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However, the students will not be made to resit them, the university says.
Otago Medical School dean Prof Barry Taylor said in a statement students appeared to have taken devices into holding rooms before or after they completed exams and used them to forewarn others taking the papers.
Cheating had not been proven, but the evidence was serious enough to warrant the university considering how the students’ exam results should be treated.
"A number of options have been considered, up to and including rerunning the examination. However, analysis suggests that any impact from the alleged misconduct is likely to be small, and so we retain reasonable confidence in the results of the [Objective Structured Clinical Examination]," Prof Taylor said.
"We are also concerned about the fairness of requiring students to resit the examination when only a small number of students may have been actively involved in perpetrating misconduct; there is a real risk with this approach that students who were not involved would be disadvantaged."
The marks from the examination this year would stand, Prof Taylor said.
However, the medical school would put additional measures in place, via additional monitoring and provision of support, during the remaining three years of their course to ensure all students in the class developed the necessary clinical skills.
"The decision to accept the results of the OSCE does not reduce the seriousness of the alleged misconduct that has been identified," Prof Taylor said.
"The premeditated sending of information and receipt of information about examination content is considered a serious act of academic misconduct by the university.
"Should specific cases of misconduct be proven, there will be serious consequences for those involved."
The New Zealand Medical Association was unable to provide comment yesterday afternoon. The Otago University Students’ Association and the Otago University Medical Students’ Association did not respond to requests for comment yesterday afternoon.