Academic Misconduct/Security of the MRCP(UK) Examination
Monitoring Candidate Behaviour
Candidates have been advised previously that the MRCP(UK) Management Board have employed various systems to identify those candidates who attempt to copy, collude or perform some other act that may be regarded as academic misconduct in MRCP(UK) Examinations. Set out below is an update on the system that is currently in use and an explanation of what the Colleges intend to do with the information they collect.
Anomaly Monitoring System
The Anomaly Monitoring System (AMS) system seeks to detect instances of copying or collusion by looking for anomalous patterns of responses by candidates, the answers of one candidate being more similar to those of another candidate than would be expected by chance alone. It does this by looking at the similarity in the pattern of answers given by any two candidates. There are many different combinations of answers by which candidates can achieve a particular score. If two candidates have an unusually high number of exactly the same answers then this may be regarded as an anomaly. AMS systematically considers all possible pairs of candidates and looks at the similarity of their answers. In comparing candidate responses, the programme takes into account the expected number of answers in common, relative to the examinees' performance on the assessment. In doing this candidates should note:
- The programme does not know the centre at which candidates are sitting the exam.
- The programme does not know the seating plan of the candidates at the various centres.
The programme is therefore inherently conservative in its detection of anomalous candidates. If a pair (or group) of candidates is identified as having an unusually high proportion of similar answers then a further investigation is carried out looking at the centres where the candidates sat, the seating plan and any other information that may be provided by the invigilators and staff administering the exam. Should it be determined that there is sufficient evidence of possible misconduct, then the candidate(s) concerned will be contacted and the formal MRCP(UK) Academic and Professional Misconduct procedures may be invoked.
MRCP(UK) Management Board is fully aware that candidates could be implicated in an act of academic misconduct through the conduct of others. In order to avoid such allegations being levied, where there is no evidence confirming which of the candidates is the guilty party, both candidates will be informed that they have been identified by the programme and may be requested to sit separately from other candidates in future. There will be no assumption of guilt in making this request as it is simply a pre-emptive measure.
AMS is one tool that the MRCP(UK) Management Board intends to use to monitor candidate behaviour in the MRCP(UK) Examinations. Further information is available from the MRCP(UK) Central Office.