Assessing Strategies for the Management of Examination Malpractice Among Universities in Bayelsa State
1.1 Background of the study
Scholars largely agree that education is a tool for speeding individual, societal, and national development. It serves as a catalyst for the generation of information and skills necessary for the society’s existence and sustainability. The Federal Government of Nigeria, in establishing higher institutions as agents of socioeconomic change and national development, specified the following objectives of tertiary institutions as enunciated in the national policy on education: a. Contribute to national growth by providing high-level appropriate workforce training; b. create and instill appropriate values for individual and societal survival; c. enhance people’ intellectual capacity to comprehend and appreciate their local and external surroundings; d. develop both physical and mental abilities that will allow people to be self-sufficient and productive members of society; e. support and promote academics and community service; f. create and maintain national unity, and g. encourage understanding and engagement on a national and worldwide scale (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). These goals could only be met in a learning environment free of unethical behavior by both faculty and students. Thus, unethical behavior is defined as any behavior that is forbidden by law (Civil Service Commission of Philippines, 2000). It also indicates that it is a morally repugnant or legally forbidden behavior. An undesirable behavior, a poor conduct, or an unlawful act that is punished by law. According to Ogunleye (2000), unethical conduct occurs when choices allow an individual or group to benefit at the cost of society as a whole. Giving weight to this, Cumming, Maddux, Cleborne, and Dyas (2002) noted that allowing students to engage in incorrect or unethical working procedures would hurt their future employment, create economic damages, and harm to other people’s reputations. This is due to students’ perceptions of academic dishonesty as something they often engage in (Sankaran and Bui, 2003). Exam malpractices, plagiarism, undermining colleagues and peers group work, unlawful use of school computers to alter official scores, online copying and pasting, and other kinds of academic dishonesty exist. In the context of this research, ethical behavior is a desirable moral kind of legal behavior from a professional. This is to state that school ethics are intended to offer equitable teaching and learning opportunities for all students and lecturers in order to accomplish its specific aims and objectives, as well as the national education goals in general (Nwakpa, 2010). As a result, engaging in examination malpractice is equivalent to failing to achieve educational objectives. Examination malpractice, according to Asinya (2012), is a massive and unprecedented abuse of rules and regulations pertaining to internal and public examinations, beginning with the setting of such examinations and continuing through the taking of the examinations, their marking and grading, and the release of results and the issuance of certificates. Dalton (2006) noted that unethical behavior has penetrated the fabric of the students, as various styles and techniques are used to assist themselves and their fellow students in return for/for financial satisfaction. With the introduction of new styles and methods such as impersonation, thuggery, hooliganism, and physical assault, the use of mercenaries and the delay in the start of examinations, spying or giraffing, carrying prohibited materials to examination halls, configured calculators, illegal communications, and the exchange of answer booklets, exams, or question papers, Dalton, 2006; Alutu, & Aluede, 2005) To further discourage staff from accepting monetary and material incentives from parents, guidance, students, and others who might want to destabilize the examination process, Dalton(2006); McCabe, Trevino, and Butterfield (2001) proposed that in every examination setting, each invigilator be assigned to one to twenty students, and that changes in students’ sitting arrangements should always be made. However, since the inception of tertiary education in Nigeria, various studies on students’ unethical behavior have been conducted; however, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, no empirical studies on strategies for managing examination malpractice as students’ unethical behavior in tertiary institutions in Bayelsa State have been conducted. This has created a knowledge gap, which this research aims to close. This research is intended to critically evaluate the methods for controlling test misconduct among university students in Bayelsa State against this backdrop and in fulfillment of the objectives of tertiary institutions.
1.2 Statement of research problem
From the context, it is clear that examination malpractice as unethical student behavior is not a new phenomenon at higher institutions. This unethical behavior manifests itself in a variety of ways, including impersonation, thuggery, hooliganism, and physical assault, the use of mercenaries and the delay in the start of examinations, spying or giraffing, bringing prohibited materials to examination halls, configured calculators, illegal communications, and the exchange of answer booklets, exams, or question papers, among others. These heinous acts and activities in higher education have led in a deterioration in the level and quality of education. This decrease in tertiary education quality has prompted a number of empirical research on how to control test misconduct as well as students’ unethical behavior in order to attain qualitative education (Alutu, & Aluede, 2005). Despite these findings, the increase in examination malpractice as a result of students’ unethical conduct at higher institutions of learning continues unabated (Dalton, 2006). This has prompted the question, “Have any methods for managing examination malpractice in tertiary institutions been identified?” Furthermore, several empirical studies have been conducted in Bayelsa State since the establishment of tertiary institutions, but to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, none has been conducted to ascertain the strategies for managing examination malpractice as students unethical behavior in tertiary institutions in the state, thus the gap this research study intends to fill. The goal of this research is to look at the methods for dealing with test misconduct among university students in Bayelsa State.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The primary objective of the study is as follows
- To find out the causes of exam malpractice among university students in Bayelsa
- To find out the effect of exam malpractice among university student in Bayelsa
- To examine the strategies used to manage exam malpractice among university students
- To find out ways exam malpractice can be eradicated among student in Bayelsa universities
1.4 Research hypothesis
- What are the causes of exam malpractice among university students in Bayelsa?
- What are the effect of exam malpractice among university student in Bayelsa?
- What are the strategies used to manage exam malpractice among university students?
- What are the ways exam malpractice can be eradicated among student in Bayelsa universities?
1.5 Significance of the study
The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:
l This study will examine strategies for the management of examination malpractice among Universities in Bayelsa state
l The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, radio stations, broadcasting commission and academia.
1.6 Scope of the study
This study will examine strategies for the management of examination malpractice among University students in Bayelsa state. Hence it will be delimited to Niger delta university.
1.7 Limitations of the study
This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:
just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data
Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires
Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher
1.8 Operational definition of terms
Strategy: a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
Management: the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.
Examination malpractice:any deliberate act of wrong doing, contrary to the rules of examinations designed to give a candidate an undue advantage.