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Edexcel selects RFID to enhance security

Antony Savvas

UK exam body Edexcel is to roll out Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and micro-texting technology this summer to increase the security of the examinations process.

The technology will be used to help prevent the theft and resale of exam papers and to catch the cheats.

Edexcel said “a significant number” of exam packages (bags) will contain an RFID tag.  It said Exam packages would be scanned out on despatch and can be scanned by Edexcel’s compliance team at any time after delivery to identify the contents and ensure no papers are missing.

In addition to RFID, Edexcel will use micro-texting technology. This is a printing technique that shows up illegally photocopied exam papers. Tiny marks on an original copy would now show up on a photocopy.

Of the 620,000 bags of examination papers despatched by Edexcel during the summer 2006 series, there were around 70 reports of security breaches.

Suspected breaches of security include examinations packages being opened prior to their designated date.

Jerry Jarvis, Edexcel managing director, said, “We are doing a major trial of new techniques and technologies with the aim of deterring potential thefts, enabling us to better identify the source of a lost or stolen paper, and reducing the threat of fake papers being sold to candidates.”

Edexcel’s existing security measures include using secure bags that are identifiable as “void” once opened, and track and trace despatch/delivery methods.

Edexcel website >>

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