DETERMINANT OF EXAM MALPRACTICE AMONG STUDENTS IN THE UNIVERSITY
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University examinations form the final and most integral part of assessing any student’s achievement, knowledge, skills, and attitudes. However, there has been a public outcry over the rise of irregularities in primary, secondary, and even university examinations. The purpose of this research university student. The study design was a descriptive survey. A sample of two hundred students was selected using random sampling technique. Data were collected using a questionnaire, structured interview, and document analysis. A pilot study was carried out in the school of education in one of the public universities. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics generated with the help of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme, and were presented by use of frequency tables. The results revealed that majority of the students do not attend lectures, and factors such as lack of preparedness for examinations, peer influence, pressure from work place, and students’ lack of confidence were some of the factors contributing to cheating in examinations. Effective procedures and policies for management of examinations are also recommended to be put in place, strictly observed, and effective deterrent measures be implemented. It was recommended that employers give off-days or study leave to staff who enroll for various courses.
1.1 Background of the study
University examinations form a very important part in assessing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of students who have reached the highest academic institutions in any country. The management of national examinations for primary and secondary schools in Kenya is largely the responsibility of the Kenya National Examinations Council, which lays out the rules and regulations governing the conduct of examinations. Each university in Nigeria has its rules and regulations governing the management of examinations. For example, in University of Nigeria, there are rules and regulations that govern the management and conduct of undergraduate and postgraduate examinations (University of Nigeria, 2009). In the rules and regulations are stipulated categories of examination irregularities, procedures for dealing with examination irregularities, and the penalties for various categories of examination irregularities such as: one or a combination of actions like giving a warning, cancellation of examination results, suspensions for a given period of time, or expulsion from the university, depending on the nature of the irregularity committed. The rules and regulations highlight areas that constitute an examination irregularity, and hence, warn students against committing the stated offences. Despite of the fact that examinations are important in primary school, secondary school, and university assessments of achievement, there have been increasing cases of irregularities reported before, during, and after administration of the examinations. This has raised a public outcry especially as a result of cases of reported examination leakages, sale of examination papers prior to examination periods, and cancelled examination results. Cheating in examinations occurs in every country in the world (Harold & Max, 2001). Examination has been generally accepted as the best means of assessment. It is a formal test of knowledge or ability. In fact, 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 has been introduced into the system. Adesina (2000) traced the history of examination malpractice in Nigeria to 1914. 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.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The government and the parents are spending a lot in financing education in Nigeria. At the same time, the education sector is responsible for producing the manpower that will be expected to propel the government towards realization of vision 2030. The government and parents are concerned about the kind of graduates produced in the learning institutions especially after several cases of examination cheating were reported. Cheating in examinations should be discouraged since it has a negative influence on the future of society. According to Alutu and Alutu (2003), examination malpractice is undesirable behavior and should be sternly discouraged. The negative impact of examination cheating on society is supported by Becker, Connoly, Lentz, and Morrison (2006) who established that dishonesty in the work place is influenced by dishonesty while attending university. This then suggests that those students who cheat were likely to cheat after studies and while in their work places. Since a number of factors may influence the decision to cheat, Kisamore, Stone, and Jawahar (2007); and McCabe, Trevino, and Butterfield (2001) found that personal factors and situational factors affect intentions to cheat. The purpose of this research was to investigate student factors which influenced cheating in undergraduate university examinations.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study has two main objectives; the main objectives and the specific objective. The main objectives is to ascertain the determinant of exam malpractice among students in the university; the specific objectives are;
- i) To examine the causes of examination malpractice among university students
- ii) To ascertain if there is any significant relationship between examination malpractice and academic performance of student in higher institutions
iii) To examine the impact of examination malpractice on the quality of graduate in Nigeria higher institutions
- iv) To proffer suggested solution to the identified problem
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research question were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the studies
- i) Are there factors that causes examination malpractice among university students?
- ii) Is there any significant relationship between examination malpractice and academic performance of student in higher institutions?
iii) Does examination malpractice have any impact on the quality of graduate in Nigeria higher institutions?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;
H0: There is no significant relationship between examination malpractice and academic performance of student in higher institutions
H1: There is a significant relationship between examination malpractice and academic performance of student in higher institutions
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findi gs will be of great important to the management of Nigeria higher institutions as the findings will be of great importance to aid them in policy formation to ameliorate the pandemic of exam malpractice in Nigeria institutions of learning, the study will also be useful to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further studies, the study will also be useful to parents, teachers, students, lecturers, government and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature and also contribute to knowledge in the subject matter.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the determinant of exam malpractice among students in the university but in the cause of the study, there were some factors that limit the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE: Examination malpractice is defined as a deliberate wrong doing contrary to official examination rules designed to place a candidate at unfair advantage or disadvantage.
A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery class preparation or to submit evidence of progress towards that mastery.
University is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines.
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