Policy and procedures on malpractice

Return to index

QCF 5.29 - 5.32


QCA ref: 7.1

  • The Learning Machine Ltd takes all instances of malpractice seriously at whatever level they occur. It is the policy of The Learning Machine to prevent malpractice from occurring in the first place by providing training, open documentation and an open discussion forum so that all candidates and assessors are familiar with the levels of expectations and procedures.
  • Some of the certificate criteria are concerned with issues of malpractice to help develop student understanding. It is the responsibility of the Principal Assessor in a Centre or Academy to ensure that any instance of malpractice comes to the Awarding Body's attention. Where suspected malpractice comes to the Awarding Body's attention it will be investigated to ascertain the facts around the case. The person or persons subject to investigation will be given the opportunity to defend themselves in a fair hearing.
  • As soon as there is a judgement that the issue of malpractice is serious, the Governing Body will be informed and if the level of concern is confirmed at Board level the Regulators will be informed.
  • In considering each case there will be two guiding principles.
  1. Has someone been given an award for which they are unable to demonstrate that they meet the criteria?
  2. Was an award given negligently with regard to the assessor application of the criteria for assessment?
  • If a certificate has been awarded to someone who can not demonstrate competence against the criteria, the award will be revoked and its record deleted from the database. The facility to verify the certificate will be suspended during any investigation.  Any paper certificates issued will be declared invalid and made impossible to authenticate against the database. Any that exist should be destroyed.
  • Any candidate having a certificate revoked will be provided with the opportunity of reassessment should they feel they are able to meet the criteria. If an assessor has awarded certificates in good faith but with inappropriate rigour they will be required to undergo a period of training at their own cost until such time as the awarding body is confident of their capability. The assessor trainer who granted assessor rights to the assessor will be investigated and also samples of work from any other assessors given assessor accounts by this assessor trainer. This is to ensure that the assessor trainer and all associated assessors are working satisfactorily to the published standards.
  • If after further training an assessor can not demonstrate the capability of assessing accurately to the criteria, s/he will have their assessor's rights revoked. If the assessor trainer of the assessor in question also demonstrates insufficient ability to operate as an assessor trainer s/he will have assessor trainer status revoked and then their operation as an assessor will be considered in the same way. The Awarding Body will make a judgement based on the extent of the malpractice as to whether the Centre or Academy will continue to be registered with the Awarding Body.
  • In cases of suspected malpractice the Awarding Body will place a moratorium on the Centre/Academy and its ability to award certificates until such time as the Awarding Body is sure that standards are secure. If the Centre/Academy has its registration revoked, it will be unable to register awards and all assessors will have their accounts terminated. Candidates that have certificates linked to these assessors will be transferred to the Chief Assessor's account so that their certificates can be maintained unless there is good evidence that the certificates are invalid.
  • There will be no refunds of any money to such Centres or Academies. If in the judgement of the Awarding Body a Centre or Academy is a cause for concern it will be placed under more intense scrutiny and a continuation might include mandatory additional training at the Centre/Academy's expense. If an assessor is judged to have taken actions to deliberately make invalid awards, they will be de-registered and ineligible to re-register for a period of at least 5 years. In serious cases they will be barred for life and the police informed. This would be highly unusual but might be appropriate, for example, where there was evidence of corruption such as the taking of bribes or similar financial reward in return for issuing invalid certificates. In any investigation, The AB will deal directly with the Principal Assessor and/or the Principal of the Centre/Academy.

Student malpractice

  • It is the primary responsibility of the assessor to ensure that the candidate meets all the criteria. This means that the assessor should be vigilant in ensuring that any evidence is work originated by the candidate. In many areas the assessment is by direct observation but where candidates have the option to work independently, eg in producing a BLOG to support L2 work, the assessors must warn candidates that the work must be their own and that they run the risk of disqualification if this is shown not to be the case. Students must declare that their work is their own and license it for others to use. Where a student submits any work where there is doubt about authenticity, the assessor should require the student to demonstrate capability in line with that of the required work and use this to make a judgement against the criteria.
  • Where there is absolute proof of candidates actively cheating, the work should be discounted, the AB Account Manager informed and the student banned from participating in the assessment process for 6 months. Such a candidate should subsequently be monitored closely and should they transgress again, they should be permanently excluded from the certification and their details submitted to the AB.
Examples of Malpractice

Principal Assessors and Assessor Trainers

  • Giving assessor status to people who can not assess appropriately to the criteria
  • Failure to adequately monitor the work of assessors
  • Failure to inform the AB about instances of malpractice
  • Failure to co-operate with those investigating allegations of malpractice
  • Failure to co-operate adequately with QA and moderation procedures


  • Failure to adequately ensure that the candidate fully meets the criteria before awarding a certificate
  • Failure to attend mandatory training required by the AB
  • Failure to keep passwords and account access secure
  • Failure to take the candidate's views of the candidate's competence into account
  • Failure to notify the AB of significant student malpractice
  • Failure to co-operate with internal quality assurance procedures
  • Failure to co-operate with the AB quality assurance procedures
  • Failure to keep up to date with notices from the AB on the web site
  • Failure to keep up to date and extend knowledge in the subject matter at a level appropriate to the certification being carried out.


  • Passing off the work of others as if it is their own
  • Failure to co-operate appropriately with assessors in quality assurance
  • Failure to work co-operatively with peers including giving and receiving help (Note that giving and receiving help is not the same as passing off the work of other as if it is your own. If the process of giving and receiving help enables the candidate to match the criteria self-sufficiently then it is to be encouraged.)
  • Any attempts to break into the AB web site or access restricted areas

Return to index