INVESTIGATION OF THE WIDESPREAD AND MANAGEMENT OF EXAMINATION MALPRACTICES IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the Study

 

 

The main objective of education being it formal or informal is to equip the student with the requisite knowledge and skills to enable him or her contribute effectively to the national development effort. This training in school demands periodic assessment and evaluation in the form of test, project, practicals or examinations in order to ascertain the level of achievement of knowledge and competence of the students. Since, education assessment covered all aspect of the curriculum then it is going to be tedious exercise and consumes substantial time of classroom teacher and the school. Educational assessment can be define as the process of documenting usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. The assessment conducted can focus on the individual learner, the learning community (class, workshop, or other organized group of learners) the institution or the educational system as a whole. At the end of assessment exercise, marks are awarded to students who have participated. These marks tell a student that knowledge and skills have been mastered, and at the same time also show areas of weakness so that it can be the focus of the future learning activities. Furthermore, this method of assessment is used to monitor the quality of school system, evaluate education policies and programs as well as make important instructional decisions about students.

 

It is important to note therefore, that conducting school examinations for maintaining educational standards faces a lot of challenges at all levels but more importantly at NCE level in Nigeria. The reason behind this is that these level results serve as a stepping stone for employment into teaching and a qualification for further studies at higher level. Among the challenges include test/examination administration, releases of results and certificates as well as examination malpractice. Thus, before administration of examination, the questions have to be developed to an

 

expected standard. This process involves more than the commissioning, development and production of examination question papers. However, it begins from the development of the examination syllabuses which are derived from the teaching NCCE syllabuses (or minimum standard) developed by the Nigerian Commission for colleges of education (NCCE). Furthermore, examination questions development involves the provision of test specifications table or blue print to guide the lecturers/teachers as well as those who will eventually compile the examination papers. In order to ensure the validity, reliability as well as the right standard of the test, copies of questions and marking schemes are sent to external moderators. The moderator who is senior lecturer from the university or sister college of education, analyze and make corrections before the final production and administration of the examination. In some colleges newly employed staff receives orientation in the following areas that have to do with examination

 

  1. Setting of essay and multiple choice questions

 

  1. Development of marking schemes and scoring keys

 

  1. Standard fixing or Award of marks

 

  1. Investigating and recommending cases of examination irregularities, with a view to ensuring as much as practicable that no candidates benefit from an undue or unlawful advantage over the

Upon all these efforts by the colleges and external examining assessor to ensure reliability and validity of the questions, some students still struggle illegitimately for higher grades through academic dishonesty popularly known as examination malpractices.

 

Therefore, it is against this background, that students, in colleges of education and at times supported by parents/guardians considered as a top priority to produce higher scores or grades by all means either legitimate through adequate preparation for the examination, financing and monitoring of the system or illegitimately through cheating or examination malpractices. The attitude of students during examination and that of over dependence on certificate for employment

 

by government and private organization in recent time led to crazy rush by students and some parents to struggle for certificate even through cheating.

 

Therefore, examination malpractice in Nigeria today no doubt has attained a frightening proportion not only to teachers and school administrators, but to various interest groups, concerned citizens, some parents, employers of labor and even international organizations. The practice employed by students is highly sophisticated and institutionalized. The menace of examination malpractices in Nigeria these day is threatening to uproot the very foundation of the country educational system, which has being built as the avenue or vehicle for inculcation of moral and ethical values to our youths (Harbour, 2000, Dibu, 2000, Ahmad and Bala, 2000, Yaroson 2004, Money and Onojete, 2007, and Aisha, 2008). It is truism that the hope of any society being it traditional or modern, micro or macro largely depends on its honest and dedicated youths who are free from all evils that disrupt  the entire fabric of the system.

 

In view of the ever increasing incidence of examination malpractices and the problems associated with the conduct of examination in Colleges of Education in Nigeria, this study was undertaken to look into the various type, causes effects and management of the menace. Thus, the management of examination malpractices in Nigeria Colleges of Education largely depends on the school leadership and the style employed, the role of examination malpractices committee (EMIC) and action taken by the Academic Board. Some scholars contend that the school heads must handle the problem of examination malpractices not only using appropriate styles but at the right time or rather act quickly. Studies show that if problems are not handled in good or appropriate time, it will get worse and if allowed unchecked may reached an extremely difficult or dangerous point.

 

 

 

                        Statement of the Problem

 

In recent time more than any other time in the history of this country, the prevalence of examination malpractices have assumed an alarming trend. The situation is so ugly that hardly you read newspapers, attend conference or go on internet without coming across issues rose on examination malpractices. The situation has also become so bad that our national and local mass media indirectly support and encourages examination malpractices by allowing people to advertise the phenomenon on the pages of their papers or radio and television (Nasiru, 2009).

 

The advertisement is in the form of school (mostly private) inviting students to come, write examination in their schools, and pass in one sitting. The question commonly asked here is how does one pass an examination by just registering and writing exams in the school? The possibility of such candidate or all those registered with the school, passing at a single sitting as advertise, is not that the entire students were so intelligent nor is it through training and hard work but the truth is through cheating. An investigation by THIS DAY revealed that certain secondary schools in Kaduna have become centre of excellence, where one can register for WAEC, NECO, or SSCE and determine the number of credits one wants, with full assurance that this will happen at the end of the day (Reuben, 2008). The truth is that so many schools in different part of the country are involved in this act. Hence such schools charged exorbitantly, tagged as ‘cooperation fees’ or ‘settlement fees’ in order to have surplus fund that will meet up the expenses of bribing external examiners or invigilators, as claimed by such school proprietors. According to Reuben (2008) that with the payment of stipulated amount, once question paper comes to such schools, it is solved by the teachers, quickly photocopied and distributed table by table to all the students that paid. In addition textbooks and any other relevant materials have free access into such exam hall.

 

Also it is in Nigeria that due to lawlessness, people go about freely discussing how they cheated or were helped to cheat in examination in their various centers. In some other examination centers answers are photocopied and given to students to copy free. The freedom has gone to the extent that some invigilators or their agents copy answers for candidate on the black board. Hence,

 

you discover in recent time students with the support of their parents from public schools rush to such private schools to pay and register at the rate of twenty five thousand (N25, 000.00) to thirty thousand (N30, 000.00) instead of the official government rate of five thousand naira (N5, 000.00) to seven thousand Naira (N7, 000.00) charged by public schools (Reuben, 2008). These students also ignore the sponsorship offered to indigene students in public schools by most northern states government; simply because of their belief that such private centers provide automatic ticket for them to get the minimum of 5 credits and above including mathematic and English. Little wonder, therefore, that students with such a very good result find it extremely difficult to pass ordinary JAMB or post UME examinations in our various universities and polytechnics.

 

Similarly, examination malpractices increased tremendously in colleges of education. Most Academic Board of Colleges of Education receives cases of students’ involvement in different forms of examination malpractices almost after every semester. Such reports were presented to Academic Board through Examination Malpractices Committee (EMIC). In some colleges EMIC is centralized while in other colleges the committee is decentralized so that each school in the college has its EMIC which report to the Dean of the school who in turn report to the Academic Board for consideration and final approval.

 

It is then obvious that examination malpractices and its management is complex. It is indeed complex because it has to do with managing inappropriate behavior that involves many interested groups within and outside the College. More importantly collecting evidences or facts of such misbehavior is not an easy task as some candidates swallow cheat notes to escape prosecution. For instance a case was reported of an engineering student from Calabar polytechnic caught copying from a foolscaps almost chocked to death as he was swallowing it in an attempt to destroy  evidences (News watch, 1991). This is one out of so many episodes happening in Nigerian schools. Experiences and researches shows that student use so many tactics in an attempt to destroy evidences of examination malpractices such as running away from the examination Hall with the

 

script, cheats notes or washing of the body parts that contained cheat data/information, threatening invigilators with death not to disclose the cheat materials, and many other ways (Ivor, 2008). Candidates also successfully accomplished their aim with special support within the school by corrupt teachers, administrators, examination officers, messenger etc, and from outside the school by candidate friends, and parents or relatives.

 

Therefore, the concern expressed by the public on the implication of this practice in many part of the country and the rate at which candidates become involved, in addition to many years invigilation experience of the researcher, motivated the research to analyze different types, causes and effects of examination malpractices from the managerial perspectives. This attempt is to dig out the bases of the problem from the grassroot, the approaches adopted by the colleges Academic Board in dealing with such cases in order to identify the nature and reasons behind examination malpractices in Nigeria Colleges of Education.

 

Thus, this investigation was conducted to find out the types and causes, effects, and the management of examination malpractices in Nigeria Colleges of Education.

 

                        Objectives of the Study

 

The research objectives on Investigation Of The Widespread And Management Of Examination Malpractices In Nigeria Colleges of Education were tailored towards achieving the following:

 

  1. identify various forms of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education in North West Geo –Political Zone, Nigeria;
  2. examine the causes of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education in North West Geo –Political Zone, Nigeria;
  3. determine the effects of examination malpractices on students’ future performances in Colleges of Education in North West Geo –Political Zone, Nigeria;
  4. assess the management of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education in North West Geo –Political Zone, Nigeria; and
  5. find out the challenges in the management of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education in North West Geo –Political Zone,

                        Research Questions

Based on the objectives of the study, the following research questions offer direction to the researcher in carrying out the study:

 

  1. What are the various forms of examination malpractices in colleges in North West Geo – Political Zone, Nigeria?
  2. What are the causes of examination malpractices in colleges of education in North West Geo

 

–Political Zone, Nigeria?

 

  1. What are the effects of examination malpractices on students’ performance in colleges of education in North West Geo –Political Zone, Nigeria?
  2. What are the various approaches used in managing examination malpractices in colleges of education in North West Geo –Political Zone, Nigeria?
  3. What are the challenges in the management of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education in North West Geo –Political Zone, Nigeria?
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