EFFECT OF EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
1.1 Background to the Study
Examination has been generally accepted as the best means of assessment. It is a formal test of knowledge or ability. Infact, in a school setting, examination is a means of evaluating the quantity of knowledge a student has acquired within a specific period of time. Adekunle (2003) sees examination as an instrument used for the assessment of individual skills and knowledge content, both in general and specific area of study. Teaching and learning become more effective when the students are subjected to an examination process to determine the extent to which the students have assimilated the content of the instruction given and the teacher can also assess himself from the performance of the students. Unfortunately, this all important means of assessing students has become ineffective as all forms of malpractice have been introduced into the system. Adesina (2000) traced the history of examination malpractice in Nigeria to 2004. When there was a leakage of the Cambridge examination. Cheating became widespread in schools hence in 2007, the Alexander Commission was set up as a special commission of inquiry to investigate the incidences of malpractice in Nigeria. In 2007, there was a widespread leakage of the West Africa School Certificate Examination questions. Government took it as a challenge to address issues of examination malpractice. A special conference was held in that regard at Ibadan in 2006. Decrees were promulgated, schools were sanctioned, results cancelled and invigilators arrested all in a bid to curb malpractice. The irony of it all is that despite the several attempts made by school authorities, government agencies, parents and church leaders in trying to concertize the Nigerian students on the evils of examination malpractice, this menace is still in its increase in the various schools. There is the need to find out the causes of examination malpractice in Nigerian schools.
In Lagos State, Nigeria, examinations are either internal or public. Internal examinations are the examinations set by teachers in the form of class tests and end of term examinations. Public examinations on the other hand, are examinations that are conduced in the public interest by recognized examining bodies that were not involved in organizing instruction or preparing students for the examinations (Adeyemi 2010).
The importance of examinations in the educational system of the state, the instances of malpractices during examinations have been identified (Cromwell, 2000; Adeyegbe, 2002). These malpractices include misrepresentation of identify or impersonation, cheating, theft of other students’ work, tampering with the works of others, bringing prepared answers to examination halls, unethical use of academic resources, fabrication of results and showing disregard to academic regulations (Gross, 2003; Owuamanam, 2005). These vices have been regarded as academic misbehaviour capable of truncating an educational system (Glasher, 2002; Ogunwuyi, 2005). Nwadiani, (2005) opined that the process of examinations in Nigeria senior secondary schools has become a “contemporary shame”.
This is because of the phenomenon of examination malpractice that has become endemic in the educational system. The examinations malpractice Act (2009) explains examination malpractice as nay 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 as manner that contravenes the rules and regulations to the extent of underlining the validity, reliability, authenticity of the examination and ultimately the integrity of the certificates issued.
Oluyeba and Daramola (cited in Alutu and Aluede, 2006) remarked that examination malpractice is any irregular behaviour exhibited by a candidate or anybody charged with the conduct of examination before, during or after the examination that contravenes the rules and regulations governing the conduct of such examination.
However, the examination malpractices offences are: cheating at examinations, stealing of question papers, impersonation, disturbances at examination, obstruction of supervision, forgery of result slip, breach of duty, conspiracy and aiding, (Jiomh, 2009). Government, examination bodies and other concerned citizens have made a lot of efforts to forestall the incidences of examination malpractice and the problems associated with the conduct of examinations in Nigeria.
According to Jimoh (2009) the efforts seem not to have yielded desire results, as incidences of examination malpractice still feature prominently in the school system. Ojuluwon (2006) noted that measures put in place still do not deter people from engaging in examination malpractices.
Also, the phenomenon of examination practice seems to be aggravated by the large scale and shameful involvement of dishonest and greedy teachers, school heads, parents and all those who take part in examination administration (Jimoh, 2009 cited Ijaiya 2008 ). The prominence assumed by this malady in the school system has become a source of concern to stakeholders in the education sector. Every examination season witnesses new and ingenious methods of cheating. The examination process has become endangered to the extent that certification has almost lost its credibility in the country. Certificates no longer seem to reflect skill and competence. Accusing fingers have been pointed at teachers, school heads, parents, students, examination officials and even security agents as those responsible for examination malpractice in the school system (Jimoh, 2009).
Teachers have been variously accused of abating examination malpractice. Bernedette and Rita (2012) citing Denga and Denga (2008) affirmed that teachers read answers to the pupils in examination halls and even work sums for them to copy quickly before they are cleaned off. Based on this statement, teachers may feel that if the pupils fail to perform well, it will be a slap on their faces hence the public will know that they did not carry out their teaching effectively. As such, they resort to reading answers to pupils in a bid to assist them excel in the said examination.
However, teachers do this to boast that their school has the highest number of credit and distinction passes, thereby making children believe that, that is the fastest way to achieve success. Some teachers who are assigned to supervise examination connive with students to cheat due to the level of poverty. The teachers often demand money from the students writing examination. Some may even collect some amount of N500, N200, or N100 to allow students cheat.
Confirming the above view, Ezezogor (2002) in Bernedette and Rita (2012) said that students’ involvement in examination malpractice is due to teachers’ encouragement. Bernedette and Rita said teachers, principals and students are also involved in buying questions paper of the examination to be written. For instance, in some secondary schools, there is what is popularly known as cooperation fee which is paid by every student who registers for such examination. This is to enable teachers, principals and supervisors to help them throughout the period of examination.
Jimoh (2009) posited that the incidence of examination malpractice has become so wide spread that there is virtually no examination any where at all levels and outside the formal school system that there is no one form of sharp practice or the other. The incidences of examination malpractice are common everywhere and every examination season witnesses the emergence of new and ingenious ways of cheating.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The persistent occurrence of examination malpractices has been a major concern to educationists (Aghenta, 2000; Ige, 2002). Despite the high premium placed on examinations by the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004), it seems that examination malpractices have not been properly addressed in Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria. Observations have shown that there is mass cheating in public examination in Badagry Local Government Area (BLGA).
Paul (2012) agreed on the fact that students nowadays are no longer hard working and dedicated towards their academic endeavours. They are characterized by a desire for success and wealth without a corresponding emphasis on legitimate means and avenues to be used positively in achieving success. The desire to pass at all cost is responsible for examination malpractice (Ajibola 2006).
Nigeria’s education system is largely certificate and good grades oriented. Students, parents, school management and others tend to push harder on wards to get the certificate and good grades by all means. As a result, much value and emphasis are placed on certificate instead of knowledge, skills and competence. Many school leavers and dropouts have certificates without knowledge, skills and the right attitude. This is why examination malpractices are increasing day after day for the rush to get paper qualification for jobs they possess or good grades to secure employment.
Itedjere (2006) sees it from the moral tone of the society; that it is a statement of truth that the school, like any other social institution, does not exist in a vacuum, rather it exists within a geopolitical and socio-milieu. Hence, behaviours are expected to conform and reflect the acceptable societal norms and ethos as regards various functional roles and the executions of duties and services.
Also, Okafor (2000) blamed the society for examination malpractice. He said: In a country where dishonesty has been enshrined by the adult sector as an idol of worship, children have learnt to steal with impunity; examination malpractice (in all shades and forms) has become the order of the day among our students at all level of the educational arrangement. In Nigeria today, people value money more than any other thing thereby reminding one of a saying that “the end justifies the means”.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to find out the extent to which examination malpractice affects student’s academic performance in senior secondary schools in Educational District V, other purposes include the following:
1) To evaluate teacher’s influence on students’ cheating behavior.
2) To review parents’ influence on students’ cheating behavior.
3) To suggest possible solution to the influence of examination malpractice on student’s academic performance.
1.4 Research Questions
In order to carry out this study, the following research questions were raised and answered:
Q1: Does teachers’ attitude towards students’ cheating behaviour affect their academic performance in Senior Secondary School?
Q2: How does parental attitude towards students cheating behavior affect their academic performance in Senior Secondary School?
Q3: Is poor study habit responsible for examination malpractices in Senior Secondary Schools in Badagry?
Q4: Is the teaching method a relative cause of examination malpractices in Senior Secondary Schools in Badagry?
Q5: What are the identified devices used in examination malpractices in Senior Secondary Secondary schools in Badagry.
Q6: What measures should be taken to discourage, prevent, or address cheating in Senior Secondary School.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested to guide the study:
H01: There is no significant difference between teachers’ attitudes to students cheating behavior during examination period and academic performance of Senior Secondary School students.
H02: There is no significant effect of parental attitude to students’ cheating behaviour and academic performance of senior secondary school students.
H03: There is no significant effect of poor study habit on examination malpractices in Senior Secondary Schools in Badagry.