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:

  • the process of internal and external assessments
  • the integrity of Pearson qualifications
  • the validity of results or qualifications
  • the reputation and credibility of Pearson.

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.

Malpractice includes maladministration, which is any act, omission or practice that results in a school, college, learning provider or learner failing to comply with our administrative regulations and requirements. Malpractice and maladministration can be deliberate or the result of negligence.

  • Altering or falsifying results documents, including certificates
  • Copying from another learner or allowing work to be copied
  • Plagiarism of any nature
  • Bringing unauthorised material or instruments into an examination room or assessment
  • Failure to abide by the instructions of an invigilator or supervisor
  • Making inappropriate or offensive written comments in an examination or test
  • Providing Pearson with incorrect information during the centre or qualification approval process
  • Failing to register genuine learners or registering learners who do not exist with the intention of financial gain
  • 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 examination or assessment
  • Breaching the confidentiality of question papers, materials or learners’ scripts
  • 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 schools, colleges or learning providers. 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 pqsmalpractice@pearson.com 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 here.

More examples of malpractice and information on how we investigate suspected malpractice

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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 (whistleblowing)

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