Anti-Cheating Drone Now Used In ‘Gaokao,’ Chinese College-Entrance Exams
If students want to cheat their way through one of China’s most difficult exams, they’ll now need to thwart a patrolling drone. The National Higher Education Entrance Exam, known as “gaokao,” is held each year and determines whether youngsters will get into the top universities. It’s been described as the “world’s toughest exam” and can be stressful, even traumatic for students trying to achieve higher grades.
Some entrants, ingeniously, try to cheat by capturing their test questions and sending them to someone on the outside, before receiving the answers via an earpiece.
Unsurprisingly, China wants to crack down on the practise, so one province is now using a drone to monitor radio activity. When a disturbance is detected, it can alert the invigilators and help determine the culprit’s location. The penalties for cheating are fierce, so authorities are hoping the threat alone will be enough to encourage would-be cheaters to spend their free time cramming instead.
Cheaters can be quite ingenious. In past years, on lesser exams, Chinese police confiscated a pen with a hidden camera, a rigged coin that triggers a scanner hidden inside glasses and a tank top with microphone and earpiece.
“If you have time to make those earphones, why not put the time into studying?” 17-year-old Kang Zi Feng said.
He and 18-year-old Zhang Pu Zheng just finished the gaokao. They’re top students at a top Beijing school and say there were no cheaters there, but the stress is universal.
“There are too many students and a lot of competitors. They are very good at these studies and we hope to get a good score to go to our dream university,” Zhang said.
Of the 9.5 million who take the exam, 2 million or so won’t get in to any Chinese university. The scores can also affect careers.
To prevent cheating, students are fingerprinted and IDs are checked, but phony test-takers still slip through. Tuesday, the China Daily reported the ringleader of a suspected gang of cheaters was caught. The gang hired college students to use fake IDs and take the exam for clients.
Cheating students are usually barred from taking the exam for up to three years and adults who facilitate cheating can face criminal charges.