Plymouth University thought they were stopping cheaters by posting signs to let their students know that cheating wouldn’t be tolerated during exams, but the signs they posted wound up featuring math formulas that students could use to cheat.
The signs, featuring stock images, showed a hand with math formulas written on it, but little did they know, the formulas could have been used by students to answer questions on exams.
The university didn’t realize that the signs could have helped students cheat until one student posted a picture of it online just after taking a math exam.
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“Just took a maths [sic] final with this on the wall of the exam room. It has formulas [sic] on that were needed in the exam,” wrote the student with the picture. “The poster got me an extra 10 per cent on the paper.”
After they realized their mistake, the university released a statement about the situation.
“The posters used to remind students of the dangers of cheating contained official stock imagery, which included genuine mathematical formulae,” said the university. “They were located in the exam hall at a distance where the individual formulae would not have been observable by any student taking their exam. Furthermore, the poster was located outside of the exam hall, and would therefore be of limited use to anyone prior to their sitting the exam. In light of the concerns raised, however, the University has replaced the posters.”