The study investigated ‘causes and effect of examination malpractice on the
performance of secondary school students in Orumba South Local Government Area.
Three (3) research questions were used for the study with descriptive survey design
adopted. Purposive sample technique and sample size of 200 respondents composed of
fifty (50) teachers and hundred and fifty (150) students were used for the study. The
responses were analyzed using arithmetic mean (X). The study was reported, among
other things, that population explosion, corruption, fear of examination failure, parents’
pressure, laziness on the part of the students, bring about examination fraud. It was
further reported that parents’ withdrawal of their children from the affected schools,
emergence of bad reputation, employers’ loss of confidence on the educational system,
inadequate performance of graduates at work places and cancellation of examinations
constitute the effects of examination fraud. It was recommended that adequate funding
of schools, adequate re-orientation of all parties to examination fraud, safe keeping of
examination question papers and answered scripts, adequate sitting arrangement of
students during examinations would help to solve the menace of examination
misconduct in our school system.
Key Words: Examination, Malpractice, Causes and Effects
Background of the Study
Examination has been viewed in different ways by different authors, educationists and
researchers. According to Kailani and Usman (2009), 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.
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Examination malpractice has been defined differently by educators, authors, researchers,
administrators and supervisors. Onuoha (2009) defined examination malpractice as unfair
practices or irregularities or infringement or irregularities during the conduct of examination.
He posited that examination malpractice in recent times 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 made 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 distinction in the west African
Examination Certificate (WAEC) Senior School certificate Examination (SSCE), General
certificate in Education (GCE) 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 (2004) posited that some years back, the decision to attend secondary
school was in itself a crucial vocational choice. Secondary school education has as one of its
objectives; to provide education of 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 examination‟. 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
During examination periods, students prepare for the 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
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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 sow.
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, rending our educational institutions hopeless. They are so unbecoming that if
nothing is done and no time too, our secondary school education and other levels of education
will be 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 cities 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 undergraduates.
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
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authorities to check the current pervasiveness of examination malpractice in our secondary
schools and other institutions of higher learning.
Statement of the Problem
The problem which this project work is set to investigate as envisaged by the
researchers is on the causes and effects of examination malpractices among secondary school
students, especially in Orumba South local Government Area. This is important as questions
have been raised concerning the issue of examination malpractice. Such questions include:
(1) Are there causes and effects of examination malpractice hindering our education system?
(2) What are those factors and in what ways have they hampered examination?
(3) Are these other factors hindering the educational system?
The aim of the research is to find out the answers to those questions during the research work
and make efforts to examine the causes and effects of the menace called examination
This is important because according to Umaru (2005), researches showed that more than 60%
of university graduate in our society today and many undergraduates perpetrate the acts
examination misconduct which has simultaneously ravaged the system and made students
handicapped towards reading and ardent study. It is therefore, imperative to checkmate this
ugly development in our educational industry before it rubbishes it completely.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to find out the causes and effects of examination
malpractice in secondary schools, especially in Orumba South Local Government Area of
Anambra state. It also seeks to find out various methods employed by students as well as the
roles by teachers, parents, secondary school authorities and the society at large. Basically, the
study seeks to:
1. Ascertain the factors that brings about examination malpractice in secondary schools;
2. Ascertain the effects of examination malpractice on the performance of secondary school
3. Ascertain appropriate control measures towards curbing examination malpractice in secondary
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:
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1. The students: This study will serve as an eye opener to the students in knowing the negative
effects / consequences of involving oneself the act of examination malpractice.
2. 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. Some lecturers are no longer dedicated to their school time table. Some deliver half
baked lessons. They leave their notes for students to copy. Such students copy whatever and
hand it back to the teacher who does not care whether students understand the content of the
lesson or not. No students want to fail. They therefore seek for means to succeed. These
students therefore engage themselves in various forms of examination malpractice.
3. Education Authorities: The teachers, 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 need to. School authorities on their own part
do not help matters. Inability of the school authority to provide adequate facilities such as
seats, electricity etc., hinder learning. A situation whereby six cluster on a seat meant for three
students is just unhealthy for smooth examination.
4. 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 and workshops should
be organized by the government for the teachers to enable update their knowledge.
5. 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 studies help
during examination. 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 needed 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 Orumba South Local Government Area, Anambra State. It is also to
discover the forms, causes, consequences and permanent cure or permanent solution to the
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Delimitation of Study
This study is on the causes and effects of examination malpractice on the academic
performance of secondary school students. It was conducted in Orumba South local
Government Area, Anambra State.
The following research questions served as guides to the study:
1. What are the factors that bring about examination malpractices?
2. What are the effects of examination malpractice on the performance of secondary schools
3. What arte the control measure towards bringing about a lasting solution to examination
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