The BBC is reporting that teachers have complained about “cheating watches” being sold online to give students an unfair advantage in exams.
These digital watches include an “emergency button” to quickly switch from hidden text to a clock face.
The watches hold data or written information which can be read in exams.
But a deputy head from Bath has warned about the scale of this “hidden market” and says it could tempt stressed students into cheating.
Watches are advertised on Amazon with the claim that they are “specifically designed for cheating on exams”.
One model promises 4GB of electronic storage for text files or images, to be read on the screen of the watch.
If the “emergency button” is pressed, the other buttons on the watch are disabled, as the watch switches to a conventional digital clock face.
This “watch for easier studying” is also marketed as being compatible with a mini wireless earpiece…
Smart watches or digital watches with concealed content would be covered by rules banning electronic devices from exam halls, such as mobile phones or any other computer technology.
But Joe Sidders, deputy head at Monkton Combe Senior School in Bath, has contacted the BBC to warn that the rise of small wearable devices risks becoming a “nightmare to administer”.
“I expect the hidden market for these sorts of devices is significant, and this offering on Amazon is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
The deputy head says that it is irresponsible to try to sell such items to under-pressure pupils, who might get caught and disqualified from all their exams.
He wants exam boards to take a tough line on this – and to challenge businesses making such devices available.
And he raises concerns that if such devices were in wide circulation it would call into question the validity of results.
There is a model on Amazon on sale in the US for $61 (£43) which can be shipped to Europe. It is also advertised in the UK but described as currently unavailable…
More at: ‘Cheating watches’ warning for exams
Were you aware of the presence of these “cheating watches” and do you agree with Joe Sidders about the impact they could have?
Do all schools need to ban all non-analogue watches from exams by default (or even just all watches to make it easier)?
Please give us your reactions and suggestions in the comments or via Twitter…
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