A survey of examination: malpractice among secondary school students - Causes, effects and solutions

Scientific Study, 2010

52 Pages, Grade: 1.0



Title page





1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Purpose of the Study
1.4 Significance of the Study
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Scope/Limitation of Study
1.7 Definition of Terms

2.0 Introduction
2.1 Concept of Examination Malpractice
2.2 Genesis of Examination Malpractice
2.3 Forms of Examination Malpractice
2.4 Sources of Examination Malpractice
2.5 Reasons for Indulging in Examination Malpractice
2.6 Incidence of Examination Malpractice in Nigeria
2.7 Effects of Examination Malpractice
2.8 Examination Malpractice Among Secondary School Students
2.9 Implication of Examination Malpractice on Education Development
2.10 Implication of Examination Malpractice on Academic, Moral Standard and Counselling
2.11 Effort at Curbing Examination Malpractice
2.12 Solution to Examination Malpractice in Secondary School
2.13 Conclusion

3.0 Introduction
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Population of the Study
3.3 Sample/Sampling technique
3.4 Research Instrument
3.5 Validity of the Instrument
3.6 Reliability of the Instrument
3.7 Administration of Research Instrument
3.8 Method of Data Analysis

4.0 Introduction
4.1 Analysis of respondents for teacher’s and student biodata
4.2 Presentation and analysis of research question

5.0 Introduction
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendations



This research was carried out to investigate examination malpractice among secondary school students in Mushin Local Government area in Lagos State. The project highlights the causes of examination malpractice among secondary school students, the effect of examination malpractice and solution to examination malpractice in secondary schools. In this research work, a sample of twenty (20) teachers and one hundred (100) students were collected by means of simple random sampling techniques from five secondary schools in Mushin Local Government. The research instrument used for the study was the teacher’s and student’s perception questionnaire which was validated by the supervisor and used for the collection of data from the respondents. The data collected from respondents were analyzed with distribution tables and simple percentage.

At the end of the analysis the study revealed the major reasons for examination malpractice which include parental pressure for good grades, value attached to certificate and so on. The study further recommend that parent should not put pressure on their children for good grades. Also emphasis should not be lay on certificates.



Education in the general sense covers the whole life of an individual from birth till death or from cradle to grade that shows that education is as old as man on earth. The formal school system is greatly influenced in its result on the lives of all who pass through it.

In Nigeria before the 1840’s there was in existence a system of education. This was broadly traditional, occupationally oriented and informal apprenticeship system. This type of education as at that time was relevant to the needs of the society.

The advent and influence of the Christian missionary activities affected a change from the informal system of education to the western oriented type of education. Preference was no longer for hardwork but acquisition of certificate. Every achievement or goal oriented tasks a certification of schooling.

However, examinations play vital roles not only in our educational system but also in the society as a whole. The society demands from its members a diversity of specialized functions.

In the Nigerian school system various forms of examinations are noticed. These are the entrance examinations, the terminal and promotion examinations, the senior school certificate examination and the degree or diploma examinations. Students are required to pass any forms of examinations they partake in. But these days students now find various means of achieving success in these examinations and one of such ways is by cheating in examinations through leakage in examination papers, impersonation, external assistance, copying, smuggling of foreign materials, substitution of script and improper assignment.

The fact remains that examination malpractice has become usual practice in Nigeria. Examination has been recognized as forming the nucleus of education without which the enterprise will be incomplete.

Empiricism shows that examinations indicate the extent of factual knowledge acquired by students, predict future educational achievement and provide a means of selecting suitable candidates for certain educational courses or occupation.

One of the principal aim of examination is to assess how much learning has taken place and to what extent the educational objectives and goals have been achieved. One serious problem plaguing Nigeria system of education today is large examination malpractice coupled with intellectual dishonesty. Our pupils and students devise as a daily routine, new tricks to beat genuine supervisors and examiners.

The incidence of examination malpractice is multi dimensional in nature. Smuggling of prepared notes into examination hall. They insult, embarrass, threaten and even assault invigilators and supervisors who failed to co-operate with them in their unholy and nefarious acts.

Cheating behaviour exhibited by the school, population is a big problem to our people. School administrators were recently called upon to desist from helping their students to perpetrate in examination malpractice.

Individual however put the blame on lack of proper social value system; the high premium attached to paper qualifications as prerequisite for admission and gainful employment.


The occurrence of examination malpractice at any level of educational stratum possess the greatest threat to the validity and reliability of any examination and consequently to the authenticity and recognition of certificate issued. The numerous examination malpractice among secondary school students in Mushin Local Government over the years have become a growing concern since cheating is such a longstanding and global problem inherent by human beings. Effort should therefore be directed towards controlling cheating behaviours and also finding the possible causes of the problem among secondary school students in Mushin Local Government.


The main purpose of this study is to find out the various forms of examinations malpractice among secondary schools students in Lagos State (A case study of Mushin Local Government) and also to find out the causes in order to proffer the kind of counselling strategies for curbing the undesirable behaviour.


The implementation of this finding will not only expose the extent to which students are involved in examination malpractice but will also suggest some remedies or a lasting solutions to this academic dishonesty.

This study is also expected to help school administrators, teachers and guidance counsellors to curb or control cheating behaviour in schools.


The research questions for this study are stated below:

- Is there any difference between students who cheat and who did not cheat in an examination?
- Does examination malpractice contribute to educational development?
- Why do students indulge in examination malpractice?
- Are students aware of the penalty for examination malpractice?
- What roles have the school counsellors played so far in trying to curb these behaviours?


This study will concentrate on examination malpractice, their causes, effects and possible solution in selected schools in Mushin Local Government.


In view of the fact that different meanings can be assigned will apply to the following words as used in this research work.

- EXAMINATION : A test of capacity and knowledge. It is a determinants of a learner’s strength and weakness necessary for his/her academic adjustment and work life.
- MALPRACTICE : It is a behaviour of a person contrary to laid down code of conduct.
- CHEATING :Cheating is refer to a type of examination malpractice, which takes place in the examination hall.
- GUIDANCE : This is an assistance given to an individual either by an adult or counsellor in order to help them discover themselves and cope with life situation.
- COUNSELLING : This is a relationship which exist between a counsellor and a counsellee in order to provide solution a problem encountered by the counsellee.
- COUNSELLOR : Is one who counsels, assists or help the students or an individual to solve academic and psychological problems.
- COUNSELLEE : Is one who seeks advice or help from the counsellor in solving his/her personal problems.



Education is the foundation upon which physical and technological developments rest.In Nigeria, education has been adopted as an instrument for national development. Therefore, governments, communities, private organizations and individuals have established educational institutions with a view of training the citizens for the development of the nation’s physical and human resources. One of the objectives of education in Nigeria is to prepare the young ones to face future challenges and develop them to meet the nation’s manpower requirements.

In educational institutions teaching and guidance activities are supposed to take place so that appropriate skills and knowledge can be acquired by the students.

Furthermore, a machinery through which the extent of knowledge and skill acquisition is determined at each stage of education has been set up. This is in form of examination which organized in order to evaluate, assess and test knowledge and skills. Schools need to conduct examinations as yardstick for assessment. It is the most practical way of assessment in education.

Maduka (1993) defined examination as a way to ascertain how much of a subject matter in a particular field of study the candidate has mastered.

Homby (1995) defined an examination as a formal test of somebody’s knowledge or ability in a particular subject, especially by means of answering questions or practical exercises.

Balogun (1999) also defined examination as the process through which students are evaluated or tested to find out the quality of knowledge they have acquired within a specified period.

Examinations could be internal or external. It could be oral or written, essay or objective type, theory or practical constitutes an integral part of the education process. Examples of internal examinations are continuous assessment tests, terminal, semester and annual or promotional examinations. Examples of external (public) examinations common in Nigerian schools are Common Entrance Examination for admission into secondary school. School Certificates examination is conducted by West African Examination (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO). The Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) and National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) conduct admission tests into tertiary institutions while National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) conducts professional examination for teachers and technicians respectively. The outcome of the examination is used as a basis for decision-making on the examinee’s ability.The examinee is consequently awarded a certificate which could qualified students for admission into a school, promotion into higher level of an institution and employment opportunities.

Nigeria’s education system like any other country has its problems, lapses, controversies and issues. Many problems confront Nigeria educational system and institutions prominent among them are the issue of examination malpractice. Examination malpractice is a kind of conduct that violates the acceptable laid down rules and regulations of Nigeria’s education system. On the other hand, examination malpractice is any wrong doing before, during or after any examination. Although one may not be able to rule out examination malpractice in the past, the current trend is alarming and calls for proper management in order to save the nation’s most important sector. Whereas, in the past, students tended to hide the acts, now they advertise them with reckless abandon. It has become a prolific business enterprise branded with the name of private examination centres aided and abetted by corrupt examination officials, supported by parents who will not allow their children to be left out from the Trojan gift of malpractice. Examination malpractice occurs in both internal and external examination. It is a problem which has been afflicting the educational system for many years. It seems to have defied solutions, as all antidotes applied so far have been faulted by fraudsters. In fact, it constitutes the most serious problem facing Nigerian education system in general and secondary education in particular.

Therefore, there is need to sanitize the nation’s education system by getting rid of examination malpractices.


Examination malpractice is defined as a deliberate wrong doing contrary to official examination rules designed to place a candidate at unfair advantage or disadvantage.

Nwana (2000), Examination malpractice is described as the “massive and unprecedented abuse of rules and regulations pertaining to internal and external 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”.

According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary malpractice is a wrong or illegal behaviour exhibited by a person while discharging professional responsibilities. In the light of this definition, examination malpractice is simply illegally obtaining an answer to an examination question from any other source other than the brain of the examinee.

Salami (1994) defines examination malpractices as an improper and dishonest act associated with examination with a view to obtaining unmerited advantage.

Shonekan (1996) defines it as any act of omission or commission that contravenes the rules and regulations of the examination body to the extent of undermining the validity and reliability of the tests and ultimately, the integrity of the certificates issued.

Oyekan (1996) also views examination malpractice as a deliberate act of indiscipline adopted by students or their privileged accomplices to secure facile success and advantage before, during and after the administration of a test or examination.

Oluyeba and Daramola (1993) defined examination malpractice as any irregular behaviour exhibited by candidate or anybody charged with the examination inside or outside the examination hall before, during or after such examination.

Ojerinde (2002) he claimed that examination malpractice is no longer a desperate candidates’ affair, rather school teachers and even principals are now involved in the perpetration of this vice.

Even with the promulgation of Decree No 33 of 1999(Now Act of Parliament) designed to check examination malpractice, the crime appears to be on the increase.


The very date and place examination malpractice started in the world is not known but it could be said to be one of the fall-outs of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden when Satan deceived Adam and Eve to sin. Satan solved this ugly seed which germinated into various forms of sin and vices including examination malpractice.

Examination malpractice has been in existence a long time ago. According to various sources examination malpractice was first reported in Nigeria in 1914 when there was a leakage of senior Cambridge Local Examination. After independence, there was hardly any year when no examination malpractice was not recorded.

In Nigeria, however, examination malpractice became prominent in the 1970s, when youths who were in the colleges and universities before the advent of the Nigerian civil war in 1967, who were conscripted into the army during the war, came back at the end of the war in 1970 and went back to schools to continue with their education. These youths who understood the language of the trigger of the gun more than what the teacher was saying, were not psycho-emotionally stable and prepared for examinations and so resorted to alternative means of passing the examinations such as direct cheating in examinations, bribing examiner to allow them to indulge in mass cheating, hiring of machineries to write for them. This was clearly manifested in the West African School Certificate Examination of 1970/1971 when all manner of irregularities ranging from examination malpractice to leakage of examination question papers characterized with the conduct of the examination.


There are dimension of examination malpractices year-in-year-out, students come up with new dimensions of examination malpractices. The instances of examination malpractices vary. Some of the forms of examination malpractice are discussed below:

1. Bringing of Foreign Materials Into Examination Hall: This is a situation where students bring into the examination hall notes, textbooks and other prepared materials. The method is nicknamed as hide and seek, microchips, tattoo and magic desk. Sometimes, students bring into the hall unauthorized materials like sophiscated and scientific calculators Abba (1998) identified some methods like giraffing, contraband, bullet, super print, escort, pregnant biros and so on.
2. Assistance from Educational Stakeholders: Examination stakeholders include parents, teachers, lecturers, security agents, printers, and staff of examination bodies. Some parents go to any length in buying question papers for their children while some others even buy certificates for their children. Supervisors colluding with teachers, school principals or students by allowing teachers to come around to teach the students during examination period, lecturers or teachers releasing question papers or giving underserved marks or allowing students to illegally re-take examination papers. Security agents, printers and staff of examination bodies also sell question papers.


Excerpt out of 52 pages


A survey of examination: malpractice among secondary school students - Causes, effects and solutions
Bowen University
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Blessing Adegoke (Author), 2010, A survey of examination: malpractice among secondary school students - Causes, effects and solutions, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/178869


  • guest on 5/1/2021

    Nice research. it will help our society to correct their error

  • thanks very much for contributing to literature

  • guest on 4/10/2016

    This topic is very much inportant to our society

  • guest on 8/22/2013

    Congratulations for venturing such a topic that has limited literature.

  • guest on 4/4/2013

    I pray God to help our up coming generation in Education.

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