Thousands Of UK Students May Have Been Wrongly Accused Of Cheating In English Test Required for Visa Extension

2 years ago



As told by the Guardian, about 2,500 students "have been forcibly removed from the UK" after being accused of cheating in the exam. Students were required to take the English language test as part of a visa application process. 7,200 more students had to leave the country after warnings they'd face detention and removal if they chose to stay. Students protested, and some 12,500 appeals have been heard in UK courts. At the moment, only 3,600 people have won their appeals. The Typical Student team learned more about the incident. 


Wrongly Accused Of Cheating?




According to the results of the National Audit Office investigation, some students "may have been wrongly accused and unfairly removed from the UK." Still, it's quite difficult to estimate the scale of cheating and the number of people who have been mistakenly accused. This is partly due to "the quality of evidence used to determine who cheated and the data kept by the Home Office on action taken against individuals."


Is This The First Time? 



Sadly, this isn't the first time an incident like this takes place. In 2014, cheating schemes were uncovered in two of the 90 Home Office-approved centers providing the exam required for visa extensions. Back then, the UK government turned f to the US-based Educational Testing Service (ETS) for help. The assessment showed that nearly each of the 58,459 tests taken between 2011 -  2014 was suspicious. The Home Office responded by suspending the licenses of some test centers and annulled the visas of the individuals accused of cheating. At told by the Guardian, "ETS had identified 97% of all UK tests as “suspicious”; it classified 58% of as “invalid” and 39% as “questionable”."

Later on, NAO researchers discovered errors in the ETS reports. Turns out, the company had wrongly categorized 6,000 individuals taking the test as British nationals. Also, “the department did not carry out any independent checking or testing of the data, trusting that ETS had correctly categorized individuals as having invalid or questionable results,” the study added.

 Stephen Timms, the Labour MP commented on the situation “Thousands have been unfairly penalized, with catastrophic consequences for many. The home secretary has promised an oral statement to Parliament about this scandal. He must now give those affected, who remain in the UK, a chance to clear their names – for example, by offering them a fresh English test.”



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