Reducing Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Schools through Effective Continuous Assessment (C.A) ...

Akanni Olubukola. O, Odofin Bankole

American Journal of Educational Research OPEN ACCESSPEER-REVIEWED

Reducing Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Schools through Effective Continuous Assessment (C.A) Techniques as an Alternative to One- Shot Examination in Osun State, Nigeria

Akanni Olubukola. O1,, Odofin Bankole2,

1Department of Educational Foundations, (With Educational Psychology), University of Lagos, Nigeria

2Department of Educational Foundations and Counselling Psychology, Lagos State University, Ojo


The study assessed the usage of effective Continuous Assessment Techniques in reducing examination malpractices in Nigerian schools rather than the use of one shot examination in Ilesa East Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria. The population for the study were teachers (in training and service.) The purposive sampling techniques were used to select the schools and the stratified random samplings were used to select the samples. The samples included 200 participants, consisting 100 males and 100 females Year II students-teacher in training from Osun state College of Education Ilesa and teachers in service in secondary schools. The study used descriptive survey design. The instruments used were Students’ Questionnaire on Effective Continuous Assessment Techniques (SQECAT) and the Secondary School Teachers Questionnaire on Effective Continuous Assessment Techniques (SSTQECAT). Two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The hypotheses were tested using simple percentage and independent T-test statistical techniques. The results of the analysis showed that there is a significant difference in students’ and teachers’ adoption of Continuous Assessment (CA) as an alternative effective technique in reducing examination malpractices in Nigerian schools. On the basis of the results it was recommended among others that it would be better to adopt the effective and proper implementation of the techniques of Continuous Assessment in Schools as an alternative to one shot examination in Nigerian Schools which would help in reducing examination malpractices, make students work harder and make teachers become more innovative

Cite this article:

  • Akanni Olubukola. O, Odofin Bankole. Reducing Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Schools through Effective Continuous Assessment (C.A) Techniques as an Alternative to One- Shot Examination in Osun State, Nigeria. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 3, No. 6, 2015, pp 783-789.
  • O, Akanni Olubukola., and Odofin Bankole. "Reducing Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Schools through Effective Continuous Assessment (C.A) Techniques as an Alternative to One- Shot Examination in Osun State, Nigeria." American Journal of Educational Research 3.6 (2015): 783-789.
  • O, A. O. , & Bankole, O. (2015). Reducing Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Schools through Effective Continuous Assessment (C.A) Techniques as an Alternative to One- Shot Examination in Osun State, Nigeria. American Journal of Educational Research, 3(6), 783-789.
  • O, Akanni Olubukola., and Odofin Bankole. "Reducing Examination Malpractices in Nigerian Schools through Effective Continuous Assessment (C.A) Techniques as an Alternative to One- Shot Examination in Osun State, Nigeria." American Journal of Educational Research 3, no. 6 (2015): 783-789.

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1. Background to the Study

Examination malpractices has become a nauseating phenomenon in the Nigerian education system, thus posing a great threat to the standard of examinations in Nigeria and the acceptability of the worth of the certificates resulting from them. Examination malpractice, according to Adedokun [1], may be defined to include misconduct or any other act not in consonance with the rules and regulations guiding the examination with a view to obtaining good result by fraudulent means. Examination malpractice has been a cause of great concern to the society to the extent that there had to be an enactment of the Examination Malpractices act 33 of 1999 to deal with its societal menace. The West African Examinations Council also has kept yearly record cases of examination malpractice to buttress prevalence in the polity. Examination malpractice can be sub-divided into three: pre – examination, during examination and post examination. In the pre- examination category, it is the procurement of question papers prior to the date of examination. Malpractice during examination includes, copying from another candidate with or without permission, impersonation, collusion by interested parties with invigilators and supervisors, intimidation of timid invigilator and supervisors, substitution of scripts of registered examinees with those done by mercenaries. Etc. Others are bringing of unauthorised materials into the examination halls, these include cell phones, watches with calculators, receivers linked to external transmitters’ hearing aids and external assistance from invigilators, supervisors, non academic officers (messengers and office clerks) or hired persons. Post examination malpractices on the other hand includes those traced to the full-time staff of the examination council: like invigilators and supervisors unearned scores are substituted with earned ones. Hence, inflated scores are produced etc. Candidates with such ill-gotten grades get admission to the universities and other institutions of higher learning where they are found to perform below expectation. Examination malpractices has placed question mark on the quality of the Nigerian educational system and thus its certification. Thus Uwadiae [28], Bolarin [6], Anwanbor [4] and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) [14] opined that the great emphasis on certificate as a means of employment or progress from one point to the other makes students more desperate to acquire certificates by all means thus culminating in examination malpractices. Ubehenin [27] observed that either student cheats or parent help them to engage in examination malpractices because they want admission at all cost. While Souza [26] was of the view that since teachers are poorly remunerated they are not interested in their work. These results in improper teaching thereby making the ‘not-properly’ taught candidates engage in examination malpractices.

However, Continuous Assessments (CA) is an integral part of the teaching process. Although it is not a new concept in education. In the United States for example, continuous assessment is inbuilt into the teaching- learning process. In Nigeria, there are different views about the concept to the extent that some of them are misconceptions. In order to understand the concept, it is necessary to clarify the misconceptions. Continuous assessment is not continuous testing of the cognitive ability of students whereby the affective and psychomotor domains are neglected .The purpose of continuous assessment is to assess the totality of the learner in the teaching –learning setting. In other words it should focuses on the intellectual ,affective and psychomotor. It is therefore necessary that the teacher should ensure proper assessment of pupils in school from time to time. The old system whereby the final assessment of the learner at the end of a particular level of education was done through a single examination (one shot) appears to be grossly inadequate and lends itself to various forms of examination malpractices. It is evident that an assessment process which takes into account the learners performance throughout the entire period of schooling is likely to be more valid and more indicative of the learner’s overall ability than a single examination.

Continuous assessment is a continuous updating of teachers’ judgement about the learners’ performance in relation to specific criteria which will allow at anytime a cumulative judgement to be made about his/her performance. This agrees with some of the numerous advantages of Continuous Assessment identified by Mangal [16]; Okoli [20]; Obe [18]. Some of the advantages of Continuous Assessment that were enumerated include among others creating situation for students to make adequate use of their time for studies, by completing notes, doing homework and assignments. It therefore motivates students to study more frequently and effectively for long retention as oppose to last minute cramming for examinations. Hence, there would be a sharp reduction in failure rate and examination malpractices.. Continuous Assessment is known to reduce rate of school indiscipline [18]; Continuous Assessment is the appraisal technique which systematically covers all the students’ performance in class tests, home assignment, projects and other school activities during a given school period such as term, semester, year, entire duration of course. The assessment covers not only the student’s academic work (cognitive domain) but also his interest, attitude characters (i.e. affective domain), practical skills and industry (i.e psychomotor domain). The assessment should be periodically carried out throughout every term, semester and year right from when the student entered the school until he finally leaves. The various assessment tools includes teacher-made test, home assignments project, practical, examination, observations, anecdotal records, autobiographic, self reports, interviews, questionnaires, behaviour rating scales and other psychological tests. At the post secondary school level, Continuous Assessment is very much similar to course work as opposed to a single sessional or final examination. Continuous Assessment is seen to posses many characteristics, they are (i) systematic: it is based upon an operational plan whereby all the crucial aspects have been predetermined. It is planned concerning the type if assessment instruments to be used ,the timing and frequency of the assessment sand the type of records to be kept. (ii) Comprehensive: it is aimed at assessing the total development of the students along the three domains and utilisation of various assessment techniques. (iii) Cumulative: it requires the accurate keeping of up-to-date assessment records about each student. (iv) Guidance-oriented: the information so obtained about each student is employed in guiding him for better self-understanding and towards better future development. (v) Diagnostic: this involves continuous monitoring of students progress to identify each child’s strength and weakness. (vi) Prognostic: the information obtained during the diagnosis could be used to predict how well the child performs on similar tasks or even on completely different tasks in the future. (vii) Remedial: that is correction of past failures . C.A practice was introduced into the Nigerian educational system at the same time the educational system was changed to the 6-3-3-4. In the course of implementing the CA programme, some Obe [17] opined that some educational inspectors, principals, teachers, parents and students generally did not like the change in the mode of our educational value to C.A practice. Various reasons were given for this but the most prominent among them are that it meant more work for the principals, teachers, parents and students, also it was observed that most student did not fully understand the CA concept and that finance which was required to provide the necessary materials for the successful implementation of the programme in the various schools, was not provided by the government. In an attempt to make CA practice work in schools despite these “problem” the school principals came up with the idea of administering two periodic tests per term for the “CA” and the end of term examination on the students. However, these periodic test were similar in every way to the end of the term examination where all students in a school wrote tests according to a prepared timetable for one week. The scores obtained by students in each of these formed part of the students’ final assessment score for the term in every respective subjects. However, with proper implementation, the adoption of Continuous Assessment would make student work harder; reduce the rate of examination malpractices while teachers become more innovative.

1.1. Statements of the Problem

Many causes have been identified as encouraging examination malpractices in the country, among which are students laziness, poor study habit and ill-preparedness for examinations, indolence on the part of the parents, teachers, students’ and premium placed on certificates at the expense of actual skills acquisition non –completion of the syllabus [4, 16, 24]. Findings of some other past studies include the fact that classroom over-crowdedness lowers the output of the teachers, insufficient number of qualified teachers and poor teaching method also lead candidate to participate in examination malpractices. Ugwuegbu identifies factors causing examination mal-practice as the urge to avoid failure and consolidation of one’s excellent performances. Denga [7] says that students cheat during examinations because of pressure of work, pressure from parents, friends and absence of severe punishment to culprits. He further noted that parents have become more desperate than ever in the pursuit of their children/Wards education in that they go out of their way to hire people to write examination for their children. One then wonders what morals such parents were passing to this generation, what legacy are they leaving behind for the future generation? If they discourage their children from imbibing the culture of hard work and perseverance by utilizing their brain which will in turn mould and prepare them into responsible adults and leaders. No doubt students no longer burn the midnight candle or make extra effort to come out in flying colours because adequate arrangements would have been made by their parents with connivance of invigilators to ensure a good and excellent result for their children. It is no longer surprises for students to abandon the school they have been attending to register for examination in a different school all in the bid to perfect their arrangement for examination fraud. The students have lost their morals and the confidences in their own intellectual ability due to fact that their mindset is that if you don’t indulge in one form of examination malpractices or the other you cannot pass examination. Examination malpractices has assumed an endemic proportion, it has metamorphosed into organized crime controlled by syndicates. These carte have their links in the Ministries of Education. Examination Board, Examination Bodies and Educational Institutions across the length and breadth of Nigeria. Aliyu and Adeloye [3] discovered that sheer desperation to obtain certificates at all costs and basic intellectual weakness are among factors.

It has been noted that many tricks are adopted by students at whatever level to cheats during examination. Yakubu [29] listed such tricks as concealing jotting in the pants, breast, shoes, text messages, storing information in calculators etc. Examination malpractice, in its various forms in Nigeria has reached such a level and intensity that causes a great concern to the examiners, the government and its people, teachers, parents, employers of labour, admissions and examining bodies and the institutions of learning themselves. The federal government on its part promulgated decrees, examining bodies and school mounted series of workshop, authors also raised alarms on this menace that has perpetrated our educational system. Okoye [21] concluded that the Nigerian national hopes and aspiration as regards building up a virile, prosperous and stable nation may be utterly negated, if these malpractices are allowed to continue riding rough shod over the Nigerian populace. With examination malpractices and their attendant repercussion like withholding of and or cancellation of results, the country could no longer be sure of the efficacy, efficiency and productivity of the educational programmes and institutional procedures since the surest parameter for assessing instructional procedures is instructional outcome. But this instructional outcome is supposed to be assessed (practical experiments were applicable) through reliable examinations. Events in recent times have proved this method wrong when examination malpractice is now in vogue in the country. According to the publication of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Technology [9], Olu-Aderonmu and Adetunberu [22], Ehiametalor, Izuagie and Olaitan [8], Ojerinde and Falayajo [19]. They all agree that C.A identifies specific learning difficulties and gives a feedback to both the teacher and learners. It provides. a sound basis for appropriate re-meditation through corrective prescriptions which are given to the weak learners during their extra time. The researchers are of the need for its use in schools because of learner’s involvement throughout the course of study, which invariably increases reliability and validity of assessment and reduces strains & stresses, cheating in the examination is thereby minimised. As discovered by Olu-Aderounmu and Adetunberu [22] examination leakages have been rampant in Nigeria to the extent that during the 2010 WASCE/GCE held in August/September, the following subjects were cancelled as a result of leakage in so many centres of the questions: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Agricultural Science while English and Mathematics were forcibly postponed. However, Ehon [27] opines that some of the solutions to examination malpractices are improved commitment of parents and teachers to the students’ educational development. The Daily Times Editorial (2011) suggests that the improvement and expansion of infrastructure in schools, proper funding and improvements in teachers’ remuneration and conditions of services will reduce examination malpractices in Nigeria. However, if Continuous Assessment (CA) is vigorously and honestly, pursued, negative practices would be eradicated, this is because it will enhance students’ in-depth study and makes them works harder, while teachers will be more innovative. The study therefore sets out to assess the effective adoption of continuous assessment (CA) by service teachers and teachers in training in ameliorating and reducing examination malpractices in our Nigerian Schools.

1.2. Purpose of the Study

The primary purpose of this study was:

1. Determine the suitability of the use of continuous assessment techniques as an effective instrument for reducing examination malpractices in schools.

2. To proffer adequate solution to the government, administrators and other organisation on the right step needed to tackle the cancerous problem of examination mal-practices.

3. To determine the availability and usability of these C.A techniques for reduction of Exam malpractice.

2. Hypotheses

1. There is no significance difference in students’ (teacher in training) adoption of continuous assessment in reducing examination malpractices.

2. There is no significance difference in teacher’s adoption of Continuous Assessment in reducing examination malpractices.

3. Methodology

The study was a descriptive survey design. The population consisted of all secondary school teachers in Ilesa East Local Government Area of Osun State and all the students (teachers in training) from the Osun State College of Education, Ilesa. A purposive sampling technique was used to select the school while stratified random sampling techniques were used to select the participant. In all, two hundred and forty (240) participants were involved. The procedure was used to select thirty (15 male and 15 female) students from the four schools in the College and the four secondary schools used for the study.

They are:

1. School of Pure and Applied Sciences

2. School of Arts & Linguistics

3. School of Vocational, Technical and Business Education.

4. School of Education

Public Secondary Schools were used they are

1. Ilesa Grammar School, Okesa, Ilesa.

2. Obokun High School, Imo, Ilesa.

3. Biladu Grammar School, Bolorunduro, Ilesa.

4. Hope Grammar School, Bolorunduro, Ilesa.

Two questionnaires titled Students’ Questionnaire on Effective Continuous Assessment Techniques (SQECAT) and the Secondary School Teachers Questionnaire on Effective Continuous Assessment Techniques (SSTQECAT) were used to collect data. The instruments were constructed by the researcher based on the information’s obtained from related literatures. The questionnaires has two Sections, Section A is the bio data and Section B of the SQECAT is on responses of students (teachers in training) to adoption of C.A as an alternative to school examination, while Section B of SSTQECAT is on responses of teachers to the adoption of C.A techniques as an alternative to one-shot examination. The face and content validity of each instrument were determined by experts in the field of Measurement and Evaluation in the Department of Educational foundations University of Lagos. The reliability of the instrument was determined by split-half internal consistency method, the reliability coefficient of the instrument are 0.87 and 0.92 which was consider high enough for the study. The questionnaires were drawn on a 3 point likert scale ranging from Agree, disagree and undecided.

4. Administration

The researchers personally administered the instruments to the participants. They visited each school twice in a week every Tuesday and Wednesday for three weeks. Two hundred and forty (240) questionnaires were administered and two hundred and thirty one (231) were returned but only two hundred (200) were found usable.

5. Data Analysis

Data was collected and analyzed using frequency counts, percentages, mean, standard deviations and t-test to describe the data. All hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

HYPOTHESIS 1: There is no significant difference in student attitude to Effective Continuous Assessment in reducing examination malpractices in Schools.

The responses of students to each item on the Students’ Questionnaire on the Effective Continuous Assessment Techniques are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Analysis of the Responses of Student-Teacher Reactions to the Adoption of Continuous Assessment (CA) as an Alternative to School Examinations Percentage of Students

The table shows the percentages of their responses to each item. An analysis of the students’ preference for the use of Continuous assessment shows that (i) There is high positive preference for the adoption of C.A and that they would prefer C.A to examination in awarding certificates and reducing examination malpractices since 100% of them believed that C.A forces students to read, thereby making them studious and more ready to learn. Hence, continuous assessment should carry more weight (marks) than examination. From the table above it was noted that there exist a great correlation between preference for the use of Continuous Assessment (82.7%) and the need for Continuous Assessment to carry more marks than examination (78.8%). For instance, while 82.7% indicated strong preference for continuous assessment, 11.6% of the respondents disagreed with the assertion while 5.7% were undecided. It follows then that the combination of those who disagreed and those who are undecided would amount to 17.3% which is less than one fifth of the respondents. Similarly, a total of 78.8% agreed that the continuous assessment grades should carry more weight than examination grades whereas those that were undecided combined with those that disagreed were only 21.2% of the respondents. Also, where examinations are to be used, the Continuous assessment (C.A) should carry more marks than examination. This indicates that student reaction to the adoption of the effective implementation of continuous assessment was highly positive. The student have positive attitude to Continuous assessment as a way of reducing examination malpractices.

HYPOTHSIS 2: There is no significant difference in Teacher attitude to Effective Continuous Assessment in reducing examination malpractices in Schools. The second step was to find out the reactions of practising Secondary school teachers. The response of the teachers are analysed in Table 2.

Table 2. Analysis of the Responses of Secondary School Teachers Reaction to the Adoption of Continuous Assessment (C.A) as an Alternative to School Examinations. (Percentage of Secondary School Teachers)

From Table 2, it was noted that Preference for C.A was positively high with 87.5% agreed that C.A is a viable alternative to examination and allows teachers to introduce innovations into their teachings, 81.3% opined that it should be made up of class test, practical and take home assignment hence makes students work harder. while 53.1% of the respondents suggested a ratio 60:40 in favour of Continuous assessment, 12.5% agreed that the grades should be equal on 50% basis while others suggested a ratio of 40:60% in favour of examination grades.

6. Discussion of Results

The results show that the students and teachers both have high positive attitude to Continuous Assessment.

Table 3. T-test Comparison of the Attitude Scores of Students and Teachers to the Practice of Continuous Assessment

The result showed that the students and the teachers both have high positive attitude to C.A with mean score of 42.10 and 47.36 and Standard deviation of 7.98 and 8.24 respectively. It was observed that the mean attitudes scores of the two groups fell in the region of “rejection” on the scales and the alternate hypothesis was accepted, that means there is a significant difference in attitude of service teachers and teachers in training to the use of C.A as an affective instrument for reducing examination mal-practices. These findings are consistent with finding by Alade [2]; Etienne [15]; and Onuka [23] that there is the need for teachers in training to be grounded and have in-depth knowledge and the need for service teachers to be re-trained in areas of test construction and interpretation of test results, this will ensure the success of the school continuous assessment objective. She also opined that with proper emphases on formative evaluation whereby teachers mark and give students feedback on time, this would help students to be able to make the required amendment on time. However, in this study the teachers’ attitude was more positive than the students (teachers in training). The better performances among students exposed to proper Continuous Assessment was expected. This agree with some of the numerous advantage of continuous assessment by Black & William [5]; Okoli [20]; Obe [18]. Some of the advantages of continuous assessment that were enumerated include creating situation for students to make adequate use of their time for studies. The high mean value for the response of student and practicing teacher was 49.10 and 48.4 to the use of continuous assessment was expected, this agrees with Osueze [25] that, improved time on the task by keeping student busy and committed to studies thereby improving performances. Also, a diverse and comprehensive approach to continuous assessment enhances proper and better classroom teaching and learning and significantly reduces examination mal-practice.

However, the national steering committee on Continuous assessment (2005) made the following suggestions on the weights to be used in combining school assessment with the final examinations at the end of the Junior and Senior Secondary School.

a. Junior Secondary School Level/ Senior Secondary School Level

Source: Federal Ministry Education Science and Technology (2005):

However the findings of this write up showed a reversed situation, that is 60% for continuous assessment and 40% for the SSCE grades.

The findings of this study generally indicated that it would be better to adopt the use of continuous assessment in schools. But lack of proper implementation procedures by teachers lowers its reliability and credibility. Findings also revealed that continuous assessment should carry more weight than examination with a ratio of 3:2 and that continuous assessment consist of Classroom tests, practical’s, take home and classroom assignments.

7. Conclusion

On the basis of the findings of the study, it is included that:

1. There was high positive attitude towards the adoption of C.A by teachers (in-service and training).

2. The teacher’s in service and the student teachers have higher preference for the adoption of C.A than the student teacher.

3. The findings of this study generally indicated that it would be better to adopt the use of continuous assessment in schools. But lack of proper implementation procedures by teachers lowers it reliability and credibility

4. Lack feedback in various assessment exercises and assessment being forced in the cognitive domain alone but should include assessment in affective and psychomotor domain.

8. Recommendations

1. Continuous assessment to be used should have credibility criteria and quality assurance measures to be taken to implement the C.A effectively throughout the school system.

2. Assessment of students should cover three domains of learning i.e cognitive ,affective and psychomotor.

3. Emphasis should be placed on the use of Continuous Assessment from Primary schools to University level. Proper implementation on the adoption of C.A would make students work harder while teachers become more innovative.

4. The ratio of 3:2 that is 60% to 40% should be adopted and that governments and institutions should enforce its use. In other words, efforts should be made to de-emphasise reliance on the one shot examination as a measure of students’ ability.

5. It is equally important to state that all modes of Continuous Assessment should not involve too many tests. This is because any typed test is prone to cheating. One would be rest assured that 60% of the total assessment of any candidate is not prone to any type of malpractice. The remaining 40% which is examination may however not carry much weight in the overall assessment of the learner.

1. It is believed that if examinations are de-emphasised right from Primary schools and pupils believe that class work, practical and home assignments contribute more to their movements to the next class, the habit of cheating and tendency to cheat always would be minimised. Hence, if such students are exposed to external examinations, they would have been accustomed to less dependence on examinations.

2. The class size should be reduced and kept at a maximum 40 per class for effective supervision and implementation of Continuous Assessment technique.

3. Teachers should ensure that the students are continuously assessed with different testing and non testing assessment instruments and not just achievement tests only.

4. School administrators should de-emphasize one-shot testing and promote proper continuous assessment practices in the schools.

5. School administrators and policy makers should ensure that effective and easy to implement participatory continuous assessment approaches are developed and used in our schools.

6. Teachers should be motivated so that they can be more dedicated to their jobs.

7. Teachers needs more training and skills to be able to carry out the task effectively. Hence ,the need for capacity building training for secondary school teachers by the federal, state ,local government and other employer of labour to enhance their productivity

8. Continuous assessment should be carried out at predetermined intervals for the purpose of monitoring and improving the overall performance of the student and of the teaching –learning environment. The monitoring requires more manpower on the part of the teacher and the administrator. Hence, the continuous assessment recommended should have the following peculiar characteristics,

a) Pre determined interval for assessment ;means should follow a plan of operation which is uniform for all school in the educational system and student are to be well inform on the following no of assessment; date for each assessment; topics or modules on which assessment is to be based; objective domains to be assessed and types of instrument to be used.

b) The Overall Performance Component :This involves looking at student in totality to ensures an all round development of the intellectual skills, the affective and the psychomotor behaviours of the student.

c) Measurement data obtained at predetermined intervals .:data should be recorded and used in the future to make decisions on the student.

d) Monitoring: This is perhaps the critical component for the improvement of learning and teaching process.


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