1.1Background to the Study
Teachers at different stages use examination to assess and evaluate the academic achievement of students in the school system. In all teaching and learning situations therefore, it is essential to find out from time to time how much the students are achieving from what they are being taught. In order to do this effectively, teachers, examining bodies like the West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO), National Teachers Institute (NTI) etc and classroom teachers assess the students by administering weekly, termly, end of year test and final examinations. Bearing in mind the role that education is suppose to play in nation building, a nation stands the risk of being underdeveloped in terms of accumulation of illiteracy, disease and poverty when its youths reject the honour of getting sound education and seems to opt for fraudulent activities and deceptive ways in making- ends meet as epitomized by examination malpractices thereby negating the philosophy of sound education. The products of such a system can only grow up to be cynics, insensible, dishonesty, ignorant, narrow-minded, myopic, unintelligent, deceptive, close-minded, one sided beings who would be indifferent to the issues of life and powerless to act, create problems and never succeed in life (Ogunsanya, 2004).
Examination malpractice has been described as a “demon with a thousand faces” (AIigbo, 1996, p.1). It is a scourge that has defied all measures adopted to eradicate it from our educational system. It has continued to rear its ugly head in most examinations conducted in Nigeria from the primary schools to the universities. It manifests in so many ways either before, during or after the actual conduct of examinations. It is a term that denotes all forms of cheating in examinations.
Examination malpractice is any activity of a student or group of students whose purpose is to give any of them higher grades than they would likely receive on the basis of their own achievement. Fatai (2005) defines it as any irregular act exhibited by candidates or anybody charged with the conduct of examination, which is clearly a breach of the rules governing the conduct and integrity of the examination. It is viewed as any act carried out before, during and after an examination, which is against the rules set out for the proper and orderly conduct of the examination. It has been further described as an action done to gain undue advantage over other candidates which is against the rule and regulations governing the conduct of such examination. Omotosho (1988) viewed it as dishonest use of position of trust for personal gain.
Examination malpractices has been in existence for a very long time. Famiwole (1995) reported that the first case of examination leakage and irregularities in public examination occurred in 1945. According to him, a Nigerian candidate has his examination cancelled because of the possession of a history note during 1948 Matriculation Examination. An earlier incident was the leakage of the Cambridge School Certificate Examination in 1914, since then, there have been several cases. However, the most widely reported cases occurred in 1963, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1987, 1991 and 1994 (Money, 1997).
The concept of examination malpractices was more prominent in examinations conducted by the West African Examination’s Council (WAEC) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) as well as in certificate examinations conducted by State and Federal Ministries of Education. This might have also accounted for the concentration of researches on examination malpractices in the secondary schools (Nwafor, 1991; Oghembe, 1999; Onakonwen, 1995; Edewor, 1998; Daniel, 1998; Obimba 2002; Ogunsanya, 2003; Omoegun, 2003). However, examination malpractices have spread to all levels of our educational system. It is even claimed that examination...