Assessment of Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Colleges of Education

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Assessment of Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Colleges of Education Alabi, Grace Olufunke 1 and Nimmyel, Gwakzing Danboyi 2 1 Dept. of Building Technology Education, Federal College of Education (Tech.),
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Assessment of Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Colleges of Education Alabi, Grace Olufunke 1 and Nimmyel, Gwakzing Danboyi 2 1 Dept. of Building Technology Education, Federal College of Education (Tech.), Akoka Lagos State 2 Dept. of Technical Education, Federal College of Education, Pankshin. Plateau State Abstract This paper assessed examination malpractices in Colleges of Education in Nigeria. Three research questions were raised to generate answers for the study. The population of the study comprised of selected academic staff of five Colleges of Education drawn from five geographical political zones of Nigeria. The population was made up of fifty lecturers. Questionnaire of 4 point Likert scale was used to collect data for the study, which were analysed using Mean and standard deviation statistics. It was found out that examination malpractices in Colleges of Education could be of grave consequences as mediocre NCE graduates will be produced, there will be general decline in standard of education, teachers who are bad influence to students in primary and secondary schools will be produced, it will creates lack of trust in our educational system since teachers that will be produced are cheats, it will also undermine the values of work, honesty and discipline as well as cause the aim of Colleges of Education to be defeated. It is therefore recommended that higher premium should be placed on hard work, honesty, integrity, obedience to the laws of the colleges and reward accordingly by the college authorities and that adequate punishment should be meted out to defiant and erring students as well as culprit lecturers and workers. Keywords: Assessment, Examination Malpractices, Colleges of Education, N.C.E. Introduction One of the several problems and challenges confronting education in Nigeria is the menace of examination malpractices. It is a monster which had destroyed the fabric of Nigeria s educational system. The nefarious practice of examination malpractices has continued to grow, spreading over schools, both secondary and tertiary institutions across the nation like a cancer. It has become a national disaster which now causes harm and lot of disrespect for Nigeria degrees outside the country (Alabi, 2007). Examination malpractice, according to Buoro (2003) is any irregular behaviour exhibited by candidates or anybody charged with the conduct of examination in or outside the examination hall, before, during or after examination. Olusanya (2003) stated that it is any act or conduct contrary to the rules and regulations of examination, while Ayodele (1999) opined that it is an 1 Alabi and Nimmyel act of wrong doing that specially contravenes laid down rules of examination practice and which is committed by candidates before, during and after any particular type of examination. Examination malpractice is an act of indiscipline exhibited by anybody (candidates, examiners, parents) in the conduct of any type of examination with a view of obtaining good results by fraudulent means. Colleges of Education are post-secondary institutions responsible for training National Certificate in Education (NCE) teachers in Nigeria. Colleges of Education are teachertraining institutions that offer NCE courses. it is one of the tertiary institutions in the country saddled with responsibilities of tertiary education given after secondary education. Its major aim amongst many is to contribute to national development through the production of high level relevant manpower. The programme at the College of Education level is geared towards the award of the Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE). It is a three-year programme with specialization in the second year. Admission into the NCE programme is through the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) but with lower ordinary level entry qualification. The graduates of NCE constitute part of the input for direct entry programmes at the University level.in order to achieve the objectives of teacher education at the NCE level, and to maintain standard of the products in a sustainable manner, the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) was established. Statement of the Problem The issue of examination malpractice among students in the nation s institutions of higher learning is of serious concern and its effect on Nigeria educational system cannot be over emphasized. According to Olusanya (2003), it has been rated as one of the greatest aspect of indiscipline that undermine the foundations of educational practice in Nigeria today. The magnitude of this social malaise has become a major source of concern to all the stakeholders in education. Of all the educational problems in Nigeria, none poses a greater threat than the problem of examination fraud. Cheating at the examination before usually involves some students and everything about it shrouded in secrecy. Nowadays there seems to be no more hiding about cheating at examinations as parents, teachers and children are involved. Parents even go as far as purchasing examination papers from staff of agency responsible and also enrol their wards in a private special coach centres, where special arrangement are made during examinations for such students. In fact it has become an accepted aspect of school life in Nigeria s institutions that most students now believe that it is not possible to write an examination without cheating. Hence, they are no longer interested in studying but rely heavily on cheating to pass their examinations and are ready to tackle whosoever stands as obstacle to their heinous crime. The scope of examination malpractice is escalating; it has become the chorus song in the educational system such that today, it is a national disgrace. Various examination bodies, government, individuals and groups have at various times tried to provide solution to curb this heinous crime. In 1984, the Federal Government promulgated Decree 20 which imposed a 21years jail term for anyone found guilty of cheating in examination. Likewise also in 1997, there was a formation of a Non-Governmental Organization known as Examination Ethics Project. It was launched to stem the tide of examination malpractices among students, many of whom were becoming more desperate and employ sophisticated methods to perpetuate their evil. It is regrettably that rather than abating, it has assumed an epidemic dimension. The decree promulgated by the Federal Government was not enough to deter candidates from engaging in the heinous crime because 2 Alabi and Nimmyel of laxity in its full implementations. However, examination bodies in Nigeria have achieved little in the fight against examination malpractice in all forms as it has grown into various forms and proportions. The problem of cheating at examination should be of serious concern to educators, educational administrators and governments because it is a major factor that destroy the standard of education in any country. Therefore, the assessment of examination malpractices in Nigerian Colleges of Education forms the thrust of this paper. Purpose of the study The purpose of this paper was to assess examination malpractices in Colleges of Education, its consequences on Nigeria s educational system and the way out. Specifically, the study intends to; 1. identify the causes of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education 2. identify the consequences of examination malpractices on Nigeria educational system 3. Identify measures that could be adopted to minimize examination practices. Research Questions 1. What are the causes of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education? 2. What are the consequences of examination malpractices on educational system? 3. What are the measures that could be adopted to minimize examination malpractices? Methodology The study adopted survey research design. Survey research design according to Nworgu (1991) is one in which a group of people or items is studied by collecting and analysing data from only a few people or items considered to be representative of the entire group. The survey research design was therefore suitable for this study since it tends to obtain data from few selected lecturers on assessment of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education in Nigeria. Population The target population for the study comprised all academic staff of five Colleges of Education drawn from five geographical political zones in Nigeria from which the samples for the study were drawn. Sample & Sampling Techniques Systematic random sampling technique was used to select fifty (50) academic staff for the study. Instrument for Data Collection The instrument used for the study was a structured questionnaire. The items in the questionnaire were organized in accordance with the research questions formulated to guide the study. Validity of the Instrument Three lecturers; one from Department of Technical Education, Federal College of Education, Pankshin and two from Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka validated the instrument for data collection. 3 Alabi and Nimmyel Reliability of the Instrument Cronbach alpha reliability method was used to determine the internal consistency of the questionnaire items. Fifty copies questionnaire were administered on the fifty (50) academic staff in College of Education outside the study area. The reliability coefficient of 0.82 was obtained. Method of Data Analysis The data collected was analysed using Mean and Standard Deviation Statistics. The responses in the questionnaire were tabulated; strongly agree(sa),agree(a), Disagree(D),and strongly disagree(sa). The calculated Mean was interpreted in relation to the real limits of the codes assigned to the options as follows; Strongly Agree(SA) = Agree (A) = Disagree(D) = , Strongly Disagree (SD) = Decision Rule The decision of the findings were guided by using a Mean score of 2.5 and above as a cut-off point as items being agreed to, while questionnaire items that fall below 2.5 were rejected. Results The following tables show the summary of the analysis of data in relation to each of the research questions. Research Question 1: What are the causes of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education? Table 1: Mean Scores and Standard Deviation of Respondents Rating On Causes Of Examination Malpractices in Colleges of Education S/N Causes of examination malpractices Mean x S.D Decision 1. Lack of seriousness of students Agree 2. Inability of parents to provide textbooks Disagree 3. Fear of failure Agree 4. Too much emphasis on paper qualification Agree 5. Inordinate ambition by students and parents to pursue career that is beyond ability Agree 6. Lack of seriousness and proper supervision during examination Agree 7. Lack of necessary instructional facilities and resources to facilitate easy learning by students Agree 8. Inability to cover schemes of work by 9. lecturers Agree 10. Peer group influence especially after seeing those who have passed examination by cheating Agree 11. Lack of confidence by the students Agree 12. Scarcity of books in the library Disagree 13. Lack of adequate invigilators for examination supervision Agree 13. Lack of ability to cope with both social and 4 Alabi and Nimmyel academic work on campus by students Agree 14. Writing of examination in an overcrowded sitting arrangement Agree 15. Aiding and abetting by the invigilators Disagree 16. Non-challant attitude of invigilators to unbecoming attitude of students during examination Agree 17. Societal pressure for achievers regardless of how Agree 18. Lackadaisical attitude of students towards their academics Agree 19. Poor administration of the examination Agree 20. Government inability to enact cumbersome laws that can curb the malaise Disagree The data presented in table 1 showed the mean ratings of the responses of the respondents on 20 items on the causes of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education.. Four of the items had their real limit below cut-off point of 2.5. This indicates that the respondents agreed that all the items except four are causes of examination malpractices in Colleges of Education. Research Question 2: What are the consequences of examination malpractices on educational system? Table 2: Mean Scores and Standard Deviation of Respondents Rating on the Consequences of Examination Practices on Educational System S/N Consequences of examination malpractices on Mean x S.D Deviation educational system 1. General decline in standard of education Agree 2. Production of mediocre NCE graduates Agree 3. Teachers who are bad influence to students in primary and secondary schools are produced Agree 4. Nigeria degrees are ridiculed and disregarded by the international communities Agree 5. Make it difficult to have an accurate and reliable assessment of the academic level of our school products Agree 6. Breed a society that is bereft of men and women of integrity whose products cannot stand shoulder high with their contemporary Agree 7. The aim of the College of Education to acquire both physical and intellectual skills that enable individuals to be self relevant and useful members of the society is defeated Agree 8. It threatens the objectives of school system Agree 9. Creates lack of trust in our educational system 5 Alabi and Nimmyel since the teachers produced are cheats Agree 10. It impoverishes nation s economy Agree 11. It mortgages the future of the nation Agree 12. It frustrates the pursuit of merit and completion in excellence Agree 13. It spreads like cancer Agree 14. It undermines the value of work, honesty and discipline Agree Table 2 shows that all the items raised were rated above the cut-off point of 2.5. It means that all the respondents were of the opinion that all the above mentioned points are some of the consequences of examination practices on educational system. Research Question 3 What are the measures that could be adopted to minimize examination malpractices? Table 3: Mean Scores and Standard Deviation of Respondents Rating on Respondents on Measures that Could Be Adopted To Minimize Examination Malpractices S/N Measures to minimize examination malpractice Mean x S.D Deviation 1. Through production, invigilation and marking of examination Agree 2. De-emphasising certificates and grades Agree 3. Quality of teaching through adequate preparation by the lecturers should be improved on Agree 4. College management and student union government should join hands in re-orienting students Agree 5. Organising seminars and symposia for students at school level Agree 6. Establishment of welfare committee at department level in a bid to get close to students and see to the progress of their studies Agree 7. Adequate punishment to defiant and erring students as well as culprit lecturers and workers Agree 8. Provision of adequate funding and equipment Agree 9. Special recognition be given to honest staff Agree 10. The school should be fair in setting questions, conducting exams, marking of answer scripts, awarding marks and grading of students Agree 11. Higher premium should be placed on hard work, honesty, integrity, obedience to the laws of the college and rewarded accordingly by the college authority Agree 12. Mass literacy on importance of positive value system through National Orientation Agency Agree 6 Alabi and Nimmyel 13. Guidance and Counsellor should be much involved in helping students to define their goals and solve problems related to personal, social, academic and vocational concerns Agree 14. Parents should be close to their wards enough to know their ability and not to be forced to go beyond their academic capability Agree 15. Parental roles of dissuading children from bad friends and encouraging them to study hard will create lasting impact on the students Agree Table 3 shows that all the items raised were rated above the cut-off point of 2.5. It means therefore that all the respondents agreed that all the measures specified will definitely curb examination malpractices. Discussion of Findings The findings from this study show that items 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,13,14,16,17,18&19 are significant causes of examination malpractice in the Colleges of Education. These results corroborate earlier studies by Ariba (2011). According to Ariba (2011) students appear to be desperate to study courses which they are not suited for as a result of pressure from parent; some students cheat during examination as they belief that one must cheat in order to advance educationally or economically in life; while some lecturers who should correct this anomaly display favourable attitude towards the misconduct. The study also reveals that Nigeria degrees are ridiculed and disregarded by the international communities. According to Daisi (1998) in Olusanya (2003), the British council in Nigeria advised British Universities to disregard Nigerian degrees from Up till now, Nigeria degrees are still worthless in the eyes of international communities, except for those from few credited private Universities. The result also shows that other effects of examination malpractices such as production of mediocre NCE graduates and teachers who are bad influence to students in primary and secondary schools as well as defeated aim of College of Education; to acquire both physical and intellectual skills that enable individuals to be self relevant and useful members of the society seriously undermine the foundations of educational practice in Nigeria. This corroborates with Ariba (2011) who posited that the consequences of indulging in examination malpractices are overwhelming and has holistic effects on moral integrity, economy and progress of the nation. The study further reveals that certain measures can be taken to minimize examination malpractices so as to foster sanity and discipline among Nigeria citizenry and mobilize them for social, economic and political well-being. This is in line with Bello (1997); Olusanya (2003). These two studies reveal that Guidance and Counselling will go a long way in educating both parents and children. Olusanya (2003) stated that Guidance and Counselling through the parents/teachers Association (PTA) as a channel should be used to inculcate into the parents the need to avoid forcing their children into offering courses they are unsuited for, the consequences of examination and need to dissociate from encouraging their children in such practices. According to Bello (1997), Guidance and Counsellor should be included into 7 Alabi and Nimmyel the various programmes in the mass media like radio, newspaper, television etc with special focus on examination malpractices preventions. Conclusion In conclusion, examination malpractices are virus which has invaded our educational system and threatening its consolidation thereof. Act of examination malpractices is dishonest, illegal and immoral behaviour in which measures need to be put in place to improve the moral conduct and education standard, motivate both students and lecturers on the need to be hard working, as cheating in examination is capable of not only running our educational system, but also impairing the efficacy of our labour force (Denga & Denga, 1998). Therefore, government and every decent and patriotic citizen must stand up and face the challenge posed by these problems, otherwise, our future and our children s future will be in jeopardy of virtual moral collapse. Recommendations Even though, various examination bodies, government, individuals and group have at different times tried to provide solution to curb this heinous crime, little have been achieved in the fight against examination malpractices. It is recommended therefore that; 1. College management and student union government should join hands in re-orienting students 2. Higher premium should be placed on hard work, honesty, integrity, obedience to the laws of the college and rewar
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