Perceptions Of Polytechnic Students Towards Examination Malpractice | Open Access Journals

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Perceptions Of Polytechnic Students Towards Examination Malpractice

Ajogbeje Oke James1*, Olofinlae Olatona2 & Jeje Olusola Samuel3

1Department of Mathematics, College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

2Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

3Department of Mathematics, College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

*Corresponding Author:
Ajogbeje Oke James
Department of Mathematics
College of Education
Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria
Tel: 234-813-777-9336
E-mail: ajogbejeoke@yahoo.com/ojajogbeje@gmail.com

Received Date: 11/08/2015 Accepted Date: 04/11/2015 Published Date: 11/11/2015

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Abstract

This paper attempted to find out the perceptions of polytechnic students towards examination malpractice. The sample for the study consisted of 920 National Diploma [ND] and Higher National Diploma [HND] students of Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti randomly drawn from different subject disciplines. A questionnaire titled Examination Malpractice Perception Questionnaire (EMPQ) was used for the collection of necessary data. The data collected were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and Chi Square. The study revealed that many students have wrong concepts of examination malpractices. Some students see examination as an instrument of restriction on the ladder of success, hence the need to disobey any rules or regulations that may stand between them and success. The study therefore suggested that there is need to organize orientation lectures and seminars/talks on examination malpractice and corresponding sanctions to all students, at all levels of our educational system every semester and stakeholders in the educational sectors.

Keywords

Perception, Polytechnic students, Examination malpractices, Examination misbehaviors

Introduction

The search for a measure of students’ achievement has led to the adoption of examination among other measures. Examination, therefore, is the series of questions asked in order to determine whether or not the students have mastered what they are supposed to know or acquire. Although, students’ performance in examinations may not be the true reflection of their ability, however, it is the closest indicator of the extent of the students’ achievement in a given skill. Hence, examination becomes a tool we can adopt in determining the level of students’ ability. We can therefore use examinations to categorize students into high and low ability. Those with high ability are given preference above those with low ability. Of course, those with low ability would want the same preferential treatment and in the bid to demonstrate high ability, they go into all kinds of vices. One of such vices is examination malpractice. One educational problem that has been of more concern and which has generated very serious discussion among contemporary Nigerians is the issue of examination malpractices or misbehaviors. It constitutes one of the greatest problems confronting the school system and it is assuming dangerous proportions in our society.

There is a public outcry and deep concern by educators, parents, government functionaries and employers of labor over the consistent reports of examination malpractices in our secondary schools particularly in West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) /National Examination Council (NECO) /National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) conducted examinations, in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for admission into our Colleges of Education/ Technology and Universities conducted by Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) as well as internally and externally conducted examinations. Ezekwesili laments that the pervasive culture of examination malpractice impedes the realization of character and learning in education which is the foundation for creating and sustaining good society; nurturing the mind and ability to compete globally. Examination malpractice is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of academic development in Nigeria and it cuts across all levels of education in the country. Adaramola argued that the problem has eaten deeply into the fabrics of our educational system and the assessment of curriculum objectives is loaded with bias. He further opined that things have degenerated to the level that the validity and authencity of certificates awarded in Nigerian institutions may be questionable to the outside world [1].

Examination malpractice is not a recent phenomenon or something peculiar to Nigeria or Africa alone but it is a global issue [2]. Examination malpractices have been in existence for very long time. Although, there seems not to be a consensus agreement on the first incidence of examination malpractice in public examination because while Okoye observed that it occurred in early 1948, Famiwole claimed it occurred in 1945 [3,4]. Examination misbehaviours or malpractice has been defined variously by experts with more or less the same meaning. Eperokun posited that examination malpractices involve various methods employed by candidates to cheat before or during examination [5]. Olumero viewed examination malpractice as any examination not conducted in accordance with specified norms set up by the examining institution or body [6]. Oluyeba and Daramola also asserted that examination malpractices is an irregular behaviour 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 [7]. Olayinka defines examination malpractice as a misconduct or improper practice in any examination with a view to obtaining good results through such a fraudulent action [8]. Ongom also described examination malpractice as a wrong doing in an examination which involves misconduct, irregularity as a situation which is contrary to the established rules and directives to be followed in order to affect fair conduct of examination [9]. He further opined that misconduct is an improper behaviour by candidates within or around the examination hall and dishonesty as an unfair practice devised with intention to cheat in examinations.

Similarly, World Bank Education Website define examination malpractice as a deliberate act of wrongdoing contrary to the official examination rules and is aimed at placing a candidate at an unfair advantage or disadvantage [10,11]. Fatai also described examination malpractices as wrong doings in an examination, which involve misconduct and irregularity contrary to the established rules and directives or regulations guiding the fair conduct of both internal and external examinations [12]. It is a deliberate act of wrong doing, contrary to official rules, and is designed to place a candidate at unfair advantage or disadvantage. It is a careless, illegal or unacceptable behavior by a candidate in a formal test of his knowledge or ability and integrity of an examination [13]. Examination malpractice as used by Nwahunanya is the act of omission or commission intended to make a student pass examination without relying absolutely on his/her independent ability or resources. Nwana, while discussing aberrations on the Nigerian educational system stated that examination malpractice as the massive and unprecedented abuse of rules and regulations pertaining to internal and public examinations, beginning from the setting of such examinations through the taking of the examinations, their marking and grading, to the release of the results and the issuance of certificates. Odongbo says that examination malpractice refers to an act of wrong doing carried out by a candidate or groups of candidates or any other person with the intention to cheat & gain unfair advantage in an examination [14]. Awanbor, opines that examination malpractice is the application of unusual means to obtain a score or set of scores that is normally beyond the mental capability or the state of preparedness of a candidate for that examination. Viewing examination malpractice from both legal and moral perspectives, Salami defined examination malpractice as an improper and dishonest act associated with examination with a view to obtaining an unmerited advantage while Adaramola sees the issue in an operational term as “any situation that offers an examinee undue advantage over others in an examination” [15,16].

In summary, Makoju, Adewale, Nwangwu and Shuaibu say that whenever rules and regulations governing the conduct of any examination are not adhered to by parties involved (i.e. candidates and any other person involved in the conduct of examinations from setting the question to the release of result), then we can conclude that examination malpractice has occurred. A cursory look at the various definitions given above, show that some of the definitions refer to examination malpractice as “fraudulent” while some definitions referred to it as “wrong doings”. One can infer from these various definitions that examination malpractice:

• Is 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.

• Is an action done to gain undue advantage over other candidates which is against the rules and regulations governing the conduct of such examination?

• refers to the various irregularities, fraud, misconduct and mismanagement that occur before, during and after examinations, including contravening examination rules and regulations; using unfair means in examinations; manipulating marks and supplying fake certificates/degrees; copying into examination halls; changing and exchanging answer booklets; impersonation; misconduct in examination centres; approaching invigilators or examiners for illegal assistance; aiding and abetting; influencing or bribing or terrorizing examiners/invigilators; smuggling answer booklets into or outside the examination halls and other vices.

Oladunni opined that the results of our examinations (either internal or external) are no longer true representations of the intellectual capabilities of the examinees [17]. While Alutu and Aluede as well as Ayeni reported that evidences abound of increasing incident of examination malpractices by students in schools and colleges, which negate the purpose of education (i.e. the training of students with sound mind and character for the acquisition of practical and theoretical skills, knowledge and functional ideas for development and the search for truth) [18,19]. The general emphasis in our society today is on materialism, bribery, corruption, cultism, fraud, violence, certificate racketeering and a host of others social vices [19]. The value of examination and reliability of what it certifies had been eroded. Examination malpractices, dishonesty and fraud undermine objectivity, validity and reliability of examinations. It also divulges the certificates of integrity and credibility. Hence, stakeholders in the conduct of examination must live up their responsibilities in order to eliminate fraud and dishonesty in the system.

Various forms, modes, methods as well as causes of examination malpractices had been identified by different scholars [20-22,17]. Examination malpractices are multifarious and manifest in various forms including such practices as bringing extraneous materials into the examination hall, collusion, impersonation, unethical use of academic resources, fabrication of results, having foreknowledge of questions, mass cheating, assault on supervisors and “giraffing” [14,21,23]. The leakage of examination questions is one of the major types of examination malpractices in our educational system which occurs outside the examination halls. Leakages usually occur as a result of inadequate handling or pre-meditated sabotage during the printing and production process or while question papers are on transit from the custodian centers. It may occur through the carelessness of the examiners (subject teachers or course lecturers), inadequate precautions from the moderators, and insufficient precautions during the typing, printing and packaging processes or from the custodians of the examination question papers.

There are reported cases where teachers or lecturers shamefully collude with students to leak examination questions before examination commences in exchange for financial, material, sexual and other immoral gratifications. Leakages of examination question papers give a candidate an undue advantage of having a priori knowledge of the examination questions usually obtained through memorization, copying out or stealing of printed copies. Leakages are speedily facilitated or disseminated through cellphones, e-mails and other electronic devices. Aiding and abetting is another form of examination malpractice in which subject teachers, examiners and invigilators aid students in copying and dictating answers or solving questions on the chalkboard or sheet of papers for their candidates in the examination halls. It is very common in Mathematics and English Language papers which form basic admission requirements into higher institutions of learning. Some principals are known to have organized illegal collection of money from candidates, to buy over the conscience of any supervisor posted to their schools. Some private schools and “study centres” encourage examination malpractice through the lavish entertainment of supervisors and invigilators. Examination malpractices have assumed more serious dimension as students now prefer to register for Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) conducted by West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) outside their own schools or “Miracle Study Centres”. In these “Miracle Study Centres” answers are freely written on the chalkboard for students to copy, impersonation and other forms of examination malpractices are aggressively encouraged. Some groups of students register also in the remote village outside their domicile. Some even go to other states of the federation to register for the same examination conducted within their domicile.

Impersonation otherwise known as “mercenary” has become very rampant in both internal and external examinations like the Common Entrance Examinations into secondary schools, West African School Certificate Examination for both junior and senior school students, Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination conducted by Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board for Colleges of Education/Technology, Polytechnics and Universities. This is a situation where students hire people to write examinations for them. Students impersonate one another and sisters or brothers in the same school have been caught either writing or engaging teachers in write for their children. The “Man in Hijab nabbed at JAMB centre” is an account of impersonation reported by Olu-Aderounmu, Rotimi and Irinoye [24]. It was a case of a male impersonator who disguised as a female to take the University Matriculation Examination. Parents have also been known to have hired and paid touts to impersonate their children. They usually pay them some money depending on the number of subjects or the type of subjects to be impersonated. Sometimes they even lift these children and impersonators to the examination centres. Impersonation has reached a complexity state where the impersonator and the ‘bonafide’ candidate will sit together in the examination hall or the while the impersonator is in the examination hall while the ‘bonafide’ candidate is outside the hall to ensure that the contractor is doing the job well. With the ‘settlement’ of the supervisors, invigilators and security agents, the officials neglect their duties by avoiding thorough checks on candidates.

Copying during examination is exhibited in different forms ranging from copying from papers or notes taken into the examination hall to making use to information taken into the examination hall illegally, such as hidden formulae, important dates and definitions. Jottings are based on the key point of what they were thought in the classes, students’ pre–knowledge of the examination questions or perceived and anticipated likely examination questions. Students usually prepare and copy the answers to the anticipated questions using small pieces of papers, notebooks, toilet papers, currency notes, questions papers of previous examinations, blank pieces of papers, the desk, walls, handkerchiefs, rulers, four figure tables, socks, shirts waste-slips, mathematical set box, pockets, hidden on their hairs, brassier and other parts of their bodies into the examination halls. Regrettably, students sometimes swallow the jottings to avoid being caught or even when caught in the examination hall. Candidates have been caught with notes on their palms and thighs, on the helm of their trouser or on their shoes where invigilators or supervisors cannot easily detect it. A story was told of a female candidate who wrote brief notes on her baby’s body and when the supervisor took the baby from her mother to stop her from crying and disturbing other candidates, the supervisor discovered on removing the baby’s dress to reduce the sweat, the write up on her baby’s body. Students have advanced in cheating; they have moved from the simple lodgment or hiding documents in their private parts to the utilization of technology in the form of mobile phones (SMS, voicemail etc.) to record, store and transmit information.

The most common method of copying fellow candidates in any examination is giraffing which involves a student stretching his/her neck to copy from another student with or without his/her knowledge or consent. Another method very close to giraffing is pairing system which entails students arranging among themselves how to assist or copy from one another or exchange information written on pieces of paper. They usually sit very close to each other and copy from each other, attempt the same questions and use the same language or write “word for word”. Another method is academic alliance in which dull or weak students usually “settle” the bright ones and arrange to seat with them, so as to guarantee the flow of information. Candidates do exchange their answer booklets and write for each other in different handwriting and types of ink. Some students jot down answers on their question papers and pass round among members. Students also whispers in coded language to one another, especially in objective questions. Some teachers even join the students in the use of coded language in answering the objectives. The five fingers are coded A to E beginning from the thumb.

Some students in their desperate effort to acquire results or certificates that qualify them to gain admissions into higher institutions or secure a job have resorted to forgery of Senior School Certificate results. Some have gone ahead to delete the deficient scores in their statements of results and replace them with the exact scores that will serve their purposes. Some of these perpetrators have gained admissions with these forged results and have graduated while some were “fished out” when verifications of results were carried by their institution. There are instances when marks and grades are altered for candidates for financial benefits or some other undignified reasons by teachers and lecturers. Supplying of pre-written answer-sheets or rewriting of examination is another form of examination malpractices which is done during and after examination at a specified cost. This method entails the smuggling of answer sheets along with question papers out of the examination hall soon after the commencement of the examination and later smuggled in before the end of the stipulated examination duration or during submission time. Some teachers or lecturers also arranged with students especially female students to re-write an already completed examination at a convenient time with the completion of the spaces provided in the used examination script or by providing another new examination script and possible solutions to the examination questions. This is unethical and unprofessional on the parts of teachers, examiners and collaborators.

The increasing rate of examination malpractices might have resulted from the large number of candidates fielded for examinations coupled with the present day speedy dissemination of information through phone, e-mails and other electronic medias in addition to the speedy human mobility brought about by land and air transport system. Over the past few years, attention has been given to the issue of examination malpractice in Nigerian institutions of learning. Since the middle of the 1990’s examination malpractices’ seminars, workshops, conferences, rallies and campaigns were organized across the nation to address the decadence. In spite of these studies and strategies, examination malpractices have been on the increase. The alarming rate of its increase in Nigeria calls for novel ways to redress the situation. Different forms of solutions have also been suggested. All the same, Ayeni pointed out that the final solution to examination malpractice appeared not to be in sight, because every move to curb cheating inevitably suggests and generates other methods of cheating [19].

One is tempted to ask if decrees stipulating various degree of punishments for examination malpractices cannot stem cheating, how much worth or emphasis could be laid on the certificates being awarded by our institutions knowing fully well that examination scores are being inflated by all sorts of means apart from the normal human errors. What are the features of examination behaviours, which can be reduced or improved upon among polytechnics or Nigerian students at large? Hence, this study is an attempt at finding means of curbing the incidences of examination malpractices in our schools. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the perception of polytechnic students towards examination malpractice and to determine the degree of association between class and students’ perception of examination malpractice, gender and students’ perception of examination malpractice.

Research Questions

In order to address the above stated problem the following research questions are raised

1. What is the general perception of students towards examination malpractice?

2. What is the relationship between the level of academic exposure and students’ perception of Examination Malpractices?

3. What is the degree of association between gender and students’ perception of Examination Malpractices?

Method

The research design is descriptive survey which examines systematically the characteristics of examination malpractices by analyzing data collected from Polytechnic Students. The sample for this study consisted of nine hundred and twenty [9-20] National Diploma [ND] and Higher National Diploma [HND] students randomly drawn from Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti. The students were in year II [final year class] of their programmes. These sets of students were chosen for the study in order to have a reflection of their past experiences in examination matters since they had taken three semester examinations [two in year I, one in year II] in the Polytechnic. A questionnaire, Examination Malpractice Perception Questionnaire [EMPQ] was constructed and used by the researchers to collect data for the study. The items in the questionnaire requested for responses of the respondents on a fourpoint scale: Strongly Agree (SA); Agree (A); Disagree (D) and Strongly Disagree (SD).

The validity of the instrument was reviewed for face and content validity by two experienced lecturers in counseling and psychology and two lecturers in measurement and evaluation. The reliability coefficient (Cronbach alpha = 7. 58 for EMPQ) was considered high enough for the research. The instrument was administered to the respondents at a predetermined lecture hall by the researchers with the assistance of two other colleagues. A weighted mean value of 2.5 (4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10 ÷ 4) was used as the criterion cut off point. The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis using chi – square (χ2) test.

Results & Discussions

Research Question 1: What is the general perception of students towards examination malpractice?

Table 1 shows the results mean (μ) and standard deviation (σ) obtained from the analysis of students responses to their perception towards examination malpractices. Table 1 reveals that the perceptions of the respondents differ on a number of issues.

S/N STATEMENTS μ σ
1. I cheat whenever the questions are difficult 3.52 1.77
2. I cheat in examination due to lack of confidence in myself 3.47 1.52
3. I don’t have enough time to read for examination hence, the interest is cheating 3.20 1.51
4. Cheating in examination makes me feel guilty 2.77 0.84
5. I do not feel guilty  cheating in an examination whenever the teacher fails to teach well 3.01 0.94
6. I cheat because my friends cheat in examination 2.53 1.67
7. Cheating is encouraging, since many people who cheat often escape punishment 3.01 1.23
8. Cheating is not necessary if one has read well before examination 3.44 1.56
9. No matter how hard you read, if you don’t cheat, you will fail 1.87 0.78
10. Only people that cheat, have high scores in internal and external examination 1.92 1.14
11. Some teachers encourage cheating during examinations 2.76 1.05
12. Parents encourage their children to cheat 3.61 1.15
13. Cheating is necessary in competitive examinations in order to qualify for job opportunity 3.67 1.75
14. You cannot pass examinations these days in Nigerians without cheating 2.70 1.27
15. The Nigerian norms encourage cheating in examination 2.66 0.89
16. It is difficult to stop cheating in examinations in schools 3.03 1.62
17. Cheating is alright in difficult examination with large failures e.g. mathematics subject 3.47 1.08
18. If I do not cheat, those who do will have advantage over me 3.07 1.13
19. I do not believe I can pass without people assisting me 1.82 0.93
20. Some teachers help students to pass 2.47 0.85
21. Some principals arrange for corporate cheating in their schools 2.00 0.97
22. My parents do not oppose using any opportunity I have to cheat 1.23 1.46
23. It is good to arrange to sit next to someone in order to copy from his/her paper 1.23 1.46
24. If I do not cheat in the examination it is difficult for me to pass well 3.01 1.16
25. I was encouraged to cheat in examination because the invigilator cooperated 2.75 1.88
26. Cheating in examination was introduced to me by a typist who requested for money in exchange for question paper 1.05 0.77
27. I intend to further my studies in tertiary institution, hence I need to cheat to pass examinations 3.81 1.25
28. Since I need a certificate, it does not matter how I get it, cheating inclusive. 3.41 1.70

Table 1. Mean and standard deviation of responses of students’ perception towards examination malpractices.

Table 1 reveals the mean (μ) and standard deviation (σ) of responses of students’ perceptions towards examination malpractice. Item 1 depicts that a large number of the respondents agreed that they cheated in examinations whenever the questions were difficult (μ = 3.52). Item 2 equally shows that many of the respondents cheated in examinations because they lacked confidence in themselves (item 2, μ = 3.47). Many of the respondents were interested in cheating because they have no time to prepare or read very well for examination (item 3, μ = 3.20). However, item 9 with (item 9, μ = 1.87) and item 10 with (item 10, μ = 1.92) reveal that some the respondents agreed that no matter how hard you read, if you do not cheat, you cannot pass an examination and that it is only the students that cheat in an examination that obtain high scores. The students also opined that in Nigeria today, you cannot pass any examination without cheating (item 14, μ = 2.70). This implies, therefore, that it is necessary to cheat in competitive examinations (item13, μ = 3.67) in order to qualify for job opportunity. That is, if you do not cheat, those who do, will have advantage over you (item 18, μ = 3.07).

Table 1 also reveals that some respondents get involved in examination malpractices because their friends are involved (item 6, μ = 2.53). The respondents also agreed that cheating is encouraged because students who were caught cheating often escape punishment (item 7, μ = 3.01). Item 11 with (item 11, μ = 2.76), 12 with (item 12, μ = 3.61) and 21 with (item 21, μ = 2.00) indicate that teachers, principals and parents often encourage their students or wards to cheat in both internal and external examinations. Respondents also agreed that Nigerian societal norms support cheating (item 15, μ = 2.66), and that invigilators are readily supportive in examination cheating (item 25, μ = 2.73) while some parents are very supportive of using any available means of cheating by their wards to cheat (item 22, μ = 1.23). Finally, items 27 and 28 suggested that students get involved in examination malpractices purposely to own a certificate (item 28, μ = 3.41) or enable them further their studies (item 27, μ =3.81).

Research Question 2: What is the relationship between the level of academic exposure and students’ perception of Examination Malpractices?

Table 2 reveals a significant relationship between the level of academic exposure and

S/N STATEMENTS % of each group
Level SA A D SD X2 Sig.
1. I cheat whenever the questions are difficult ND II 180 125 115 145 0.211 0.976
HND II 112 83 70 90
2. I cheat in examination due to lack of confidence in myself ND II 191 134 115 125 14.349* 0.002
HND II 81 85 92 97
3. I don’t have enough time to read for examination hence, the interest is cheating ND II 150 131 134 150 0.551 0.908
HND II 88 82 84 101
4. Cheating in examination makes me feel guilty ND II 131 151 146 137 2.436 0.487
HND II 78 83 94 100
5. I do not feel guilty  to cheat in the examination whenever the teacher fails to teach well ND II 73 139 131 122 28.394* 0.000
HND II 94 91 185 85
6. I cheat because my friends cheat in examination ND II 270 42 133 120 85.953* 0.000
HND II 81 89 93 92
7. Cheating is encouraging, since many people who cheat often escape punishment ND II 172 139 121 133 2.102 0.552
HND II 94 92 86 83
8. Cheating is not necessary if one has read well before examination ND II 169 144 127 125 2.238 0.524
HND II 91 91 86 87
9. No matter how hard you read, if you don’t cheat, you will fail ND II 154 124 139 148 2.481 0.479
HND II 82 89 91 93
10. Only people that cheat, have high scores in internal and external examination ND II 164 134 121 146 0.855 0.836
HND II 94 84 82 95
11. Some teachers encourage cheating during examinations ND II 160 128 102 175 8.174* 0.043
HND II 83 85 89 98
12. Parents encourage their children to cheat ND II 145 126 143 151 3.949 0.267
HND II 80 99 84 92
13. Cheating is necessary in competitive examinations in order to qualify for job opportunity ND II 151 135 130 149 1.727 0.631
HND II 97 84 92 82
14. You cannot pass examinations these days in Nigeria without cheating ND II 174 124 125 142 8.562* 0.040
HND II 83 89 92 91
15. The Nigerian norm encourage cheating in examination ND II 148 133 130 154 1.530 0.675
HND II 85 90 90 90
16. It is difficult to stop cheating in examinations in schools ND II 157 124 145 139 3.703 0.295
HND II 81 92 90 92
17. Cheating is alright in difficult examination with large failures e.g. mathematics subject ND II 175 135 122 133 1.525 0.676
HND II 98 92 83 82
18. If I do not cheat, those who do will have advantage over me ND II 139 133 140 153 1.096 0.778
HND II 85 91 92 87
19. I do not believe I can pass without people assisting me ND II 166 131 129 139 2.895 0.408
HND II 87 86 92 90
20. Some teachers help students to pass ND II 197 122 138 108 15.079* 0.002
HND II 83 89 92 91
21. Some principals arrange for corporate cheating in their schools ND II 176 143 127 119 2.768 0.429
HND II 93 93 85 84
22. My parents do not oppose using any opportunity I have to cheat ND II 169 136 119 141 5.112 0.164
HND II 85 88 92 90
23. It is good to arrange to sit next to someone in order to copy from his/her paper ND II 174 131 131 129 3.404 0.333
HND II 90 85 88 92
24. If I do not cheat in the examination it is difficult for me to pass well ND II 175 135 122 133 80.254* 0.000
HND II 85 91 89 90
25. I was encouraged to cheat in examination  because the invigilator cooperated ND II 155 143 127 140 2.346 0.504
HND II 85 85 91 94
26. Cheating in examination. was introduced to me by a typist who requested for money in exchange for question paper ND II 159 139 127 140 2.386 0.496
HND II 87 86 80 102
27. I intend to further my studies in tertiary institution, hence I need to cheat to pass examinations ND II 157 145 137 126 4.402 0.221
HND II 82 86 90 97
28. I need a certificate, it does not matter how I get it, cheating inclusive. ND II 164 134 127 140 5.206 0.157
HND II 80 99 84 92

Table 2. Relationship between the level of academic exposure and students’ perception of examination malpractices.

(1) Students’ cheating in examination due to lack of confidence in themselves (χ2 = 14.349,

P < 0.05); (2) students’ feeling guilty for cheating in the examination due to the failure of teachers or lecturers to teach well (χ2 =28.394, P < 0.05); (3) students’ cheating in examination because others are cheating (χ2 = 85.953, P < 0.05); (4) the encouragement given to students to cheat in examination (χ2 = 8.174, P < 0.05); (5) students’ belief that one cannot pass examination in Nigeria today without cheating (χ2 = 8.562, P < 0.05); (6) the assistance rendered to students by teachers in order to pass examination (χ2 = 15.079, P < 0.05) and (7) students’ difficulty in passing examination without cheating. All the same, the relationship between the level of academic exposure and all other indices of students’ perception of examination malpractices time were not significant at 0.05.

Research Question 3: What is the relationship between gender and students’ perception of Examination Malpractices?

Table 3 depicts the relationship between gender and students’ perception of examination malpractices.

S/N STATEMENTS % of each group
Gender SA A D SD X2 Sig.
1. I cheat whenever the questions are difficult Male 150 135 140 160 1.378 0.711
Female 75 83 80 97
2. I cheat in examination due to lack of confidence in myself Male 196 139 120 130 14.196* 0.003
Female 75 81 87 92
3. I don’t have enough time to read for exam hence, the interest is cheating Male 155 136 139 155 3.900 0.272
Female 73 77 79 106
4. Cheating in examination makes me feel guilty Male 151 151 146 137 2.278 0.517
Female 80 78 85 92
5. I do not feel guilty  to cheat in the exam whenever the teacher fails to teach well Male 178 144 136 127 1.671 0.643
Female 89 86 80 80
6. I cheat because my friends cheat in examination Male 175 147 138 125 7.660* 0.045
Female 76 84 88 87
7. Cheating is encouraging, since many people who cheat often escape punishment Male 174 147 126 138 1.480 0.687
Female 89 87 81 78
8. Cheating is not necessary if one has read well before examination Male 174 149 132 130 2.046 0.563
Female 86 92 75 82
9. No matter how hard you read, if you don’t cheat, you will fail Male 159 129 144 153 0.536 0.911
Female 84 77 86 88
10. Only people that cheat, have high scores in internal and external examination Male 169 139 126 151 0.705 0.872
Female 89 79 77 90
11. Some teachers encourage cheating during examinations Male 163 133 107 182 9.348* 0.039
Female 78 80 84 93
12. Parents encourage their children to cheat Male 150 131 148 156 4.012 0.260
Female 75 94 79 87
13. Cheating is necessary in competitive examinations in order to qualify for job opportunity Male 156 139 135 155 1.833 0.608
Female 92 79 87 77
14. You cannot pass examinations these days in Nigeria without cheating Male 179 129 130 147 6.214 0.102
Female 78 84 87 86
15. The Nigerian norm encourage cheating in examination Male 153 138 135 159 1.446 0.695
Female 80 85 85 85
16. It is difficult to stop cheating in examinations in schools Male 162 129 150 144 3.618 0.306
Female 76 87 85 87
17. Cheating is alright in difficult exam with large failures e.g. mathematics subject Male 180 140 127 138 1.279 0.734
Female 93 87 78 77
18. If I do not cheat, those who do will have advantage over me Male 144 138 145 158 1.068 0.785
Female 80 86 87 82
19. I do not believe I can pass without people assisting me Male 171 136 135 143 2.641 0.450
Female 82 81 87 85
20. Some teachers help students to pass Male 202 127 143 113 14.080* 0.003
Female 78 84 87 86
21. Some principals arrange for corporate cheating in their schools Male 181 148 132 124 2.378 0.498
Female 88 88 80 79
22. My parents do not oppose using any opportunity I have to cheat Male 174 141 124 146 4.823 0.185
Female 80 83 87 85
23. I prefer arranging to sit with someone in order to copy his / or her paper Male 179 136 136 134 3.105 0.376
Female 85 80 83 87
24. If I do not cheat in the examination it is difficult for me to pass well Male 180 140 127 138 5.171 0.160
Female 80 86 84 85
25. I was encouraged to cheat in examination  because the invigilator cooperated Male 160 148 132 145 2.135 0.545
Female 83 77 86 89
26. Cheating in examination was introduced to me by a typist who requested for money in exchange for question paper Male 157 144 139 145 2.053 0.561
Female 82 81 75 97
27. I intend to further my studies in tertiary institution; hence I need to cheat to pass exams. Male 162 150 142 131 4.361 0.225
Female 77 81 85 92
28. I need a certificate, it does not matter how I get it, cheating inclusive. Male 169 139 132 145 5.163 0.160
Female 75 94 79 87

Table 3. Relationship between gender and students’ perception of examination malpractices.

Table 3 reveals a significant relationship between student gender and (1) Students’ cheating in examination due to lack of confidence in themselves (χ2 = 14.349, P < 0.05); (2) students’ feeling guilty for cheating in the examination due to the failure of teachers or lecturers to teach well (χ2 =28.394, P < 0.05); (3) students’ cheating in examination because others are cheating (χ2 = 85.953, P < 0.05); (4) the encouragement given to students to cheat in examination (χ2 = 8.174, P < 0.05); (5) students’ belief that one cannot pass examination in Nigeria today without cheating (χ2 = 8.562, P < 0.05); (6) the assistance rendered to students by teachers in order to pass examination (χ2 = 15.079, P < 0.05) and (7) students’ difficulty in passing examination without cheating. All the same, the relationship between students’ gender and all other indices of students’ perception of examination malpractices were not significant at 0.05.

DISCUSSION

The ever–growing malaise of examination malpractice seems to stems from students’ wrong perceptions towards examination because most of them have negative constructs as regards what learners derive from examination. The findings of this study shows that many of the respondents cheated in examinations because they lacked confidence in themselves and this might not be unconnected with the respondents’ interest in cheating because they have no time to prepare or read very well for examination. This result corroborates the assertion of Kano, Ayeni that students who engaged in examination malpractices do not perceive examination as a challenge to learning or to require skills, rather they see it as an instrument for oppression, humiliation and restriction on the ladder of success. And that a person’s ability to obtain a decent job and his socio-economic mobility are by and large, a function of his performance in a certain examination [25,19].

Contrary to the view expressed by Kareem that in order to succeed in examination, students need to be emotionally as well as intellectually prepared, this study found out that students did not often attend their lectures or prepare well in advance for their examinations [26]. Rather they had lost confidence in themselves and believed that they cannot pass no matter how hard they prepare. What is more, some parents aided and abated their wards in cheating by pursuing live question papers to support them rather than urge the students to prepare thoroughly for examination. This finding is in line with the position of Nanna that parents and school teachers’ aid examination malpractice to enable students get undeserved grades [27]. These studies like that of Alutu and Aluuede found that majority of students believed that cheating is part of Nigerians’ norms [18]. Hence their involvement in examination malpractice is a matter of joining the bandwagon. In fact, indulgence in examination malpractice has the support of some parents, invigilators, teachers, and principals. School principals organize corporate cheating in their schools during external examinations, thus turning their schools to “miracle centers” where all examinees, as a matter compulsion, must pass.

This findings is in agreement with view expressed by Alutu and Aluede, Ayeni that due to breakdown in our value system, success is no longer sees as a function no hard work [18,19]. As parents are busy searching for easy ways or short-cuts to riches or wealth, their wards and children are busy too planning to obtain certificates at all cost. Success, today, is measured by how much you can acquire certificates and good grades at school, without bothering about the process. Many teachers who had not taught well or covered the prescribed contents had no choice than to aid their students to cheat in order to pass. The teachers wanted the students to pass, since it is seen as a measure to good teaching. The results of this study pointed to the fact that majority of students have a wrong conception about examination ethics. For instance they conceived examination ethics to include; violating examination rule at will, condoning examination misconducts, assisting friends and cheating in examination provided you are not caught, bribing invigilator and supervisors etc.

Conclusion

Examination malpractice is a contagious and cancerous virus that has spread throughout the nooks and crannies of the society and has eaten deeply into the fabrics of the entire nation. All stakeholders- government, school authorities, parents, guardians, students/pupils, and the public have all contributed in one form or the other to the menace and malaise. Nothing short of a holistic approach - cleansing the society and the whole educational system will solve the problem. The task requires urgent attention in order to redeem our totally tarnished or battered image locally, nationally and internationally. If our country will emerge as a first class world power and breakthrough technologically, all examination leakages and other dishonest practices must be done away with because no nation can rise above or beyond her education level.

The respondents affirm that there is prevalence of examination malpractices before, during and after examination in our educational institutions. However, it can be concluded that there is no significant difference in the mean perception between male and female students as well as between ND and HND students of the existence of examination malpractice in the polytechnics.

Recommendations

There is great need for team effort to tame this social malaise that is inimical to our academic development. It is hereby recommended that emphasis should be placed on moral instructions and value re-orientation in all our educational institutions to combat examination malpractice. Students should be taught the virtues of hard work, honesty, dignity of labour as well as examination ethics and sanctions. In fact, examination ethics should be made a subject of study at every level of schooling and its content must include: the grooming students in values of study, study habits and development of study skills. The undue emphasis placed on paper qualifications should be reduced so as to minimize the rate at which students commit examination malpractice to acquire these paper qualifications. School graduates should be subjected to vigorous tests in the course of seeking for employment so as to assess their abilities and as a means of reducing examination malpractice. Similarly, the administration and conduct of examination should be entrusted to the care of men and women of proven integrity. Class teachers, school principals, invigilators, supervisors and examining bodies’ official must be well informed about their expected behaviours, actions, and secrecy of examination question entrusted into their cares and the need for them to abide with examination ethics. Again, government has enacted the relevant laws on examination malpractice. These laws must be implemented to the later and bitter lessons must be set for students to see so as to serve as deterrent to others. Guidance and counseling services should be adopted in our educational institutions so as to reduce cases of examination malpractice. And there is need to provide adequate teaching and learning materials. Libraries and laboratories should be stocked with the needed textbooks, chemicals and apparatus for effective teaching and learning. Finally, there is need to identify other alternative ways (such as Computer Based Test (CBT) currently in use by Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in the conduct of its Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)) of assessing students' ability other than conventional paper and pencil examinations.

References