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This research work examined the “Effects of Examination Malpractice on the Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Enugu Education Zone”. Examination malpractice as unfair practices or irregularities or infringement or irregularities during the conduct of examination. The study was a survey research, designed, The study was carried out in Enugu state. Enugu Educational Zone, Total population of secondary schools used for the study is nine hundred (900). The total populations of student use for the study are nine hundred (900) while teachers and parents used for the study are one thousand and ten (1100) this made the population of this research to be one hundred and twenty (2000) persons, which were randomly selected from schools in Enugu education zone. The sample size of the above population was determined using Taro Yamane’s, The questionnaire was the instrument for this research study which is designed only for the teachers, The questionnaire contains two sections; section A and B. The instrument faced content validation by the supervisor and other research experts, after undergoing series of correction by the supervisor by adding relevant information to the teachers in the selected secondary schools, the instrument was validated, and its reliability was calculated using Cronbach Alpha correlation coefficient formulae. And the correlation coefficient of 0.85 was gotten for the instrument. the researcher collects the answered questionnaire and went ahead to analyze and interpret the data collected, Simple percentage was adopted as a method for analyzing data for the study. The study recommended that Examination bodies, government, stakeholders, must confront these challenges by reducing or eliminating the administrative, institutional, attitudinal and logistic problems encouraging examination malpractice. Adequate facilities such as classrooms or lecture halls and laboratories to make the environment conducive not only for teaching and learning but also to ensure effective check and control of candidates during examination.










Cover Page

Title Page                                                                                                                             i

Approval Page                                                                                                            ii

Dedication                                                                                                                 iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                   iv

Table of Content                                                                                                        vi

List of Tables                                                                                                           viii

Abstract                                                                                                                     ix



Background to the Study                                                                                          1

Statement of the Problem                                                                                        7

Purpose of the Study                                                                                                  8

Significance of the Study                                                                                           9

Scope of the Study                                                                                                    11

Research Questions                                                                                                   11



Conceptual Framework                                                                                            12

Theoretical Framework                                                                                            29

Empirical Studies                                                                                                     32

Summary of the Literature Reviewed    



Research Design                                                                                                       38

Area of the Study                                                                                                      38

Population of the Study                                                                                            39

Sample and Sampling Technique                                                                             39

Instrument for Data Collection                                                                                 41

Validity of the Instrument                                                                                         41

Reliability of the Instrument                                                                                     41

Method of Data Collection                                                                                       42

Method of Data Analysis                                                                                          42




Discussion of Findings                                                                                             50

Conclusion                                                                                                                52

Educational Implication of the Study                                                                       53

Recommendations                                                                                                     54

Limitations of the Study                                                                                           55

Summary of the Study                                                                                              56

Suggestions for further studies                                                                                 57

 Appendix 1                                                                                                               58

Appendix II                                                                                                               59

References                                                                                                                62



Table 1:             Examination malpractice perpetrated in Enugu

 Education Zone                                                                                44


Table 2:           Attitude of teachers to teaching encourage

examination  malpractices                                                                45


Table 3:           Emphasis on paper qualification encourages

examination malpractice                                                                   46


Table 4:           There are strategies that can be adopted

to stop examination malpractice in schools                                      47


Table 5:           Lack of relevant school materials lead to

        examination malpractice.                                                                 48


Table 6:    Inordinate desire to succeed encourage

examination malpractice                                                                   49






Background to the Study

Examination has been viewed in different ways by different authors, educationists and researchers. According to Kailani and Usman (2011), examination is an organized assessment technique which presents individuals with a series of questions or tasks geared towards ascertaining, if the individual acquired skills and knowledge.

Oyechere (2010), also define examination as a formal test of somebody’s knowledge, skills or ability in a particular subject, especially by means of oral and written questions or practical exercise. In all countries of the world, examination which are in reality and frequently used in competitions, are designed to eliminate the majority of candidates and allocate the remainder to certain known vacancies.

Examination has been generally accepted as the best means of assessment. It is a formal test of knowledge or ability. In fact, in a school setting, examination is a means of evaluating the quantity of knowledge a student has acquired within a specific period of time. Adekunle (2012) sees examination as an instrument used for the assessment of individual skills and knowledge-content, both in general and specific areas of study.

Teaching and learning become more effective when students are subjected to an examination process to determine the extent to which the students have assimilated the content of the instruction given and the teacher can also access himself from the performance of the students. In essence, examinations are used to determine pass or fail of a student or group of students in the opinion. A student who knows that he might fail an examination which will in turn determine his progress or promotion will strive hard in order to pass.

Examinations are also used for academic stratification or for assigning grades to students. The contemporary practice of (N.C.E), Students are stratified into distinction, credit merit and pass, while in the university also, students are stratified into first, second (upper and lower) or third class degrees having gone through an examination. These grades are a measure of success and prestige.  A child with a division one pass in school certificate examination will be regarded by those around him as academically precocious. He is also likely to have a place in the institution of higher learning or in job situation within the society easier than a child with a division three pass. All these conditions have combined to influence a child’s attitude to an examination; attitude which always collaborates in an urge for success in any particular examination whether or not he had prepared for it. These competitions in school have their parallel in the society. 

Unfortunately, this all important means of assessing students has become ineffective as all forms of malpractice have been introduced into the system. Adesina (2010) traced the history of examination malpractice in Nigeria to 1914, when there was a leakage of the Cambridge examination. Cheating became widespread in schools hence in 1967, the Alexander Commission was set up as a special commission of inquiry to investigate the incidences of malpractice in Nigeria.

In 1977, there was a widespread leakage of the West Africa School Certificate Examination questions. Government took it as a challenge to address issues of examination malpractice. A special conference was held in that regard at Ibadan in 1986. Decrees were promulgated, schools were sanctioned, results cancelled and invigilators arrested all in a bid to curb malpractice.

The irony of it all is that despite the several attempts made by school authorities, government agencies, parents and church leaders in trying to conscientize the Nigerian students on the evils of examination malpractice, this menace is still in its increase in various schools. There is need to find out the causes and solutions of examination malpractice in Nigerian schools.

Examination malpractice has been defined differently by educators, authors, researchers, administrators and supervisors. Onuoha (2011) defined examination malpractice as unfair practices or irregularities or infringement or irregularities during the conduct of examination. He posited that examination malpractice in recent time has become a threat to the integrity of the nation. As a cankerworm, it has eaten deep into the fabric of the education industry, thus becoming a global issue which has caused some sleepless nights to many genuine academics and scholars. In spite of the crusade against it by the government and other lovers of education, it still grows speedily more than ever. To Ahmed (2010), examination malpractice is any act of wrongdoing or neglect that contravenes the rules and regulations of acceptable practice before, during and after an examination by any reason. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear people discuss examination malpractice as if it is a custom. Perpetrators of this social menace view it as an act which everybody partakes in, hence it is generally acceptable. Therefore, it is not impossible these days to see students with distinctions in the west African Examination Certificate (WAEC) Senior School certificate Examination (SSCE), General certificate in Education (GCE) National Examination Council (NECO) Certificate or the equivalent or even first class and second class upper in the universities who cannot defend the certificate. The reason behind it is nothing but examination malpractice which has sucked deep into virtually all levels of the education system. These acts are unbecoming and need to be curtailed. It is a disease; it calls for the attention of all and sundry.

Nwahunanye (2014) posited that some years back, the decision to attend secondary school was in itself a crucial vocational choice. Secondary education has as one of its objectives; to provide education at higher level, irrespective of sex, social status, religious or ethnic background. National Policy on Education (2004) section 5 sub – section 22 (a) lamented “the extent to which these objectives are being achieved in teaching and learning in secondary schools as in every other level of education is usually appraised or evaluated through examinations. It is also impossible for one to obtain an academic certificate after passing through an institution without being evaluated. The reverse is also the case due to the way some of our undergraduates see the pursuit of good academic certificate as a do or die affair.

During examination period, students prepare for examination in different ways. Some read a month before the examination; some still prefer using the night before the examination to write down points which they would take into the examination hall. These are mostly the category of students who do not see any reason to prepare for the exercise but rely on “expo” to succeed. In the examination halls, the perpetrators of this unwholesome act operate in divergent ways as they want to make good grades and reap where they did not slow.

Examination misconduct in the hall can take the form of giraffing/peeping from another person’s examination papers, writing on the palms, desks and piece of papers, smuggling of examination halls and so on and so forth. Outside the halls, the misconduct can take the shape of sorting of the already written examinations either through the teachers or their agents. This cankerworm has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian educational system; thereby, rendering our educational institutions hopeless. They are so unbecoming that if nothing is done and on time too, secondary school education and other levels of education will be a mess.

Commenting on the issue of examination misconduct, Sumnoh (2010), remarks that government is the major cause of examination malpractice. He went further to describe the government salary system as just staving wages an example with the secondary school teachers. He said that if teachers were well paid, they would see no reason to aid or be involved in examination malpractice. One is not saying here that high salary and allowances will totally stop examination malpractice, it will help to curb it. However, it is pointless dragging the argument as to who is responsible for the cases of examination malpractice in our secondary schools. It is equally illogical to think that one particular group, whether students, teachers, government or the society can solve the problem of examination misconduct in our secondary schools. Those who are concerned, directly or indirectly with the educational system should share the responsibility of curbing the menace of examination misconduct in our secondary schools and other levels of education. It is not that nothing has been done on the issue of examination malpractice. The history of examination misconduct in Nigeria is quite old. The problem assumed a national character in 1967. Then a committee was set up to carry out an investigation into the explosion of examination malpractice that year. Also decree No. 25 of 1993 on examination leakage imposes a penalty of five (5) years imprisonment or an option of two thousand naira fine on any person found guilty in connection with examination leakage. Despite this, examination malpractice is still being witnessed and practiced. Its fruits are educated illiterate graduates.

In order to ameliorate the incidence of examination misconduct, and in fact, improve the standard of our secondary school education, it is necessary to unveil the modus operandi and multifarious strategies adopted by the perpetrators of this unwholesome and un-academic act and alert students of the ugly effects, academically and other wise. The awareness will help the authorities to check the current pervasiveness of examination malpractice in our secondary schools and other institutions of higher learning.


Statement of the Problem

Over the years, the conduct of examinations by WAEC, NECO, and JAMB have been trailed with complaints of examination malpractices and various organizational, administrative and bureaucratic irregularities. These problems have become perennial and institutionalized and reflect a gradual decline on the quality of Nigeria’s educational system.

The performances of such candidates are not commensurate to the quality of their certificates. Most disheartening is the situation where candidates who have secured admission to study abroad are subjected to dehumanizing treatment because of suspicion on the authenticity of their certificates. The problem of the study therefore is to find out if innovative strategies for examination malpractice in Nigeria’s public examination be determined.


 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to investigate some important aspects of examination malpractices and effects on student’s performance in Enugu Education Zone. This study will help specifically find out: The methods used by students in cheating at examinations. Specifically the study tends to

1.      Determine the involvement of the society, teachers, parents and the students in the malpractices.

2.      Determine the effect of examination malpractices on the students, the school and the society at large. 

3.      Determine the different factors that encourage examination malpractice in Secondary schools in Enugu education zone.


Significance of the Study

The imperativeness of this study cannot be underrated. The study will be of high significance in that it will help the following categories of people in the following ways:

The students: This study will serve as an eye opener to the students in understanding the negative effects / consequences of involving oneself in acts of examination malpractice.

The teachers: This research work will serve as information to the teachers on existing forms of examination malpractice / misconduct practiced by students as well as ways of controlling them.

Education Authorities: The education, the authorities will benefit immensely from this study as it will help keep them informed on the recent techniques involved in examination malpractice causes and at the same time open their eyes to the needs.

The government: Our government would not be left out in the list of the beneficiaries of this study. The research work will help the government to see reasons why trained and qualified teachers should be recruited into our secondary schools, why seminars, workshops and in-service trainers should be organized by the government for the teachers to enable them update their knowledge.

The society / parents: This study will in no small measure assist parents and the society at large in knowing what their children and wards do in school and thus, see ways of assisting them to learn and concentrate more on their studies and depend less on external help during examinations. Most parents and guardians do not provide the basic materials needed by their wards. Many students in our secondary schools do not have textbooks, writing materials etc. It is a well known fact that lack of necessary educational materials, make learning difficult let alone examination preparation.

It is of great importance to note that at the completion of this research work various secondary schools, communities, towns, states and Nigeria in general will find the result of this research work to be beneficial to great extent. It would play an essential role in the standard of education and in the task of economic growth and development. The significance of this study is to reveal the depth into which examination malpractice has plunged in our secondary schools, most especially in Enugu education zone. It is also to discover the forms, causes, consequences and permanent cure or permanent solution to the problem.



Scope of the Study

This study covered an analysis of the Causes, effects and solutions of Examination Malpractice in Selected Secondary School in Enugu education zone. And all the secondary teachers and students in secondary schools in Enugu education zone were used for the study.

Research Questions

On the basis of the problems, the following Research Questions were formulated:

1.  To what extent is examination malpractice perpetrated in Enugu Education Zone?

2.  How does attitude of teachers to teaching encourage examination malpractices?

3.  To what extent emphasis on paper qualification encourage exam malpractice?

4.  What strategies can be adopted to stop exam malpractice in schools?

5.  To what extent does lack of relevant school materials lead to examination malpractice?

6.  How does the desire to succeed encourage violation of examination norms?

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