- Background of the Study
Evidence abound of increasing incidents of examination malpractices by students at schools and colleges; which conflict with the core purpose of education-the training of the mind and character for the acquisition of practical and theoretical skills, knowledge and functional ideas for development; and the search for truth and knowledge and the creation and communication of ideas ( Aaron, 1992).
In Nigeria, the first publicly reported case of examination malpractice occurred in 1914 when there was a leakage of question papers in the senior Cambridge local Examination.
Ever since, there have been cases of irregularities reported on a yearly basis while the outstanding years were 1963, 1967,1970, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1991,1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,2002,2003 (West African Examination Council, 2004). The major forms of examination malpractices reported are: Impersonation, bringing in foreign materials (books, calculator), substituting worked scripts, stealing, converting, misappropriating scripts; collusion in the examination hall (copying), mass/organized cheating involving assistance from teachers and outsiders; and insult/assault on supervisors/invigilators (Oluyeba and Daramola, 1992). This trend in examination malpractices is inimical to academic development and advancement and needs to be drastically addressed.
Examination malpractice can be defined as a deliberate act of wrong doing, contrary to official rules, and is designed to place a candidate at an unfair advantage or disadvantage; it is a careless, illegal or unacceptable behaviour by a candidate in a formal test of his knowledge or ability in a particular subject (Philemon, 2007). It could also be said to be an act of omission or commission which compromises the validity and integrity of any examination (Okwu, 2006). Examination malpractice is counter-practice that is against ethics of examination, it is an act of disrespect to all rules and regulations guiding the good conduct of any examination or any evaluation process.
Examination malpractice is an illegal or unethical behaviour by somebody in the process of testing an examinee’s ability or knowledge by means of question (Ikupa, 1997). Oluyeba and Daramola (1992) remarked that 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 regulations governing the conduct of such examination. Such examination malpractice will include any of the following: examination leakage, impersonation, cheating, collusion, swapping of scripts, smuggling of answer scripts in examination halls, result/certificate forgery, verbal/physical assault on examination administrators.
Similarly, 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.
In Nigeria the last two decades have witnessed an alarming rate of crisis of examination misconduct especially in the Secondary and tertiary institutions. It has been widely reported that parents aid and abet examination malpractices directly or indirectly because they even go to the extent of bribing their way through to ensure that their wards get unearned grades. The teachers on their part encourage examination malpractices because they lack the zeal to work and at the end would want to be praised for a job, which was never done thus graduating students who do not actually possess the abilities for which they were examined (Nanna, 1997).
Examination malpractice is not a recent phenomenon or is it peculiar to Nigeria or Africa; but it is a global issue (Ikupa, 1997). However, the alarming rate of its increase in Nigeria calls for novel ways to redress the situation. Examination misconduct has some social and psychological dimensions, which the counselor should address with holistic intervention. Good grades in any examination are gateways to further education and entry into the world of work. But if the value systems of our youths are well constructed, the examination ethics should be adhered to. According to Omoluabi (1993) and Uzoka (1993), our value system has broken down completely and so adults and youths alike act without moral scruples. The general emphasis in our society today is on materialism, bribery, corruption, cultism, sexual promiscuity, fraud, violence, certificate racketeering and a host of other social vices. Aina (1996) succinctly stated that, ethics and integrity are the solution to all the examination ills.
Hence, the social, political and economic structure of this nation is dependent on the promotion of examination ethics; and that hard work is a virtue which once cultivated takes one through life and forms the foundation for an enduring success. Alutu (2002) in a seminar to Secondary School students in Benin City on academic excellence drew students’ attention to the 3p’s —praying, planning and persistent hard work— to academic excellence. The students who were mainly from a Christian community were made to know that praying to God for success without matching it with good study plans and use of time and persistent hard work will not lead them to achieve the goal of academic excellence. In the WAEC conducted examination in 1991, 30,982 students were involved in examination malpractices while 35,479 were reported in 1992. Shonekan (1996) opines that 1992-1995 a total of 2,818,679 candidates sat for the May/June and November/December Senior School Certificate Examinations and 350,902 candidates’ results were withheld for examination malpractices. Oriola (2003) reports that in 2003 JAMB (Joint Admission and Matriculation Board) 1,099,241 sat for the examination and 116,990 candidates representing 11.5% results were withheld for various examination offences. Jimoh (2009) states that the Federal Ministry of Education blacklisted and derecognized 324 secondary schools across the nation as centers for conducting public examinations from 2007 to 2010.
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