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Background of the Study
The use of examinations to promote learners from one level of education into the next level and for certification of candidates has brought about competition among learners leading to examination malpractice. This is because candidates at all levels of education desire to pass examinations to enable them a transition from one level of education into the next or admission into tertiary education. These recent trends in the education system have resulted into different kinds of examination malpractice in all forms of examinations.
Examination malpractice is as old as examinations. It is a concern not only to Zambia, but globally and it is already a cankerworm (Yakubu, 2018). Most recommended solutions to curb examination malpractice have failed to work out because it has attained an alarming level which is of concern to the education systems all over the world. This is because it takes place in both internal and external examinations and it caters across all age levels. Examination malpractice involves different categories of people. The forms of examination malpractice are many and they are becoming sophisticated every other day. This, therefore, implies that it is a concern to all the stakeholders in the education system.
The inception of education in Africa can be traced back to man’s history. This entails that education was there from the time man existed in their societies. The type of education that existed in Africa was known as indigenous African education and it was in existence before the coming of the missionaries. This type of education was informal and learners acquired skills through observation and imitation. It comprised oral examination and careful observation through apprenticeship. Its mode of instruction was simple in that knowledge was passed on orally and through practical tests and it was mainly based on experience and practice (Snelson, 2012).
This type of education, however, slowly became obsolete with the introduction of western education by the missionaries which came about due to the increase in the number of learners and the availability of written materials. This saw the introduction of tests although the very tests written were of low psychometric properties because of little or no training of the teachers who prepared them (Aderogba, 2011). This led into the development of competence examinations in order to overcome the problem of low psychometric tests. The competence examinations have been adopted and are used to evaluate learners and promote them from one level of education into the next. They are also used for certifying candidates at the end of each school term.
Onuka and Durowoju (2010) state that more formal psychological testing started in 2200 BC when the Chinese Emperor instituted a system where the fitness of candidates for government office was determined by oral examinations administered every third year. From then to the present day, the construction and administration of tests have passed through transitions up to the now examinations.
Western education introduced by the missionaries was characterized by competition. Its principle was based on performance. This meant that only the best candidates were allowed to proceed to the next level while the less able would always remain behind. These principles are there even today (Snelson, 2010).
Many reasons have been given for the prevalence of examination malpractice. These include inability of students to cope with school work, candidates’ inadequate preparation for examinations, the desire by candidates to pass examinations at all costs and too much emphasis that is placed on paper qualification (Adamu, 2018). There are many factors that contribute to examination malpractice and there are many categories of people involved in examination malpractice. Any lasting solution to examination malpractice should, therefore, consider the categories of people involved and the factors contributing to its continuous occurrence. The World Bank Group (2002) indentified that the major reason for examination malpractice is high stakes of examinations. This implies the long -term impact of examination results on a candidate’s life and where the teacher and the school status depend on public examination results.
Examination malpractice is an academic disease that has affected and infected many members of the instructional team or many stakeholders in the education industry and has posed a very serious threat to education standards and credibility of school certificates awarded. It is an academic fraud and it is a form of corruption which derives from the corrupt nature of the social system operating in many countries today. Examination malpractice has become a disaster in many countries and every disaster brings an emergency situation that requires the attention of all stakeholders. Many strategies have been advanced in the literature and devised by governments to curb this menace, but, as a monster, it is still thriving and looming in the school system (Onyechere, 2018).
Examination malpractice can be described as a form of cheating and as an illegal practice that derails the purpose of examinations, hence, the need to identify the forms of the prevailing malpractice and their dynamics and taking the appropriate measures to curtail this menace. Some candidates may be relatively academically weak but still desire to go at the same pace in terms of studies with the relatively academically strong ones. Other candidates know they are weak but because of laziness they will not want to study hard to pass, but prefer to take the risk of engaging in examination malpractice while others may be addicted to examination malpractice and have over the years been involved in examination malpractice (Achio, 2015).
Statement of the Problem
The persistent occurrence of examination malpractice at all levels of the education system has been a major concern to the government and educationists. This is because it questions the validity and reliability of examinations and also the authenticity and the recognition of certificates issued thereafter. The Examinations Council of Nigeria in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies has put up stringent measures to curb examination malpractice. However, despite all these efforts little is known on the nature and causes of examination malpractice hence, the need for the study.
Purpose of the Study
The study sought to establish the causes and effects of examination malpractice among secondary school students in selected secondary schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna state. The purpose of this study includes:
1. To determine the nature of examination malpractice.
2. To establish the causes of examination malpractice.
3 To describe the types of schools that are associated with examination
Significance of this Study
The study has generated information on the nature and causes of examination malpractice in secondary schools. The assumption is that the study has brought out new knowledge on the nature and reasons for examination malpractice. It may further help policy makers and decision makers in the Ministry of Education, Science and Vocational Training and Early Education to make informed policy on how to curb examination malpractice in secondary schools.
In addition, this study is particularly significant because simple as it may appear, examination malpractices affect the smooth running of society regardless of any rationalizations, and it is a harmful activity in a competitive educational environment (Vowell & Chen, 2014).
Thus, whereas correlates of academic misconduct in developed and other developing nations can be found in literature, this study contributes to profiling examination malpractices in a Nigerian setting.
The study sought to answer the following questions.
1. What is the nature of examination malpractices in Kaduna South LGA?
2. What factors contribute to examination malpractice?
3. What types of schools are associated with examination malpractices?
Scope of the study
The study on the causes and effects of examination malpractice focused on the selected secondary schools in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna state. Therefore, it is limited to the students within the study area.
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