SQA Examinations Unauthorised aids by cuiliqing



               21 April 2006

Dear Parent


I thought it might be helpful if I renewed the advice which the Scottish Qualifications Authority
asked Head Teachers to bring to the attention of all candidates last year. This advice covers:

      the rules surrounding the use of calculators in examinations and the total ban on taking
       mobile ‘phones, WAP telephones or other electronic communications devices into
       examinations rooms.

      the consequences of failing to adhere to these instructions.

There are matters that I shall address in assemblies in school.

In particular, I shall wish to point out to pupils SQA’s repeated emphasis on the fact that it is the
candidate who is responsible for ensuring that the type of calculator s/he is using is authorised
by SQA. Some advice on this matter is included in this letter, but pupils will also be able to seek
advice from their subject teachers.

Before the start of every examination, invigilators will remind candidates that no unauthorised
aid may be brought into the examination.

The following information, quoted directly from the SQA letter, will help you to ensure that your
son/daughter has the right calculator for appropriate examinations and will allow you to stress
the importance of careful preparation for each examination and of honesty in the conduct of the


Where the use of a calculator is permitted, it is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that the
calculator used does not contain inadmissible stored data or text.

Candidates found in possession of an unauthorised calculator will have their examination entry
for the exam being sat cancelled. An unauthorised calculator is defined as:

      A calculator with inadmissible facilities, e.g. a computer algebra system (CAS)

      A calculator which contains inadmissible data or text

      Any form of hand held computer, e.g. a personal digital assistant (PDA)
It is the responsibility of candidates to ensure that, when the use of calculators is permitted, the
model they take into the examination room does not incorporate any of these prohibited
features. All normal scientific calculators and graphic calculators up to and including T1 83
PLUS (or equivalent) are acceptable.

If it is suspected that a candidate has brought an unauthorised calculator into the examination
room, the Handbook for Invigilators advises that invigilators should contact a member of the
centre staff who should be asked to check this and if found to be unauthorised to take receipt of
the calculator. An approved calculator should be provided to the candidate and the Chief
Invigilator should submit a report to the SQA. This would be progressed under SQA’s
malpractice procedures.

Examinations where the use of calculators is permitted are as follows:

Administration (Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Higher Paper 2 only);

 Biology;                      Business Management;           Chemistry;

 Computing;                    Computing Studies;             Geography (Advanced Higher
 Graphic Communication;  Information Systems;

 Mathematics (Paper 2 only) Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Higher

 Mathematics Advanced Higher                                   Physics

Sharing of calculators is not permitted

Mobile ‘Phones

In no circumstances can mobile ‘phones or WAP telephones or any other
electronic communication devices be taken into the examination room.

Any candidate found in possession of such equipment or if having taken such equipment into
the room if it beeps or rings, will have their examination entry cancelled.

Other prohibited items

Personal electronic aids, pencil cases, calculator cases, books, notes, or paper of any kind are
classed as prohibited items. Candidates should be asked to give any of these items, which may
have been inadvertently brought into an examination room, to the invigilator for safekeeping until
after the examination.

Candidates will be told to place bags at the front of the examination room or in another
appropriate area.

I trust that you will find this information helpful in preventing a situation in which any of our
pupils, inadvertently or deliberately, takes into an examination room equipment that causes
him/her to lose his/her examination entry.

Yours sincerely

J.A. Docherty
Head Teacher

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