Nationwide Music Exams is committed to ensuring that all candidates who enter into assessments provided by it and examiners and centres assessing their work follow the rules.

Policy intention: This policy is designed to help candidates, assessors and centres understand what assessment offences are and how to avoid committing them. It also sets out what the responsibilities of candidates, examiners and centres are in relation to them, along with reporting mechanisms and formal proceedings.

Policy accessibility: Centres, candidates and assessors are expected to familiarise themselves with this policy. NME shall ensure that centres, examiners and candidates using its examination service shall have access to this Assessment Offences Policy (as updated from time to time) via the NME website.

All NME candidates should receive appropriate guidance through their teacher/centre concerning the preparation for assessments in accordance with this policy and NME’s terms and conditions.

If a candidate is entering into an assessment independently it is the responsibility of the individual candidate to familiarise themselves with our policies, terms and conditions all of which are available on the NME website.

A call to candidates: don’t do anything improperly. If you want to better yourself as a musician, give yourself an honest chance to do so. In the end, if you do decide not to play by the rules, you will be the one who loses.


Below are some examples of what may constitute an assessment offence which may ultimately mean disqualification. The list is not exhaustive, meaning that anything not stated within the examples does not mean it could not be regarded as an assessment offence.


Plagiarism means the presentation of another person’s work – intentionally or unwittingly – without adequately identifying it and citing its source clearly and properly. The source which is plagiarised may take any form (including music texts or songs) and may exist in a published or unpublished medium, including from the internet. In the case of a candidate, plagiarism might occur by:

1. Copying part of all of an existing song and passing it off as the candidate’s own; or

2. Using music which is very similar to an existing song.


Cheating constitutes any action whereby a candidate deliberately seeks to gain advantage by:

1. Having an unfair advantage in an assessment situation; or

2. Passing off a music submission as written and produced by the candidate when a third party such as a friend has, in fact, carried out the work on the candidate’s behalf


Collusion means to act in agreement with somebody else in order to obtain an advantage for oneself and/or for that person. This may take the form of:

1. Allowing a friend to pretend they are the candidate when entering into an assessment;

2. An examiner failing to manage conflicts of interest eg agreeing to examine his or her relation or friend;

3. Work not being the candidate’s own work. For example a candidate collaborates with another person as part of an EME submission with the intention of obtaining a better mark than they would have otherwise obtained.


Malpractice means improper behaviour which may influence the outcome of an assessment. Examples of malpractice include:

1. Having sight of an assessment/test/examination paper prior to taking the assessment;

2. Sabotaging the work of another candidate (eg changing or deleting the contents of an audio or video file);

3. Acting in a disorderly manner in an assessment, such as wilfully failing to follow the instructions of the examiner.


This principally applies to assessors and centres which undertake NME’s assessments on its behalf.  It amounts to a dereliction of professional duty or a failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill. Relevant examples include:

1. Contravening the assessment/examination regulations;

2. Acting in a manner that undermines the integrity of assessment such as marking/assessing a candidate favourably or unfavourably;

3. Assisting candidates with the production of answers;

4. Falsification of data (eg knowingly assessing a candidate who it is known is not the person named on the application);

5. Failing to safeguard records such as examination papers, audio or video;

6. Failing to invigilate an assessment professionally (eg not turning up on time, prepared and with the correct assessment material).

A note about Conflicts of interest 

  • Conflicts of interest may arise in the situation where an examiner is unintentionally assigned a candidate who is known to them outside the context of the music assessment e.g. is a family friend or relation. In this eventuality the examiner must inform the Nationwide Music Examinations Ltd Operations Director and/or the NME official at our examining centre before assessment commences.  The NME official must inform the Director of Operations of any conflict of interest notifications, which shall be recorded.

    For example, there may be a risk that assessing a candidate who is known to the examiner may result in a the examiner feeling pressured to award a more favourable mark than would have otherwise been given had the candidate not be known to the examiner, which, needless to say, would neither be in the candidates nor examiner’s interest.

  • If a conflict of interest is discovered after an examination session has taken place; the examiner or NME official must notify the Director Operations with detail of the circumstances and how this subsequently came to light.


It should always be made clear that:-

a) assessment offences are not acceptable in any circumstances; and

b) where such acts are shown to have occurred, an appropriate penalty, depending on severity of the offence, will always be enforced.

Fair Judgment
The guidance within this policy is designed so that the examiner or centre should take into account the candidate’s particular circumstances. Cases where a candidate may have, on the face of it, committed an assessment offence may be as a result of an apparently genuine and innocent misunderstanding of the requirements of the assessment and may not constitute an offence under this policy.

A first time newcomer to the music world may expect a greater degree of understanding than a more advanced and experienced music candidate who has clearly undertaken music examinations before. Plagiarism, for example, unlike cheating or malpractice, may be intentional or unintentional. There is a difference between unintentional plagiarism and deliberate, malicious or sustained plagiarism.

In such cases, the assessor or centre should consider whether the offence can be managed at the assessor/centre level. It might be preferential to inform candidates why they fall below the standards required, and should then be penalized accordingly through appropriate assessment criteria, or warned about future behaviour by the examiner or centre (rather than referring the matter upwards for which see next section (“Formal Proceedings”)).

As a further example, before reporting suspected instances of collusion, it is advisable to check with the candidates concerned, at the earliest opportunity, that they have properly understood what is required of them in terms of the submission or presentation of music assessments. In cases where misunderstandings have apparently occurred, a request for resubmission or re-presentation may be the most appropriate form of action with an appropriate warning.

4. FORMAL PROCEEDINGS The following table summarises the formal procedure for assessing when an assessment offence has occurred with reference to candidates. Please note, the same principle should be followed in relation to examiners and centres suspected of an assessment offence. In the event of a conflict between the processes undertaken in accordance with an examiner’s consultancy contract and this policy, the consultancy contract shall prevail. 1. If the examiner or centre has come to the view that a possible assessment offence should be investigated further, they should immediately submit a brief factual written report of the case to the operations director at NME.

The address is:

76 Church Road
Tel:01606 40400
E:[email protected]

2. The examiner should include in their report the grounds for and extent of the suspected assessment offence along with any evidence to support it. The result of the examination should then be withheld and the case referred for consideration of the alleged offence. 3. The operations director shall provide the candidate with a copy of the written report which sets out the allegation, including the relevant evidence, and a letter inviting them to respond to the allegation at a meeting to take place at a date advised in writing.

3. The candidate will be asked to provide before the date of the meeting documentary evidence of any extenuating factors which s/he feels should be taken into account. The purpose of the meeting will be to ensure that the candidate understands the allegation, is aware of this policy and of the process to be followed, and is given a fair opportunity to respond to the allegation.

4. The candidate may be accompanied at the meeting by a parent or other representative (who may speak on their behalf).

5. The operations director will act as chairperson and will be accompanied by a note taker.

6. The examiner/centre representative making the allegation may be invited to attend to discuss the matter further with the operations director on the day of the meeting, but will normally be asked to leave before the meeting has begun. The assessor shall have no determination of the final outcome.

7. The operations director may interview or request written evidence from any other person that s/he deems appropriate in order to establish the facts of the matter.

8. A brief written note of the meeting will be produced, and a copy sent to the candidate shortly after the meeting which sets out the allegation, including the relevant evidence, as well as details of the process to be followed.

9. The candidate will be given seven days to respond to the allegation in writing.

10. If the candidate does not respond to the allegation in writing or attend the meeting with the operations director it will be assumed that s/he agrees to the allegation being investigated on the evidence available in absentia.

11. The operations director will decide whether or not there is evidence that an offence has indeed occurred based on the findings of his/her investigation.

12. If the operations director decides that an offence has not occurred, s/he will inform the candidate of this decision in writing as soon as possible. A record of the case, together with a copy of the letter informing the candidate of the outcome along with its reasons, will be kept on the candidate’s file.

13. If the operations director decides that there is evidence that an offence of a minor or technical nature has occurred which would not warrant any of the penalties set out below, the candidate will be deemed to have passed the assessment.

14. If the operations director decides that there is evidence that an assessment offence has occurred, the candidate will be deemed to have failed the assessment. A record of the case, together with a copy of the letter informing the candidate of the outcome along with its reasons and a right to appeal to the NME Creative Director, will be kept on the candidate’s file, as will any subsequent written statement from the candidate which contests the evidence.

It is acknowledged that due to the online nature of many assessments, candidates may not be able to attend interview. Accordingly, a video interview or phone call should be offered instead. If this is not possible, or a response to such a request is not provided the candidate should be given an opportunity to respond by letter. The letter sent to the candidate should include the grounds for the possible assessment offence, any supporting evidenced, the penalties if the offence is proven and a maximum time to respond failing which the matter will be decided on the evidence available. Once a decision is made it should be communicated to the candidate in writing.


A candidate may appeal against a decision made under these regulations only on one or more of the following grounds:
(a) that there is evidence of a failure to follow the procedures set out in this policy which brings into doubt the fairness of the outcome;
(b) that new evidence can be presented which the candidate could not reasonably have disclosed before the decision was made and which brings into doubt the fairness of the outcome;
(c) that the decision was wrong in the first place.

Appeals must be submitted in writing by the candidate to the Creative Director within one month of the date on which the candidate was formally notified of the decision. The candidate’s submission must include a statement of all the matters which the candidate wishes to be investigated and taken into account, and specify how these matters relate to the grounds for appeal and lead the candidate to believe that the decision was unfair. Supporting evidence must also be provided. The Creative Director or his/her nominee may dismiss any appeal which in his/her opinion does not fall within the remit or this policy or fails to provide proper grounds for an appeal or supporting evidence. Appeals which are not dismissed will be investigated by the Creative Director. The findings from the investigation will determine one of the following courses of action:

(a) to amend or set aside the decision; or
(b) to confirm the decision; The Creative Director’s decision is final.


Allegations of cheating, malpractice and/or deliberate plagiarism will be reported to the approved body (where appropriate) in writing.

A range of penalties may be applied including failing the whole music assessment, revocation of an award or qualification and or exclusion from partaking in future NME/EME examinations.

Examining Centres
In circumstances where an examining centre is alleged to have committed academic malpractice, the operations director will take forward the allegation in the manner set out above from part 3 onwards. Centres which are found to have committed malpractice will be disqualified from conducting further examinations on NME’s behalf and shall be reported to approving bodies. Candidates will be informed that they must re-sit their assessments.

Sanctions can range from a written warning to dismissal on the basis of gross misconduct where an assessment offence has taken place. Candidates will be informed that they must re-sit their assessments.

June 20