internet.
The Board’s president Tom Alegounarias told The Australian
that he had no problem with parents helping their children to learn but that “the challenge for us is to have a sophisticated project-based approach that assesses the kids, not the family.”
Helping children cheat at school is, of course, not new. Nor is it consigned to Australia. Earlier this year footage emerged
of parents in India risking their lives by scaling school walls in order to pass notes to children sitting exams! The incident led to the expulsion of more than 600 pupils at the Vidya Niketan School in Bahir.
While things have not got to that stage in Australia the impact of cheating cannot be underestimated. It has the potential to undermine the credibility of the HSC both domestically and worldwide if a solution cannot be found.
Among the measures that may help to discourage cheating is the introduction of minimum standards of literacy and numeracy in order to gain a school-leaving certificate. Australian Council for Educational Research chief executive Geoff Masters has urged all states and territories to follow the lead of Western Australia in introducing the standard.
Parents and tutors are helping some school students to cheat in assignments according to the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards.