Every single person has to understand the importance of proper education. And, the earlier we understand this, the easier it will be for us to live and work in the future. But, in Nigeria, a negative phenomenon can be observed, which constantly affects the educational system in general. And this problem is examination malpractice. In this article, we will take a closer look at examination malpractice causes, effects, and solutions for it.
Definition of examination malpractice
Examination malpractice can simply be defined as academic dishonesty or academic fraud. In fact, both of these notions can be used interchangeably. So, what is the definition of examination malpractice? This is any type of cheating during the examination process. It does not only refer to students, but to staff too. There are a lot of different types of examination malpractice, but the most general ones are:
- Plagiarism: reproduction of someone's work without any sort of attribution or references to the original author.
- Fabrication: falsification of data, information or reference sources.
- Lying: giving wrong info to the educational staff.
- Cheating: an attempt to take in helpful material for the exam but in a way that the instructor or the examiner does not know about it, including the use of cheat sheets.
- Bribery: getting the right answers or marks for money.
- Sabotage: an attempt to prevent others from passing the exams. This includes, among other things, tearing pages from their books, deliberate damage to someone else's work etc.
- Professor-teaching misconduct: deliberately giving incorrect grade to the student's work or encouraging academic fraud.
You have to remember that some types of examination malpractice could be complex. In fact, it all depends on the swindler’s imagination.
Let’s talk about the main causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria.
Causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria
Incentives for deception
Some researchers believe that there are students with a pathological desire to cheat. For example, scientists have found a link between some plagiarism acts and kleptomania. So, while some people just cannot help themselves when it comes to cheating, others take deliberate actions towards it.
Some demographic aspects like age, gender, and average score may determine the likelihood of a person to cheat. Secondary school students, women, and intelligent students cheat less often, while students that participate in a lot of extracurricular activities are more likely to cheat. Students participating in non-educational actions may be less involved in their studies or need more free time, which they don't have. It leads to a greater necessity to cheat.
It was also discovered that new undergraduates are more inclined to participate in examination malpractice, especially during the first and second year in the university.
Race, nationality, and economic status are weakly connected with examination malpractice. There is also no connection between religious affiliations and exam malpractices.
Social and academical environment
There is a connection between malpractice and the educational environment. For example, research shows that bullied students or those who are uncomfortable in the learning environment are very likely to cheat.
Teachers can unintentionally stimulate examination malpractice. One study showed that when a teacher is very strict and unfair in their teaching, students can see cheating as a form of revenge.
Studies have also shown a connection between student focus and examination malpractice. Those students who perceive classes as a way to master skills cheat less often than those who only focus on academic achievement (i.e, passing the exams).
Peer pressure can also lead to a high likelihood of academic dishonesty. Thus, students who believe that their peers do not approve of cheating are less likely to cheat.
Effects of examination malpractice
Examination malpractice has many effects on students, teachers, educational institutions and the educational system as a whole. For example, students who engage in examination malpractice are more likely to be dishonest in other aspect of their life. Majority of them end up stealing or even cheating at work. Students are adversely affected even after graduation.
The school certificate is an important document on the labor market. Nigerian employers uses it as a proof of student's knowledge and abilities. However, due to examination malpractice, not everyone who has a diploma is smart or possesses the required skills.
Due to the high rate of exam malpractice, employers cannot rely on the certificate to tell them who deserves the job and who doesn't. That's why a lot of them are afraid to pay new graduates the salary they deserve because they don't believe in their skills. Consequently, academic dishonesty adversely affects everyone, even decent students.
Examination malpractice creates problems for teachers. It affects the way the faculty and even the school is viewed. One study says that 77% of teachers say dealing with cheating students is the most stressful part of their job.
Examination malpractice in Nigeria can also have a negative impact on the reputation of the institution. Institutions affected by scandals associated with deception may become less attractive to potential sponsors, prospective students and potential employers. Conversely, universities with a low level of examination malpractice can use their reputation to attract new students and employers.
Solutions for examination malpractice in Nigeria
Numerous publications consider various measures of counteracting cheating in exams.
- Disqualifying them from taken the exam
- Low marks.
- Monetary fines (for example, in Oxford, a fine of £100 is imposed on fraudulent students).
Most researchers agree that in order to combat student fraud during examinations, a set of measures, both administrative and educational, is needed to increase interest in learning. .
Ultimately, examination malpractice destroys the academic world. This destrous the main point of education — the gaining of knowledge and practical skills. This means students can obtain a certificate without gaining knowledge. This phenomenon makes the learning process unfair. As a result, even honest students and teachers feel its negative effect.
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