INFLUENCE OF FAMILY SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS, GENDER AND SCHOOL LOCATION ON STUDENTS PERCEPTION OF EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE
The study of investigated Influence of Family Socio-Economic Status, Gender and school location on students’ perception of examination malpractices. Three hindered and frothy-six secondary school (ssl) students participated in the study. Participants were within the age range of 14 and 18 years with a mean age of sixteen years. Three hypotheses were tested. Hypothesis 1 states that there will be no statistically significant difference in perception of examination malpractices between participants of high socio-economic status and those of low socio-economic status; hypothesis 2 states that, there will be no statistically significant gender differences in perception of examination malpractices and hypothesis 3 states that, there will be no statistically significant difference in perception of examination malpractice between participants from schools in rural areas and participants from schools in urban areas. Data analysis using 3¬way ANOVA indicate significant main influence of family socio-economic status, F(1,338) = 5.49, P < 0.5, and gender F (1,338) = 4.84, P <. 05,on students, perception of examination malpractices. The result reveal significant interaction of family socio-economic status and school location on students’ perception of examination malpractices, F (1, 338) = 7, 55, P <. 0.5. The result were discussed in terms of their relevance to improve the quality of education in Nigeria.
The phenomenon of corruption is not of recent origin. The origin of corruption has been traced back to the time of the Greek and the Roman empires. Corruption is said to have been so prevalent during these period of time that the governments of those days had to privatize tax collections by auctioning the rights to collect taxes to private citizens (Fashola, 2008). Fashola further stated that the prevalence of corruption in democratic England was also said to account for the professionalization of the civil service in that country in the nineteenth century. Africa, however, come under the eyes of the storm during the post-colonial era when writers and commentators linked the prevalence of corruption in most African countries to the pre-colonial cultural practices, and the weak economic and institutional structures (Fashola, 2009).
Corruption is one of the few social problems that is widespread in Nigeria. By its nature and character, it is destructive, unethical, and could affect the rate of social development, the term corruption covers several immoral acts. It could be abuse of public office for personal gains or any other illegal or immoral acts which a person engages in, for private gains. Corrupt practices in Nigeria context include offer and acceptance of bribe, fraudulent acquisition of property, offer and acceptance of any gratification or inducement, favoritism, nepotism, corrupt enrichment, contract inflation. Examination malpractices, Electoral fraud only to mention but few (Adeniran, 2009).
This study examines corruption from the point of view of examination malpractice. Examination is an academic exercise designed to obtain information about those who are examined. Tyler (1971) and Nunally (1972) defined examination as a standard situation designed to elicit a sample of an individual’s behaviour. Fagbamiye (1998) described examination as a tool for measuring and judging the standard of education in any country. It is believed that no country can rise above the level of her educational standards, no matter the political propaganda or economic manipulation, except such as country fashions out a dynamic educational system matched with valid and reliable testing programmes. In other words, without valid and reliable examinations and results, there can be no national development either socially, economically, scientifically or technologically.
In the last five decades, according to Oluwatayo (2006), it could be observed that Nigeria has made concerted efforts at providing qualitative education for her citizens which had led to the establishment of a number of examination bodies to monitor and maintain educational standards, encourage a learning society, identify special talents within the population and control curricula. They conduct such examinations as may be considered appropriate and award certificates on the results of the examination conducted (Nwana, 1982; Oluwatayo, 2004). Prominent among the examination bodies are the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) established in 1952, the National Teacher’s Institute (NTI) established in 1978; the National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB) established in 1992 and the National Board for Educational Measurement (NBEM) established in 1992 but later transformed to National Examinations Council (NECO) in 1998. The essence of public examinations is to provide equal opportunities to all members of the society irrespective of the type of education they have acquired (Okpala, Onocha, & Oyedeji, 1993; Faloyajo & Makoju, 1997; Ojerinde, 2000). Essentially, the public examination boards are concerned with large scale testing programmes resulting in a large number of candidates sitting for the examinations since restriction of candidates is minimal (Ojerinde, 2000).
Unfortunately, according to Ikegbunna (1996), the public examination boards lay emphasis on certification as an end in itself and not a means to an end. This is the crux of the matter because very typical Nigerian is now over¬conscious of examinations and tends to believe implicitly in the certificates and paper qualification so necessary for admission into higher institutions of learning. One of the major problems facing examinations, particularly public examination such as the senior school certificate examination (SSCE) conducted by WAEC and NECO, is the notorious examination malpractices among the candidates. According to Oluyeba (1998), examination malpractice occurs in its various forms throughout Nigeria and there is no state that could be exonerated from it.
The pattern of examination malpractices ranges from impersonation to smuggling of already prepared answers written by others into the examination hall. Corporate cheating by the candidates, concealing of notes in private parts, use of mobile phones, use of electronic computers and other unethical behaviours. Studies by Oluyeba (1998), Faganiye (1998) and Adetunberu (1998) showed that the rate of examination malpractice is at its peak in the southern part of Nigeria while those state recorded the lowest percentage of cases of examination malpractices are in the northern part of Nigeria (Oluwatoya, 2006).
Alutu and Aluede (2006) defined examination malpractices as an illegal or unethical behavior by somebody in the process of testing an examinee’s ability or knowledge by means of question. Oluyeba and Daramola (1992) remarked that examination malpractice include the following: examination malpractice is any irregular behavior exhibited by a candidate or anybody charged with the conduct of examination before during or after the examination which contravenes the rules and regulation governing the conduct of such examination. Such examination malpractices will include any of the following: examination leakage, impersonation, cheating, collusion, swapping of scripts, smuggling of answer script in examination halls, results/certificate forgery, verbal/physical assault on examination administrators. Similarly, Kibler (1988, as cited in Kibler 1993) defined examination mal-practices as forms of cheating and plagiarism that involve students giving or receiving unauthorized assistance in an academic exercise or receiving credit for work that is not their own.
Examination malpractice, which is a perennial problem in higher education, is of interest to educators, researchers and the general public alike. This interest stems from the fact that academic integrity is a desirable characteristic for students and one that institutions strive to model. There is already a rather large literature on the subject, much of it reporting some of the motive that give rise to the behavior. Other reports focus on the correlates and remedies of examination malpractice. However, most of such studies, especially in Nigeria, including Hassan (1987), Adeyinka (1993) and Olasehinde (1993), employed mainly the survey technique in collecting data. Since the survey technique is inherently subjective, findings based on the technique must be accepted with caution (Johnson & Gormly, 1972). More empirical research is therefore needed to understand the problem of examination malpractice in examinations and how to deal with it.
Unfortunately, such empirical studies are hard to come by in this country. This study was thus initiated to empirically determine variable which may predispose students to cheat in examination. A number of studies have attempted to discern those characteristics and circumstances, which ‘predispose’ some students to engage in cheating. Some important variables that have been investigated include the student’ gender, age, previous academic performance and so on. Although some significant correlations between these variable and examination malpractice have been reported, research does not appear to be conclusive in establishing the significant of any of such variable in explaining student’ tendency to examination malpractice. For instance, research on gender difference in examination malpractice has yielded inconsistent results. While several studies reported that males indulge in examination malpractice more than females (eg. Lobel & Levanon, 1988; Ward & Beck, 1989; Davis, Grover, Becker & McGregor, 1992; Lobel, 1993), others found that females exhibited more examination malpractice than males (e.g. Leming, 1980) or that there were no statistically significant different between male and female student in examination malpractice (e.g. Haines, Diekhoff, Labeff & Clark, 1986; Evans & Craig, 1990). Similarly, while Drake (1941) Barnett and Dalton (1981) as well as Haines, Diekhoff, LaBeff and Clark (1986) reported that students of low academic ability cheat more than student of high academic ability, leming (1980) found no such significant difference between these categories of students.
It was considered important by the present researchers to also look for fundamental force in students’ tendency to indulge in examination malpractice. This was considered worthwhile in order to more fully understand the attitudinal process involves in examination malpractice. For this purpose, environment and socio-economic status will be considered jointly with gender differences.
Adepoju (2008) posits that the environment (urban or rural, which a child finds himself in, goes a long way in determining his learning ability and ultimately his academic performance in school. The observation of Ayodele (2000) “that learners are not performing well could not be attributed to natural dunces but most evidently because the environments created for them are not much more conducive to learning” is an affirmation of this fact. Fagbamiye (1977) in a study on secondary school in Lagos state also discovered that although school factors are stronger determination of school academic performance, they are offshoots of the socio-economic factors as far as Nigeria is concerned. He maintained further that because children from more privilege homes usually attend private primary institutions where all round educational foundation is ensured, they thus end up in secondary school with adequate educational resources and a record of good academic performance. Such fortunate children cannot but perform better in their final examinations.