Find out more about what malpractice is and how to report it.

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What is malpractice?

Malpractice is any act, omission or practice that breaches our rules or compromises:

  • gives rise to prejudice to candidates; and/or
  • compromises public confidence in qualifications; and/or
  • compromises, attempts to compromise or may compromise the process of assessment,
  • the integrity of any qualification or the validity of a result or certificate; and/or
  • damages the authority, reputation or credibility of any awarding body or centre or any officer, employee or agent of any awarding body or centre.

Our rules include regulations we agree with other awarding organisations through the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), published policies and requirements set out in our qualification specifications.

  • Altering or falsifying results documents, including certificates
  • Copying from another learner or allowing work to be copied
  • Plagiarism
  • Bringing unauthorised material or instruments into an exam room or assessment
  • Failure to abide by the instructions of an invigilator or supervisor
  • Making inappropriate or offensive written comments in an exam or essay
  • Failing to register learners in a timely fashion
  • Registering learners who do not meet the minimum skill/qualification requirements for a qualification
  • Falsifying or fabricating learners’ marks, assessment evidence, observation records, certification claims or results documentation
  • Providing assistance to learners beyond that which is permitted by the specification, which results in a potential or actual advantage in an exam or assessment
  • Breaching the confidentiality of question papers or confidential assessment materials
  • Failing to report any instances of malpractice or suspected malpractice

When we can’t investigate

Sometimes students or parents contact us because they're unhappy with a decision that’s been made by one of our approved centres. Unless this decision involves malpractice, as explained above, you’ll need to give them an opportunity to respond to your concerns before we can get involved.

If you've exhausted the internal complaints process at your school, college or learning provider and you need advice on what to do next, visit our feedback and complaints page.

How to report suspected malpractice

Students and parents

To report suspected malpractice by learners or staff at a Pearson approved school, college or learning provider, email with as much detail as possible.

Pearson centres

If you're a Pearson approved school, college or learning provider, find out more about malpractice and how to report it.

More details regarding malpractice and we investigate it can be found in the JCQ Suspected Malpractice Policies and Procedures.

Confidentiality and anonymity

The outcome of any investigation will be confidential between Pearson and our schools, colleges and learning providers. This means that although we can let students and parents know when an investigation has been completed, we won’t be able to provide any information on what action we’ve taken.

We understand that you may wish to remain anonymous when reporting suspected malpractice. We take confidentiality very seriously and we’ll always ask you for consent before revealing your identity to other parties unless we're legally obliged to do so. However, when we share information about your allegations with the relevant people, it may be possible for them to work out your identity.

Find out more about confidentiality for centre staff reporting centre malpractice