Examinations: The role of the roving invigilator

Written by: Jugjit Chima | Published:
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A key change this year is the role of the roving invigilator when candidates are sitting one-to-one exams. Jugjit Chima explains

One of the more significant changes in the Joint Council for Qualification’s (JCQ) Instructions for Conducting Examinations guidance for the 2016/17 academic year is the requirement for a roving invigilator to be utilised where a candidate is sitting an examination on a one-to-one basis and the invigilator is additionally acting as a practical assistant, a reader and/or a scribe.

Many centres are unaware that a roving invigilator is performing more than a mere cursory check on the examination room and the candidate and the adult present in the room acting as a reader, scribe or practical assistant. In fact, the role of the roving invigilator is to enter the examination room and observe the conduct of the invigilator.

The roving invigilator must enter the room on a regular basis to ensure that the invigilator is abiding by the published rules when facilitating the particular access arrangement(s) and additionally acting as a practical assistant, a reader and/or a scribe. The roving invigilator must remain in the examination room for a sufficient amount of time to observe the conduct between the invigilator and the candidate, and be satisfied that the relevant access arrangement is being applied in accordance with JCQ’s regulations.

Why has the use of a roving invigilator been introduced? In short, as every exams officer is aware, one of the key principles in the conducting of examinations is to ensure that there is “a level playing field”. This must exist for each candidate taking the examination, with no one individual advantaged, or disadvantaged, over another, and in each and every examination room.

Therefore, to ensure that this consistency exists in every room in every centre, and to maintain confidence within the system and the integrity of the examination, centres must guarantee that where candidates are taking an examination on a one-to-one basis and the invigilator is additionally acting as a practical assistant, a reader and/or a scribe, the relevant access arrangement is being administered correctly.

Quite simply, centres must have confirmation that the practical assistant, reader or scribe is adhering to the rules as stipulated in JCQ’s Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments 2016-17 guidance and applying the access arrangement appropriately.
Head of centre, senior leaders and exams officers must ensure examination regulations are being followed in every room when examinations are taking place in their centre.

Exams officers and SENCOs have a responsibility, through training, or an update, to ensure that invigilators are briefed on the role of the roving invigilator. Those invigilators acting as a practical assistant, a reader and/or a scribe in an exam room on a one-to-one basis with a candidate should also understand how and why these checks will take place.

To ensure that the roving invigilator is fully aware of what is expected of them, all invigilators should be trained on the role of a practical assistant, reader or scribe. Centres may utilise the following from the JCQ Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments guidance to support their training sessions:

  • The role of a reader: p39 and appendix 3 (p102).
  • The role of a scribe: p52 and appendix 4 (p103).
  • The role of a practical assistant: p66.

It is also necessary for those acting as readers, scribes and practical assistants to be clear as to the support they can offer candidates with a particular access arrangement. If inappropriate support – over and beyond as stipulated for a particular access arrangement – is given to a candidate then this should be reported as malpractice.

It should also be stated that roving invigilators may identify situations when a candidate is not being given sufficient support, and therefore, where a reader, scribe or practical assistant is disadvantaging a candidate.

As for good practice, I would offer the following advice to roving invigilators:

  • Enter the exam room as quietly and unobtrusively as possible to avoid disturbing the candidate and record the time of each check on a checklist.
  • Observe the conduct of the exam for sufficient time to allow you to confirm the rules for the use of a practical assistant, a reader and/or a scribe are being adhered to; if you have concerns continue to observe for a longer period.
  • Do not make any comment or converse with the invigilator or the candidate in any way.
  • Leave the room as quietly and unobtrusively as possible.
  • On your checklist, record confirmation of adherence to the rules or an issue or concern with further details which should be reported to the exams officer.
  • If malpractice is identified, record this on the checklist and report it immediately to the exams officer.
  • The introduction of checks and balances in the conducting of examinations, as provided by roving invigilators, helps to maintain the integrity of our examination system.

It is such rigour which plays an important part in ensuring that our qualifications are respected around the world, and explains why the rules and regulations as defined by JCQ are utilised by schools as good practice beyond these shores.

  • Jugjit Chima is one of the founders of The Exams Office, an online support tool for exams officers. Visit www.theexamsoffice.org. You can read Jugjit’s previous articles for SecEd via http://bit.ly/2elLbrr

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