IB faces ‘Time Zone cheating’ in Maths papers

IB faces 'Time Zone cheating' in Maths papers

IB faces 'Time Zone cheating' in Maths papers

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The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) encountered an unprecedented challenge last week with instances of ‘time zone cheating’ during its mathematics tests. Students in one time zone reportedly memorized questions and shared them on social media platforms after completing their exams, potentially aiding students in other time zones who had yet to take the tests.

IBDP question papers, unlike those of other examination boards, are not allowed to be taken home, making it harder to detect and prevent leaks. While the IB board has acknowledged the situation, it has not disclosed the country of origin for the leak. 

However, some school principals in Mumbai suspect that the contents of the papers were uploaded from Turkey. The time difference implies that students in certain regions, such as India, were less likely to benefit, whereas those in Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe, and the Americas might have had an advantage.

This incident marks the first instance of a ‘paper leak’ in the history of the Switzerland-based board, which has stringent policies against academic malpractice. Despite addressing issues like plagiarism and ghostwriting, ‘time zone cheating’ had not been previously anticipated.

The IB exams began on April 24, with the two-hour maths tests conducted on May 1 and 2. The leak was discovered on May 3, prompting the board to launch a formal investigation. Those found guilty of involvement in the ‘time zone cheating’ may face severe consequences, including no marks for the affected subjects, disqualification from receiving the diploma, and being barred from future exams.

Despite calls from some parents and students for exam cancellation, the board maintains confidence in the overall integrity of the exam session and intends to proceed with the scheduled examinations. The IB education system, renowned worldwide, operates in over 160 countries, offering rigorous academic programs across thousands of schools.

The upcoming maths papers are scheduled for Monday afternoon. While parents in Mumbai were largely unaware of the incident, students were informed about the matter. Concerns have been raised regarding the security of question papers at the school level, unlike in other systems where papers are stored in banks or delivered on exam day.