The Anatomy Of Examination Fraud

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Project and Seminar Material for Education


This study sought to assess the anatomy of examination fraud among University students and staff in Higher Education institutions in Nigeria. The study used the qualitative research methodology. Participants were drawn from four (4) Higher Education institutions.

The researcher used a structured questionnaire and group interviews for data generation. The study revealed that examination malpractice and fraud is caused by fear of failure and inadequate preparation for examinations, shortage of learning and teaching resources among other factors. It was observed that the major types of examination malpractice and fraud being perpetuated in Higher Education institutions are possession of ‘unauthorised materials’ during examinations, copying from each other in the examination rooms.

The research further revealed that examination malpractice and fraud leads to lack of confidence in Higher Educational qualifications, results in unqualified graduates, discourages hard work and lowers the standard of Nigerian education.

The research recommended that relevant legislation be crafted and enforced and that guidance and counseling services be adequately provided to minimize the incidence of examination malpractice and fraud. Lecturers should teach their students the necessary reading skills to enable them to develop good reading habits in preparation for examinations. Management of Higher education institutions should endeavour to secure large halls to be used as venues for writing examinations.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Certification Page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table Of Contents

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background to the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Purpose of the study
  • 1.4 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.5 Research Questions
  • 1.6 Significance of the study
  • 1.7 Scope of the study
  • 1.8 Organization of study

Chapter Two:

Review Of Related Literature

  • 2.1 Preamble
  • 2.2 The concept of examination and examination fraud
  • 2.3 Definition of examination fraud
  • 2.3.1 Different faces of examination frauds
  • 2.3.2 Forms of examination fraud
  • 2.4 History of examination frauds
  • 2.5 Possible causes of examination frauds in schools
  • 2.6 Attitude of secondary school students towards examination frauds
  • 2.7 Consequences of examination frauds in schools
  • 2.8 Remedial approaches to malpractices in secondary schools

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Sources of data
  • 3.4 Sampling
  • 3.5 Reliability
  • 3.6 Validity
  • 3.7 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.8 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.9 Ethical consideration

Chapter Four:

Results And Discussion

  • 4.1 Results
  • 4.2 Discussion

Chapter Five:

Conclusion And Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background To The Study

According to Onyechere (1996), “examination is a formal test of a student’s knowledge, skills or ability in a particular subject especially by means of oral or written questions or practical exercises”. Liman, (1996) defines examination as a means of testing a student’s knowledge and competence. Higher Education institutions in Nigeria consider examinations in determining whether or not a student can proceed to the following semester or year or qualify to graduate. Examination is therefore indeed pivotal as an indicator of the success or failure of higher education and still remains the best tool for an objective assessment and evaluation of what learners have achieved after a period of attending tutorial sessions, writing of assignments and other scholarly work.

Examination fraud 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.

The level of students’ involvement in examination malpractice in higher Education has become increasingly worrying, problematic and threatening to the well-being of Nigerian educational system (Sigauke 2004). The leakage of question papers, reckless impersonation in the examination centres, desperation of school proprietors, bribing examination officials, parents buying leaked papers in advance for their children before the commencement of the examinations are some of the major forms of examination malpractice and fraud as observed by Sigauke (2004).

Examination malpractice and fraud should not be taken for granted if academic institutions want to pursue best practices in examination management, (Nwahunanya 2004). Such occurrences ultimately damage public confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the examinations and results.

Liman, (1996) notes that ethical standards for examinations are being compromised and this again has become a cause for concern among stakeholders in the education sector throughout the whole world.

In the past, measures have been taken to determine the causes of examination malpractice and fraud and some strategies have been developed in a bid to curb the problem, but new examination malpractices and fraud continue to surface, (Ugwu 2008). Possible solutions to this problem remain a challenge to the integrity of the Higher Education examinations system in Nigeria and elsewhere.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Examination malpractice and fraud undermine the integrity and credibility of the institutions of higher Education. Examination malpractice and fraud also poses the greatest risk to the learner assessment system. It is therefore imperative that higher education institutions should create innovative mechanisms to prevent, unearth, and counter unethical and illegal behaviour in examination management.

1.3 Purpose Of The Study

This study sought to assess the perceptions of University students and staff on examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education institutions.

1.4 Objectives Of The Study

The study was guided by the following objectives:

  1. To document the prevalence of examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education.
  2. To identify factors which cause examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education?
  3. To document the effectiveness of existing measures to curb examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education.
  4. To recommend other measures to be used by Higher Education institutions to curb examination malpractice and fraud.

1.5 Research Questions

The following research questions guided this study:

  1. How prevalent is examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education institutions in Nigeria?
  2. What are the factors causing examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education institutions?
  3. How effective are the current measures in curbing examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education institutions?
  4. What other measures should be used to curb examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education institutions?

1.6 Significance Of The Study

This study will enable Management of Higher Education institutions in Nigeria to have a clearer understanding of the problem of examination malpractice and fraud and ways of minimising these problems.

This study will also enable Higher Education institutions to improve the validity, credibility and reliability of their qualifications and in this way stakeholders will have the confidence of employing graduates from Higher Education institutions in Nigeria.

1.7 Scope Of The Study

This study investigates the anatomy of Examination Fraud. The study is therefore limited to higher education institutions in Nigeria.

1.8 Organization Of Study

The study is divided into five chapters.

  1. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study.
  2. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature.
  3. The chapter three gives the research methodology while
  4. The chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data.
  5. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five

Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The study was carried out on the anatomy of examination fraud. This study revealed that staff and students believe that examination malpractice and fraud is not a major problem among higher education institutions in Nigeria. They believed that possible examination malpractice and fraud could be in the form of possession of ‘foreign materials’, copying from one another during examination and writing information on palms and thighs. Staff and students highlighted that the major causes of examination malpractice in universities could be fear of failure, inadequate teaching and learning materials and inadequate preparation for examinations. The most serious effects of examination malpractice are increase in the production of half baked graduates, lowering of academic standards and lack of confidence in the Higher education graduates. Other effects include breeding of a generation of fraudsters and other social vices and the discouragement of hard work among students. Examination malpractice in universities could be curbed if there is emphasis on the inculcation of work ethic values, provision of guidance and counseling services, enforcement of the relevant examination regulations and provision of adequate teaching and learning resources.

5.2 Recommendations

The study recommends the following measures to curb examination malpractice and fraud in Higher Education institutions in Nigeria:

  1. The University departments responsible for managing examinations should conduct staff and student awareness campaigns and workshops to highlight the importance of the integrity of the examination system and to develop awareness about the dangers of examination malpractice. In addition, seminars and campaigns would help students and lecturers to uphold the moral values of honesty, hard work, dedication and uprightness that characterize education in Nigeria.
  2. The Examination departments in Higher Education institutions should conduct training workshops for invigilators, tutors, lecturers and administrators on best practices in examination management and awareness on the various forms of examination malpractice and fraud.
  3. Adequate sitting arrangements should be provided during exams to discourage cheating.
  4. The government of Nigeria should introduce effective and comprehensive legislation, providing for stringent penalties against the use of unfair means in examinations. For example, stiff penalties such as 5 years of imprisonment for any staff member convicted of examination malpractice and fraud may be a reasonable deterrent.
  5. There should be involvement of professional guidance and counselling services for students in Higher Education institutions to help them acquire development of effective study skills.
  6. Cameras could be placed in examination halls during writing of examinations. Invigilators, school authorities, and other examination officials should be put under surveillance as some of them maybe major actors in examination malpractice and fraud.
  7. Staff remuneration also need to be reasonable in order to minimise the temptation of engaging examination malpractice and fraud.
  8. National and international examination boards and organizations should share information on new threats to examination security and procedures for counteracting such malpractices.

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