Factors responsible for examination malpractice among senior secondary school students in uyo metropolis

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 1.1 Background to the Study

The main objective of education being it formal or informal is to equip the student with the requisite knowledge and skills to enable him or her contribute effectively to the national development effort. This training in school demands periodic assessment and evaluation in the form of test, project, practicals or examinations in order to ascertain the level of achievement of knowledge and competence of the students. Since, education assessment covered all aspect of the curriculum then it is going to be tedious exercise and consumes substantial time of classroom teacher and the school. Educational assessment can be define as the process of documenting usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. The assessment conducted can focus on the individual learner, the learning community (class, workshop, or other organized group of learners) the institution or the educational system as a whole.

At the end of assessment exercise, marks are awarded to students who have participated. These marks tell a student that knowledge and skills have been mastered, and at the same time also show areas of weakness so that it can be the focus of the future learning activities. Furthermore, this method of assessment is used to monitor the quality of school system, evaluate education policies and programs as well as make important instructional decisions about students. It is important to note therefore, that conducting school examinations for maintaining educational standards faces a 2 expected standard. This process involves more than the commissioning, development and production of examination question papers. However, it begins from the development of the examination syllabuses which are derived from the teaching NCCE syllabuses (or minimum standard) developed by the Nigerian Commission for colleges of education (NCCE).

Furthermore, examination questions development involves the provision of test specifications table or blue print to guide the lecturers/teachers as well as those who will eventually compile the examination papers. In order to ensure the validity, reliability as well as the right standard of the test, copies of questions and marking schemes are sent to external moderators. The moderator who is senior lecturer from the university or sister college of education, analyze and make corrections before the final production and administration of the examination. In some colleges newly employed staff receives orientation in the following areas that have to do with examination a. Setting of essay and multiple choice questions b. Development of marking schemes and scoring keys c. Standard fixing or Award of marks d. Investigating and recommending cases of examination irregularities, with a view to ensuring as much as practicable that no candidates benefit from an undue or unlawful advantage over the others. Upon all these efforts by the colleges and external examining assessor to ensure reliability and validity of the questions, some students still struggle illegitimately for higher grades through academic dishonesty popularly known as examination malpractices.

Therefore, it is against this background, that students, in colleges of education and at times supported by parents/guardians considered as a top priority to produce higher scores or grades by all means either legitimate through adequate preparation for the examination, financing and monitoring of the system or illegitimately through cheating or examination malpractices. The attitude of students during examination and that of over dependence on certificate for employment 3 by government and private organization in recent time led to crazy rush by students and some parents to struggle for certificate even through cheating. Therefore, examination malpractice in Nigeria today no doubt has attained a frightening proportion not only to teachers and school administrators, but to various interest groups, concerned citizens, some parents, employers of labor and even international organizations. The practice employed by students is highly sophisticated and institutionalized.

The menace of examination malpractices in Nigeria these day is threatening to uproot the very foundation of the country educational system, which has being built as the avenue or vehicle for inculcation of moral and ethical values to our youths (Harbour, 2000, Dibu, 2000, Ahmad and Bala, 2000, Yaroson 2004, Money and Onojete, 2007, and Aisha, 2008). It is truism that the hope of any society being it traditional or modern, micro or macro largely depends on its honest and dedicated youths who are free from all evils that disrupt the entire fabric of the system. In view of the ever increasing incidence of examination malpractices and the problems associated with the conduct of examination in Colleges of Education in Nigeria, this study was undertaken to look into the various type, causes effects and management of the menace. Thus, the management of examination malpractices in Nigeria Colleges of Education largely depends on the school leadership and the style employed, the role of examination malpractices committee (EMIC) and action taken by the Academic Board. Some scholars contend that the school heads must handle the problem of examination malpractices not only using appropriate styles but at the right time or rather act quickly. Studies show that if problems are not handled in good or appropriate time, it will get worse and if allowed unchecked may reached an extremely difficult or dangerous point.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In recent time more than any other time in the history of this country, the prevalence of examination malpractices have assumed an alarming trend. The situation is so ugly that hardly you read newspapers, attend conference or go on internet without coming across issues rose on examination malpractices. The situation has also become so bad that our national and local mass media indirectly support and encourages examination malpractices by allowing people to advertise the phenomenon on the pages of their papers or radio and television (Nasiru, 2009). The advertisement is in the form of school (mostly private) inviting students to come, write examination in their schools, and pass in one sitting. The question commonly asked here is how does one pass an examination by just registering and writing exams in the school? The possibility of such candidate or all those registered with the school, passing at a single sitting as advertise, is not that the entire students were so intelligent nor is it through training and hard work but the truth is through cheating.

An investigation by THIS DAY revealed that certain secondary schools in Kaduna have become centre of excellence, where one can register for WAEC, NECO, or SSCE and determine the number of credits one wants, with full assurance that this will happen at the end of the day (Reuben, 2008). The truth is that so many schools in different part of the country are involved in this act. Hence such schools charged exorbitantly, tagged as ‘cooperation fees’ or ‘settlement fees’ in order to have surplus fund that will meet up the expenses of bribing external examiners or invigilators, as claimed by such school proprietors. According to Reuben (2008) that with the payment of stipulated amount, once question paper comes to such schools, it is solved by the teachers, quickly photocopied and distributed table by table to all the students that paid. In addition textbooks and any other relevant materials have free access into such exam hall. Also it is in Nigeria that due to lawlessness, people go about freely discussing how they cheated or were helped to cheat in examination in their various centers.

In some other examination centers answers are photocopied and given to students to copy free. The freedom has gone to the extent that some invigilators or their agents copy answers for candidate on the black board. Hence, 5 you discover in recent time students with the support of their parents from public schools rush to such private schools to pay and register at the rate of twenty five thousand (N25, 000.00) to thirty thousand (N30, 000.00) instead of the official government rate of five thousand naira (N5, 000.00) to seven thousand Naira (N7, 000.00) charged by public schools (Reuben, 2008). These students also ignore the sponsorship offered to indigene students in public schools by most northern states government; simply because of their belief that such private centers provide automatic ticket for them to get the minimum of 5 credits and above including mathematic and English. Little wonder, therefore, that students with such a very good result find it extremely difficult to pass ordinary JAMB or post UME examinations in our various universities and polytechnics. Similarly, examination malpractices increased tremendously in colleges of education. Most Academic Board of Colleges of Education receives cases of students’ involvement in different forms of examination malpractices almost after every semester. Such reports were presented to Academic Board through Examination Malpractices Committee (EMIC). In some colleges EMIC is centralized while in other colleges the committee is decentralized so that each school in the college has its EMIC which report to the Dean of the school who in turn report to the Academic Board for consideration and final approval.

                1.3       Purpose of Study

The study sought to establish factors contributing to Examination Malpractices in Secondary Schools of Uyo metropolis.


                1.4       Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Establish the factors which contribute to Examination Malpractices in Secondary Schools of Uyo metropolis.
  • Explore the nature of Examination Malpractices used in secondary schools.
  • Examine the effects of Examination Malpractices.
  • Establish strategies to help curb Examination Malpractices.


                1.5       Research Questions

  • What factors lead to Examination Malpractices in Secondary Schools of Uyo metropolis
  • What is the nature of Examination Malpractices used in Secondary Schools?
  • What are the effects of Examination Malpractices?
  • What strategies can help in curtailing Examination Malpractices?


                1.6       Significance of the Study

It was hoped that the findings of the study would generate information which policy makers and examining bodies could use to correlate with the already existing body of knowledge to curb Examination Malpractices. It would also help build confidence in our education system by producing graduates of substance who will in turn contribute effectively to the economic development of our country.


1.7        Delimitations

This study was conducted in secondary schools of Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State.


                1.8       Limitation of the Study

The validation of the research findings are threatened by one limitation which must be considered when interpreting and concluding the results. The respondents were only drawn from eight secondary schools when the ideal situation would have been to interview respondents from all the secondary schools in Uyo metropolis.

However, it is expected that the sample will be representative enough to come up with results that should harmonies with the available literature worldwide. Generalization of the findings would therefore still be acceptable.


                1.9       Operational Definitions of Terms

The terms used in this study have the following meanings:-

Anomie Lack of purpose, identity or ethical values in a society. It also means rootlessness (Collins Concise Dictionary, 1978).

Decadence A process, condition or period of decline, deterioration or decay as in morals. (Collins Concise Dictionary, 1978)

Examination Malpractice An illegal act done by student, teacher, invigilator, supervisor, school administrator, parent or any public officer, before, during and after examinations in order for the pupil to be awarded undeserved marks. (Chapi, 2011)

Expedient Suited to the circumstances; convenient; based on what is of use or advantage rather than what is right or just; self-interest. (Collins Concise Dictionary, 1978)

Managing To direct or control the use of something; bringing something under control, to handle something efficiently.

Mercenaries People involved in examination malpractices for monetary gains.

Mutate  To change.

Paradigm   A pattern, example or model

Segregationist   Discrimination

Strategy A plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. A well planned series of  actions for achieving an aim, especially success against a potent or challenge. ( Collins Concise Dictionary 1978)

Thematically Based on recurring, unifying subject or idea.

Unorthodox Unconventional, not conforming to the usual practice.

Vice An evil or wicked action, habit, depravity or corruption.



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