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The purpose of this research is to find out the causes and consequences of examination malpractice in Senior High schools, using some selected Senior High Schools in Tamale Metropolis as a case study.A total of One hundred (100) students were sampled from five selected schools in Tamale for the study. Data were collected with the use of researcher developed questionnaire which were administered by researcher.Data was examined using frequency counts, simple percentage and means scores based on the five (5) research questions that were raised as well as two (2) hypotheses raised for the study were tested at 0.05 alpha level.

     The result showed that students perceive examination malpractice as a bad act but indulge in it due to; inadequate preparation for examination, lack of self-confidence, ill equipped schools, lack of good study habits and host of others.  The identified solutions range from restoring discipline in every facet of our national life, strict and thorough invigilation, employment of function counsellors in schools etc. Based on these findings, it was recommended that students should be given awareness campaign that will highlight the consequences of examination malpractices.  Also, government should sensitize all citizens to basic decent values of self-worth, dignity of labour, integrity and personal responsibility.  Guidance counsellors should be employed and posted to secondary schools to help students in self-understanding and self-management as well as the development of effective study habits in relation to how they can nurture their assets and manage their abilities for optimum development.









                              1.1.               BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

There is an indication that examination is one of the debatable issues in education today because of its nature, it attracts many faultfinders, and some of these faultfinders think that less emphasis should be placed or laid on examination while others recommend understanding of subject rather than recourse to examination.

Examination is known to play very important role in our educational system.

According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2008), examination is a formal written, spoken, or practical test, especially at school or college, to see how much you know about a subject or what you can do. According to Liman (1996), examination is a means of testing student’s knowledge and competence.Anyaegbunman and Oraegbuman (2006) see examination as a formal test of knowledge and abilities in a particular subject matter especially by means of written question, oral or practical exercise.

In essence, examinations are used to determine strengths and weaknesses of a student or group of students. History seems to support the view that setting children against one another in trials and competitions has always been a respectable means of rousing them of zeal (Stephen, 1969). A student who knows that he/she might fail in examination which will in turn determine his/her progress or promotion will strive hard in order to pass. Examination is also meant to assign grades to students based on their performance. We often hear students say “I got aggregate six (6) or ten (10) or twelve (12)etc. in the WASSCE. In the universities and other tertiary institutions, students are placed into classes such as First class honour, Second (upper and lower) or Third class degree after going through an examination.These grades are measures of success since anesteemed student with better aggregate in school certificate examination will be regarded as academically intelligent.He/she is likely to have a place in an institution of higher learning or be favoured when seeking a job within the society as compared to his/her colleagues with lower grades.

All these situations have combined to influence a child’s attitude to an examination; attitude of trying to cheat in other to obtain higher grade in any particular examination whether or not he/she is prepared for it. This may not reflect the true performance of the students.

The process of examination in Ghanaian schools and colleges has become a “present-day shame”. This is because of the phenomenon of examination malpractice that has become prevalent in the educational system.  Students are involved because they want to achieve success; parents are involved because they want good grades for their wards; teachers and others are involved because of the financial, material and other intangible benefits derived from involvement in examination malpractice.

As this thought bubbles through my mind, I asked myself this question. What is this examination malpractice that is tarnishing the image of the educational system of Ghana? Many are the opinions that I found from books and people and which is quiet astounding, some of which includes;Examination malpractice is any activity of a student or group of students whose purpose is to give any of them higher grades than they would likely receive on the basis of their own achievement.Any situation whereby there is a deviation from the laid down guideline, malpractice has taken place.Thinking along this line, Mairi (1998) defined malpractice as an improper careless, illegal, or unethical professional conduct. Examination malpractice is a wrong professional conduct. Examination malpractice is an unethical behaviour exhibited by a person in the process of trying an examinee’s ability.

Fatai (2005) defines it as any irregular act exhibited by candidates or anybody charged with the conduct of examination, which is clearly a breach of the rules governing the conduct and integrity of the examination. It is viewed as any act carried out before, during and after an examination, which is against the rules set out for the proper and orderly conduct of the examination. It has been further described as an action done to gain undue advantage over other candidates which is against the rule and regulations governing the conduct of such examination.To Ahmed (1996) examination is any act of wrongdoing or neglect that contravenes the rules and regulations of acceptable practice before, during and after an examination by any reason.The Longman dictionary of contemporary English (1987) defines examination malpractice as securing an unjustifiable advantage at an examination with a view to achieve an undeserved success at the examination. This process distorts the objectives of examination and renders the entire education useless.

The Examination malpractice is any act of omission or commission by a person who in anticipation of, before, during or after any examination fraudulently secure any unfair advantage for himself or any other person in such a manner that contravenes the rules and regulations to the extent of undermining the validity, reliability, authenticity of the examination and ultimately the integrity of the certificates issued (Naere, 2009). Examination malpractice has been a feature on Ghanaian institutions of learning as far back as the early 21st century. The malady has gradually grown over the years to the epidemic proportion of today. As a result of examination malpractice, academic excellence in Ghana has been relegated to the background and half-baked graduates are pushed into the employment market with devastating effects on productivity.




The problem statement, according to Weismann (1995), “describes the content for the study and it also identifies the general analysis approach”, or it is the issue that exists in the literature, theory or practice that leads to a need for the study” (Creswell 1994, P: 50) and when stated effectively should answer the question; why does this research need to be conducted?” (Parjares, 2007)

Examination malpractice has become a common feature in the modern Ghanaian school system.  There are examination leakages, irregularities and cheating during class tests, at the end of the term or semester or during final examinations.

A number of attempts have been made to reduce the incidence of malpractice yet the problem still persists even at a more alarming rate. There is the need to evolve a permanent solution to this cankerworm. People have the notion that the fallen standard of education can be traced to examination malpractice hence the aim of this research is to find the causes and consequences of this nuisance called examination malpractices especially in the Tamale Metropolis of Northern Ghana.



The purpose of this study is to find out the causes of examination malpractice in Senior High Schools especially, the ones in the Tamale Metropolis of Northern Ghana, the various methods employed by students as well as the roles by teachers, parents, SeniorHigh School authorities and the society at large. This study will specifically find out:

  • The reasons students cheat in examinations


  • The implications after indulging in such acts


  • The methods students use in cheating in examinations


  • The extent of the involvement of the parents, teachers and pupils on the

Examination malpractice


  • The techniques students suggest to be employed to terminate the act



In view of this revelation, the study seeks to find answers to the following fundamental questions.

  • Why do students indulge in examination malpractice?


  • What are the consequences of examination malpractice?


  • What methods do the students use in carrying out the practice?


  • What influences does parents and teachers have towards the practice?


  • What are the likely solutions to combat examination malpractice in S.H.S?



  • Is there any difference between students who cheat and who did not cheat in an examination?


  • Is there significant relationship between students’ strong desire to succeed and violating examination norms?




It is of extreme importance to note that at the completion of this research work, various Senior High Schools, Communities, Towns and Ghana in general will find the result of this research work to be beneficial to a remarkable extent, this research work would play an essential role in the standard of education and in the task of economic growth and development. The result from this research work will also provide an ample opportunity for parents to be aware of what role they must play in order to prevent their children from being engaged in examination malpractice.



This study will concentrate on examination malpractice, their causes, effects and possible solution in selected schools in Tamale Metropolis which includes;

  1. Tamale Senior High School
  2. Business Senior high School
  3. Northern School of Business
  4. Kalpohin Senior High School
  5. Ghana Senior High School



                                                          LITERATURE REVIEW


Education is the foundation upon which physical and technological developments rest. In Ghana, education has been adopted as an instrument for national development. Therefore, governments, communities, private organizations and individuals have established educational institutions with a view of training the citizens for the development of the nation’s physical and human resources. One of the objectives of education in Ghana is to prepare the young ones to face future challenges and develop them to meet the nation’s manpower requirements.

In educational institutions teaching and guidance activities are supposed to take place so that appropriate skills and knowledge can be acquired by the students.

Furthermore, a machinery through which the extent of knowledge and skill acquisition is determined at each stage of education has been set up. This is in form of examination which is organized in order to evaluate, assess and test knowledge and skills. Schools need to conduct examinations as yardstick for assessment. It is the most practical way of assessment in education. Maduka (1993) defined examination as a way to ascertain how much of a subject matter in a particular field of study the candidate has mastered. Homby (1995) defined an examination as a formal test of somebody’s knowledge or ability in a particular subject, especially by means of answering questions or practical exercises.

Examination also is the measurement of proficiency or knowledge, skills, orally or written form, and judging the adequacy of these properties possessed by candidates, by evaluation. This is the pivot around which the whole system of education evolves (Ammani, 2011; Wilayat, 2009). Examinations should be valid in the performance of its function;reliable in terms of consistency of measurement; and it should be able to evaluate the performance or judge the scholastic attainment of pupils or students. In some cases candidates are assessed on the content of a subject they have acquired after a given period of time, by their teacher or by an examining body. Examination could be a one time or acontinued form of assessment. Any wrong doing or illegal action taken for one’s own benefit is a malpractice. Examination malpractice involves some form of cheating committed by examination candidates single handed or in collaboration with others; before, during, after the examination, to take undue advantage over others. Technically, it is an act that contravenes the rules and regulations of a particular examination body, set at a particular period of time. Not only is it immoral and illegal but also undermines the credibility of the education system (The Ghanaian Times, 2011). Examination irregularities are experienced at all levels of theeducation ladder – Primary, JHS, SHS, post- secondary, tertiary levels. Plagiarism in students’ report and project works, as well as in published research works are also some forms of malpractices in academia (Achio, 2005).



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