This research was carried out to investigate examination malpractice among secondary school students in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government area in Lagos State. The project examines the attitude and perception of students and teachers towards examination malpractice in secondary schools. In this research work, a sample of one hundred (100) respondents was collected using purposive sampling techniques from four secondary schools in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government. The research instrument used for the study was the teachers and students perception questionnaire which was validated by the supervisor and used for the collection of data from the respondents. The data collected from respondents were analyzed with distribution tables and simple percentage using likert scale. At the end of the analysis the study revealed the major reasons for examination malpractice which include parental pressure for good grades, peer group influence, inadequate preparation, and so on. The study further recommends that, good remuneration, re-orientation of teachers and parent, should be emphasized.





1.1       Background of the Study

Evidence abound of increasing incidents of examination malpractices by students at schools and colleges; which conflict with the core purpose of education-the training of the mind and character for the acquisition of practical and theoretical skills, knowledge and functional ideas for development; and the search for truth and knowledge and the creation and communication of ideas ( Aaron, 1992).

In Nigeria, the first publicly reported case of examination malpractice occurred in 1914 when there was a leakage of question papers in the senior Cambridge local Examination.

Ever since, there have been cases of irregularities reported on a yearly basis while the outstanding years were 1963, 1967,1970, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1991,1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,2002,2003 (West African Examination Council, 2004). The major forms of examination malpractices reported are: Impersonation, bringing in foreign materials (books, calculator), substituting worked scripts, stealing, converting, misappropriating scripts; collusion in the examination hall (copying), mass/organized cheating involving assistance from teachers and outsiders; and insult/assault on supervisors/invigilators (Oluyeba and Daramola, 1992). This trend in examination malpractices is inimical to academic development and advancement and needs to be drastically addressed.

Examination malpractice can be defined as a deliberate act of wrong doing, contrary to official rules, and is designed to place a candidate at an unfair advantage or disadvantage; it is a careless, illegal or unacceptable behaviour by a candidate in a formal test of his knowledge or ability in a particular subject (Philemon, 2007). It could also be said to be an act of omission or commission which compromises the validity and integrity of any examination (Okwu, 2006). Examination malpractice is counter-practice that is against ethics of examination, it is an act of disrespect to all rules and regulations guiding the good conduct of any examination or any evaluation process.

Examination malpractice is an illegal or unethical behaviour by somebody in the process of testing an examinee’s ability or knowledge by means of question (Ikupa, 1997). Oluyeba and Daramola (1992) remarked that examination malpractice is any irregular behavior exhibited by a candidate or anybody charged with the conduct of examination before, during or after the examination which contravenes the rules and regulations governing the conduct of such  examination. Such examination malpractice will include any of the following: examination leakage, impersonation, cheating, collusion, swapping of scripts, smuggling of answer scripts in examination halls, result/certificate forgery, verbal/physical assault on examination administrators.

Similarly, Kibler (1993) defined examination mal-practices as forms of cheating and plagiarism that involve students giving or receiving unauthorized assistance in an academic exercise or receiving credit for work that is not their own.

In Nigeria the last two decades have witnessed an alarming rate of crisis of examination misconduct especially in the Secondary and tertiary institutions. It has been widely reported that parents aid and abet examination malpractices directly or indirectly because they even go to the extent of bribing their way through to ensure that their wards get unearned grades. The teachers on their part encourage examination malpractices because they lack the zeal to work and at the end would want to be praised for a job, which was never done thus graduating students who do not actually possess the abilities for which they were examined (Nanna, 1997).

Examination malpractice is not a recent phenomenon or is it peculiar to Nigeria or Africa; but it is a global issue (Ikupa, 1997). However, the alarming rate of its increase in Nigeria calls for novel ways to redress the situation. Examination misconduct has some social and psychological dimensions, which the counselor should address with holistic intervention. Good grades in any examination are gateways to further education and entry into the world of work. But if the value systems of our youths are well constructed, the examination ethics should be adhered to. According to Omoluabi (1993) and Uzoka (1993), our value system has broken down completely and so adults and youths alike act without moral scruples. The general emphasis in our society today is on materialism, bribery, corruption, cultism, sexual promiscuity, fraud, violence, certificate racketeering and a host of other social vices. Aina (1996) succinctly stated that, ethics and integrity are the solution to all the examination ills.

Hence, the social, political and economic structure of this nation is dependent on the promotion of examination ethics; and that hard work is a virtue which once cultivated takes one through life and forms the foundation for an enduring success. Alutu (2002) in a seminar to Secondary School students in Benin City on academic excellence drew students’ attention to the 3p’s —praying, planning and persistent hard work— to academic excellence. The students who were mainly from a Christian community were made to know that praying to God for success without matching it with good study plans and use of time and persistent hard work will not lead them to achieve the goal of academic excellence.

In the WAEC conducted examination in 1991, 30,982 students were involved in examination malpractices while 35,479 were reported in 1992. Shonekan (1996) opines that 1992-1995 a total of 2,818,679 candidates sat for the May/June and November/December Senior School Certificate Examinations and 350,902 candidates’ results were withheld for examination malpractices. Oriola (2003) reports that in 2003 JAMB (Joint Admission and Matriculation Board) 1,099,241 sat for the examination and 116,990 candidates representing 11.5% results were withheld for various examination offences. Jimoh(2009) states that the Federal Ministry of Education blacklisted and derecognized 324 secondary schools across the nation as centers for conducting public examinations from 2007 to 2010. The distribution of the schools that were found guilty of examination malpractice is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Examination Malpractice in Nigerian Secondary Schools


       No of Schools involved


      North Central



      North East



      North West



      South East



      South West



      South South






Source: Week End Times, 17th & 18th February, 2007, p. 4

Table 1 shows the prevalence of examination malpractice in secondary schools in Nigeria. It occurs in all geopolitical zones in the country.

The phenomenon of examination malpractice seems to be aggravated by the large scale and shameful involvement of dishonest and greedy teachers, school heads, parents and all those who take part in examination administration (Ijaiya, 1998). The prominence assumed by this malady in the school system has become a source of concern to stakeholders in the education industry. Every examination season witnesses new and ingenious methods of cheating. The examination process has become endangered to the extent that certification has almost lost its credibility in the country. Certificates no longer seem to reflect skill and competence. Accusing fingers have been pointed at teachers, school heads, parents, students, examination officials and even security agents as those responsible for examination malpractice in the school system (Jimoh 2009).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The persistent occurrence of examination malpractices has been a major concern to educationists. Despite the high premium placed on examinations by the National Policy on Education, it seems that examination malpractices have not been properly addressed in Nigeria. Common observations have shown that there is mass cheating in public examinations in the States. Nothing concrete has been done to reduce the problem except the cancellation of results for a particular centre or the withholding of results in certain subjects.

The perception of teachers towards examination malpractices differs from individual to individual and to a large extent from society.

However, the problem of examination malpractices has eroded the seriousness of students in studying and learning. It has deprived students from learning instead, they prefer going to examination hall with micro-chips, key points, even textbooks to make things easy in the examination hall. Thus the resultant effect of this illicit act is the production of half-baked graduates and invariably leading to inefficiency.

Therefore, this project sought to assess the attitude and perception of students and teachers towards examination malpractices.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the attitude and perception of secondary school students and teachers in examination malpractices.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To examine the various factors influencing examination malpractices.
  2. To find out the motivating factor influencing examination malpractices.
  3. To determine the role of school authorities in aiding, abetting, and preventing examination malpractices.
  4. To examine what motivate teachers to partake in examination malpractices.
  5. To determine the roles of parents ,guardians and peer group in examination malpractices
  6. To make useful recommendations based on the research findings.

1.4       Research Questions

The researcher of this study intends to carry out a research on the issue which raises the following questions:

  1. What attitudes do students portrays towards examination?
  2. What are the factors that predispose students to examination malpractices?
  3. Is there any significant role played by school authorities towards examination malpractices for the students?
  4. Is there any significant difference in teachers’ perception of examination malpractices in secondary schools?
  5. Is there any significant role played by parents or guardians towards examination malpractices?
  6. Is there any significant role played by peer groups towards examination malpractices by students?
  7. What is the perception of teachers on examination malpractices?

1.5       Research Hypothesis 

  1. Ho:  There is no significant difference in the behaviour of students in the examination hall compared to when they are taught in the classroom.
  2. Ho: Inadequate examination preparation of students cannot lead to examination malpractices.
  3. Ho:  There is no significant relationship between school authorities on examination malpractices and secondary school students.
  4. Ho: There is no significant relationship in teachers’ perception toward examination malpractices in secondary schools.
  5. Ho: There is no significant role played by parents towards examination malpractices by students.
  6. Ho: There is no significant relationship between peer group influence and examination malpractices.
  7. Ho:  There is no significant difference in teachers’ perception of examination malpractices in public and private secondary schools.

1.6       Justification of the Study

The need to assess the attitude and perception of teachers and students towards examination malpractices cannot be underestimated in recent time and the outcome of this research work will be of immense benefit to the government agencies, principals of schools, teachers, parents/guardians and the society at large. This will provide useful information and guidelines for solving the problem of examination malpractices in secondary schools.

1.7       Significance of the Study

  1. The study will beam more light on the problem of examination malpractices in secondary schools
  2. It will help to enlighten education administrators on the principles of solving the problems of examination malpractices in schools.
  3. The research work will provide opportunity for better appreciation of educational certificate in the country.
  4. It will help in solving the problem of brain drain in the country.
  5. It will help secondary school student to put the right attitude towards learning and in examinations.

1.8       Scope of the Study

The canker worm of examination malpractices has eaten deep into the fabric of education in the country. This study will concentrate on the effects of examination malpractice, their causes, and possible solution in some selected secondary schools in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government in Lagos state.

1.9       Limitations of the Study

The major constraints to this research work is time required in administering the questionnaire and the writing of the thesis, as well as the cost of moving from one school to another in administering and filling of the questionnaire by respondents. Also, uncooperative attitude of some students and teachers in filling the questionnaire.

Lastly, the non availability of enough materials and literatures on the project topic constitutes a constraint.

1.10     Operational Definition of Terms

Examination: It is a way to ascertain how much of a subject matter in a particular field of study the candidate has mastered. In other words, it is a process through which studies are evaluated or tested to find out the quality of knowledge they have acquired within a specific period.

Malpractice: It is a failure of professional person to proper services through reprehensive ignorance or negligence or through criminal intent. It is also referred to as improper misconduct.

Examination malpractice: Is any act of omission or commission that contravenes the Rules and Regulations of the examination body to the extent of undermining the validity and reliability of the tests and ultimately, the integrity of the certificates issued.

School Authorities:  This refers to teachers and principals who are invigilators and supervisors of examination in schools.

Education:  It is the transmission of cultural renewal. It is the development of the mind and body (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains) of an individual in order that he/she may become useful to the society.

Educational Administrator:  This refers to someone who administers an educational organization of a unit within the organization either a system or an institution such as university, polytechnics, colleges, etc.

Teacher: One who educates and train others to learn .He is the person who impacts knowledge into others through some teaching skills and methods.

Curriculum:  This is a guide to the things students are taught in schools. Thus, the content of teaching and learning can be in the form of theory and practice.

School Facilities:  this refers to thing such as buildings, classroom chairs, tables, school hall, Field, Materials etc. that are useful in the school system and enhances effective teaching and learning.

Test Anxiety: This refers to the fear a student exhibits before, during or after writing a test.


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