More than a million students will receive the most technologically advanced certificate ever this summer. The state-of-the-art Edexcel certificate contains ten separate security features to prevent it from being reproduced and passed off as an original by even the most sophisticated technology user.
'We don't have a big problem with fraud but we have upgraded our certificate to keep ahead of the game. This is part of a wider strategy to introduce the latest technology into the examination system,' said David Sands, head of Edexcel's certification department.
'As technology gets more sophisticated we are taking every possible step to maintain the integrity of our qualifications so that students, admissions tutors and employers can continue to have total confidence in the system,' he added.
A specialist secure printer that produces chequebooks for banks and tickets for Premiership football matches has developed the new-style certificate. Its print and design features mean it cannot be accurately reproduced by today's scanners, printers or photocopiers.
Features include a hologram that will not refract light if replicated and an ultra violet ink design that, while invisible to the human eye, can be checked with a UV lamp. If the certificate is photocopied a heat-sensitive spot vanishes and the word COPY appears.
Security features in the old-style Edexcel certificate were the latest available when it was designed in 1999. Colleges, universities and employers can of course check the validity of these certificates with Edexcel.
Edexcel issues around 1.5 million certificates each year.
The features are:
1. Prismatic Colour Blend - the range of tones does not photocopy accurately
2. Enhanced Toner Adhesive Paper - a chemical compound prevents the type from being lifted off the certificate and altered
3. Fine Line Patterning - a hand-drawn feature that cannot be accurately reproduced
4. Thermochromic Spot - heat-sensitive ink, disappears if photocopied
5. Micro Text - unreadable if copied or scanned
6. Ultra-Violet Invisible Image - invisible to the human eye
7. Unique Numbering
8. CopyVoid - the word COPY appears if photocopied
9. Guilloche Design- does not photocopy accurately
10. Hologram - a fraudulent copy will not refract light.