Dr Janet Brown, chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), said evidence had emerged of a growing number of cases of teacher malpractice during the 2017/18 exam diet.
The SQA said it was too early to provide figures, but confirmed there was an increase on last year when there were 108 allegations of malpractice, 51 of which were proven. In 2016 there were just 18 proven cases.
Typical cases involve pupils being provided with model answers, teachers giving too much feedback on work to be assessed or submitting false marks.
The situation has arisen after the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence which placed less of an emphasis on the final exam in qualifications such as National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher. National 4 is entirely assessed on coursework.
An over-reliance on final exams is seen as counterproductive because it encourages rote-learning and may not reflect how well a pupil performs throughout the school year. However, it means coursework supervised by teachers now counts towards more of the final mark.
Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union, said deliberate malpractice was unacceptable, but blamed the SQA for poor communications on what was acceptable.
He said: “There have been numerous changes to assessment requirements over the past few years and teachers have complained consistently about confused and sometimes contradictory guidance from the SQA, poor levels of support generally, an absence of exemplification and weak communications.”
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