Counselling; A Strong Tool For Checking Examination Malpractice And Coping With Examination Anxiety
Secondary school students³ perceptions of examination malpractices and examination ethics were assessed. The participants were drawn from Secondary Schools in the Benin Metropolis of Nigeria. The study revealed that majority of the students believed that their indulgence in examination malpractice was a common occurrence, which will be difficult to eradicate. Parents, teachers and school principals were found to encourage cheating in examinations. The study also revealed that majority of the students had a very wrong notion about examination ethics; believing that examination ethics entail among others sitting next to someone in order to copy from his/her paper in the examination hall. In all, counselling intervention strategies such as: school counsellors partnering with the school authorities and students to set up examination ethics clubs that will teach the virtues of hard work; school counsellors partnering with parents/ teachers associations and other significant others on strategies that would help to inculcate in them the virtues of responsibility were advocated.
Table of Content
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- List of Tables
- 1.1 Background of the study
- 1.2 Statement of the problem
- 1.3 Objective of the study
- 1.4 Research Questions
- 1.5 Research hypothesis
- 1.6 Significance of the study
- 1.7 Scope of the study
- 1.8 Limitation of the study
Review of Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Framework
- 2.2 Theoretical Framework
- 3.1 Introduction
- 3.2 Research Design
- 3.3 Population of the study
- 3.4 Sample size determination
- 3.5 Sample size selection technique and procedure
- 3.6 Research Instrument and Administration
- 3.7 Method of data collection
- 3.8 Method of data analysis
- 3.9 Validity of the study
- 3.10 Reliability of the study
- 3.11 Ethical consideration
Data Presentation and Analysis
- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Descriptive Analysis
- 4.3 Inferential Statistics
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
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. In Nigeria, the first publicly reported case of examination malpractice occurred in 1914when 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. But, the outstanding years were 1963- 2003 (West African Examination Council,2004).
The major forms of examination malpractice 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 & Daramola, 1992). This trend in examination malpractices is inimical to academic development and advancement and needs to be drastically addressed. Examination malpractice is an illegal or unethical behaviour by somebody in the process of testing an examinee³s ability or knowledge by means of questions (Ikupa, 1997).
Oluyeba and Daramola (1992) remarked that examination malpractices include the following: examination malpractice is any irregular behaviour exhibited by a candidate or any-body charged with the conduct of examination before, during or after the examination. Test anxiety is a state of uneasiness, worry or feelings of uncertainty about an impending or on- going test or examination. It is a familiar emotion which is caused by a perceived danger or threat to individuals. Thus, anxiety refers to a psychological and physiological state consists of emotional, somatic, cognitive and behavioural components. The two forms of anxiety are “State” and “Trait” anxiety. According to Ossai (2005) “State” anxiety manifest in form of tension, apprehension, nervousness and worry as well as other related physiological stimulation which emanate from the stimulation of the autonomic nervous system while trait anxiety is a relatively stable proneness to react to situations or impending events with high level of worry or apprehension.
Examination malpractice has crept into the fabrics of all levels of educational enterprise in Nigeria occasioned by laxity on the part of the students, poor supervision of examinations, poor educational background, societal stigmatization and fear of failure, poor study habit, lack concentration, disillusion and thereby involve themselves in examination malpractices. Therefore, examination malpractice is an act of wrongdoing that contravenes the rules of acceptable practice before, during and after examinations; it is practised by students in secondary and primary schools . Egbo (2013) studied various counselling strategies and recommended the implementation of several social, educational and teacher sensitization strategies. He stated that to avoid a disaster of examination malpractices, there is need for counsellors who have the professional training with students to get the best out of them.
Test anxiety is an educational problem that is commonly experienced by all students. Practically, students will feel some level of stress when they take a test, but for some students, the level of anxiety increases drastically and affects their performance . Moreover, test anxiety has shown a negative relationship with test performance, and their performance is about 12% less than non-anxious students. Some researchers considered the effects of problem-solving technique on test anxiety and academic performance and found that significant difference in the test anxiety levels between groups. Recent studies on examination malpractice and test anxiety have reported various implications which cheapens scholarship, impedes the intellectual progress of the nation, affects national growth, facilitates the enthronement of a mediocre, half-baked, incompetent and corrupt workforce.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In recent time more than any other time in the history of this country, the prevalence of examination malpractices have assumed an alarming trend. The situation is so ugly that hardly you read newspapers, attend conference or go on internet without coming across issues rose on examination malpractices. The situation has also become so bad that our national and local mass media indirectly support and encourages examination malpractices by allowing people to advertise the phenomenon on the pages of their papers or radio and television .
The advertisement is in the form of school (mostly private) inviting students to come, write examination in their schools, and pass in one sitting. The question commonly asked here is how does one pass an examination by just registering and writing exams in the school? The possibility of such candidate or all those registered with the school, passing at a single sitting as advertise, is not that the entire students were so intelligent nor is it through training and hard work but the truth is through cheating. An investigation by THIS DAY revealed that certain secondary schools in Kaduna have become centre of excellence, where one can register for WAEC, NECO, or SSCE and determine the number of credits one wants, with full assurance that this will happen at the end of the day (Reuben, 2008). The truth is that so many schools in different part of the country are involved in this act. Hence such schools charged exorbitantly, tagged as ‘cooperation fees’ or ‘settlement fees’ in order to have surplus fund that will meet up the expenses of bribing external examiners or invigilators, as claimed by such school proprietors. According to Reuben (2008) that with the payment of stipulated amount, once question paper comes to such schools, it is solved by the teachers, quickly photocopied and distributed table by table to all the students that paid. In addition textbooks and any other relevant materials have free access into such exam hall.
Also it is in Nigeria that due to lawlessness, people go about freely discussing how they cheated or were helped to cheat in examination in their various centers. In some other examination centers answers are photocopied and given to students to copy free. The freedom has gone to the extent that some invigilators or their agents copy answers for candidate on the black board. Hence, you discover in recent time students with the support of their parents from public schools rush to such private schools to pay and register at the rate of twenty five thousand (N25, 000.00) to thirty thousand (N30, 000.00) instead of the official government rate of five thousand naira (N5, 000.00) to seven thousand Naira (N7, 000.00) charged by public schools (Reuben, 2008). These students also ignore the sponsorship offered to indigene students in public schools by most northern states government; simply because of their belief that such private centers provide automatic ticket for them to get the minimum of 5 credits and above including mathematic and English. Little wonder, therefore, that students with such a very good result find it extremely difficult to pass ordinary JAMB or post UME examinations in our various universities and polytechnics.
Similarly, examination malpractices increased tremendously in colleges of education. Most Academic Board of Colleges of Education receives cases of students’ involvement in different forms of examination malpractices almost after every semester. Such reports were presented to Academic Board through Examination Malpractices Committee (EMIC). In some colleges EMIC is centralized while in other colleges the committee is decentralized so that each school in the college has its EMIC which report to the Dean of the school who in turn report to the Academic Board for consideration and final approval. It is then obvious that examination malpractices and its management is complex. It is indeed complex because it has to do with managing inappropriate behavior that involves many interested groups within and outside the College. More importantly collecting evidences or facts of such misbehavior is not an easy task as some candidates swallow cheat notes to escape prosecution. For instance a case was reported of an engineering student from Calabar polytechnic caught copying from a foolscaps almost chocked to death as he was swallowing it in an attempt to destroy evidences (News watch, 1991). This is one out of so many episodes happening in Nigerian schools. Although some scholars have considered strategies like Self-Management Techniques, behavioural approaches incorporating systematic desensitization, relaxation training, biofeedback, modelling, anxiety reduction technique, anxiety management training and other behavioural techniques, more in-depth studies is still imperative. These concerns have raised the interest of teacher and professional counselors to fashion out ways to alleviating the problem among students. The objective of this study therefore is to evaluate various counseling strategies for checking examination malpractice and test anxiety among secondary school students in Nnewi education zone.
1.3 objective of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to examine counselling: a strong tool for checking examination malpractice and coping with examination anxiety.
Specifically the study seek to:
- To investigate the perception of student towards examination malpractice.
- To determine if principal and parent contributes to student indulgence in examine malpractice.
- To determine if test anxiety has a significant influence on student indulgence in exam malpractice.
- To investigate if counselling intervention strategies can serve as a strong tool for checking examination malpractice and coping with examination anxiety.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
- HO: Test anxiety has no significant influence on students’ indulgence in exam malpractice
- HO: Counselling intervention strategies cannot serve as a strong tool for checking examination malpractice and coping with examination anxiety.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study analysis of the type, causes, effects and management of examination malpractices in Nigeria colleges of education is hoped to be of great significance in many ways not only to the colleges in the research areas but to the nation and international community at large.
The study will also be of great importance to external examination bodies at other levels of education such as the National Examination Council (NECO) West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and Joint Matriculation Board (JAMB) on various mechanisms of examination malpractices more especially now that the practice is becoming more rampant, sophisticated and varied. This is because students were exposed to cheating techniques not only through friends/peer group influence but, through professional programs on line (internet). The study will also be of great significance to the state and federal ministries of education in understanding the origin, various agents’ causes and effects of examination malpractices in colleges.
The study would no doubt play a vital role in making the policy makers and legislators to acknowledge the risk and threat exhibited by students involved in examination malpractices and the perpetrators some time indiscipline parents, corrupt teachers and peer groups as alleges by culprits or invigilators. This will enable legislators not only revisiting the existing disciplinary measures but to insist that culprits are punished without fear or favor.
To student the research may bring about positive changes in their attitude to studies and examination, so that we have examination malpractices free society. It would also serve as an important source of related literatures for future researches which this work did not adequately covered.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study borders on counselling: a strong tool for checking examination malpractice and coping with examination anxiety. The study is however delimited to secondary school students in Nnewi education zone in Anambra State.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
This research like every other endeavour had its limitation. In the course of conducting this research work few factors constitute impediments such as time constraint within which the study must be completed as the researcher was combining project work with other academic activities thus made it a stressful task. Financial constraint was also a challenge to printing enough materials which is a contributory reason that contributed while larger sample size was not selected for the study. More so, the respondent attitude towards accepting the research instrument and while some accepted they might have produced bias answers.
However inspite of these constraint, the research painstakingly put in the best which in no way affected the reliability and validity of the research study.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
The focus of this study examines counselling: a strong tool for checking examination malpractice and coping with examination anxiety using Nnewi Educational Zone in Anambra State as case Study. The study investigated the perception of student towards examination malpractice. It determined if principal and parent contributes to student indulgence in examine malpractice. It ascertained if test anxiety has a significant influence on student indulgence in exam malpractice. It investigated if counselling intervention strategies can serve as a strong tool for checking examination malpractice and coping with examination anxiety.
Survey research design was the methodology employed for the study and with the aid of Convenience sampling technique 147 participant from selected secondary school in Nnewi Educational Zone was enrolled for study. The research instrument was issued to the respondent of which 141 were retrieved and validated for the study. Both primary and secondary data were used in the study. Hypothesis test was conducted using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS v.2.3)
Finding from the study reveals that text anxiety can make student to involve in examination malpractice. More so, that counselling intervention strategies can serve as tool to remedy the situation.
The results provide support for cognitive explanations of performance deficit encountered by students with heightened levels of cognitive test anxiety. Specifically, it appears that students may experience cognitive interference while preparing for examinations, taking examinations, or both. Interference during preparation may lead to a poor conceptualization or organization of the content, limiting the ability to retrieve key information during the test. Thus, the cognitive interference and information processing models of cognitive test anxiety seem to best account for cognitive test anxiety and examination malpractice observed in the study.
The strategies which can be contextually relevant and useful for students in this study can be; task orientation and preparation, positive thinking, seeking social support, avoidance, relaxation training, coaching/ guided imagery, self -instructional training, establishing purpose, affirmation, modalities, positive Anchors, mental simulations, use of humour, preparation o f cheat sheet and study skills training. To summarize this discussion, it is concluded that we live in a test taking society and that when students are anxious before and during tests, cognitive test anxiety has a significant and effective impact on their involvement in examination malpractice which invariably leads to poor academic performance
From the findings of the study, it is recommended that;
- To effectively manage cognitive test anxiety, students can be helped by teachers, parents and educational administrators through the use of cognitive, affective and behavioral strategies.
- Reorientation programmes and proactive counselling, should be organized for students who show tendency to engage in examination malpractices.
- Students should be encouraged to prepare for their examinations in advance so that they will develop confidence consequently that can help to prevent or reduce excessive tension.-Guidance and Counselling services should be employed through academic advising for students before examinations that may help to reduce feeling of hopelessness and low self-esteem.
- Guide students to handle and cope with affective tension during examinations and be made to understand that some level of tension is required as a motivating factor before the exam.
- Examinations and continuous assessment tests as well as assignments should be well planned to avoid excessive trembling on the students which most likely triggers cognitive test anxiety.
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