STUDY HABITS AND CHEATING BEHAVIOUR OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN UKANAFUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, AKWA IBOM STATE
- Background of the Study
The value and functionality of any educational system lie in its ability to actualize the goals of education. In the field of education and psychology, examination processes have been discovered all over the world to be a highly complex problem. Several researchers have tried to explain it differently and the description of each is partially true. The goal of national educational systems and national development becomes a mirage if examination ethics are not implemented and sustained.
Till date, examinations still remain the best tool for an objective assessment and evaluation of what learners have achieved after a period of studying. Hence, any action that undermines examination posses a great threat to the validity and reliability of examination results and certification (Fayombo, 2004).
Unfortunately, the process of examination in Nigerian secondary schools has become a “contemporary shame. “This is due to the way students cheat in examinations, and this has become endemic in our educational system (Nwokocha, 2005). Year by year, students devise various methods of cheating in Public examinations. Such methods according to Asuru (1997) include; copying of answers already written by others, and taking into the examination hall already prepared answers to questions which has been leaked to students.
Female students have been known to conceal papers or write notes on certain parts of their body that no supervisor or invigilator may search without violating personal privacy (Lobel, 1993). Outside agents have also sometimes been known to throw written answers to candidates in the hall. Fraudulent invigilators even introduce written answers to candidates in some cases. (Johnson & Co., 1972).
In 1973, the gravity of irregularities at public examinations caused member countries of the West African Examination Council much concern to the extent that the Federal Military Government had to promulgate a decree spelling out penalties for unethical behaviours at the then West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE). For instance, unethical behaviour such as illegal use of live question papers and impersonation were punishable by a fine of N2000 or five years imprisonment or both (Onyechere, 1996; Osokoya, 1977). Even in 1984, the Nigerian Federal Government enacted the famous decree 20 – Miscellaneous offences Decree, which stipulates a 21 years imprisonment without any option of fine for anyone caught in any form of examination malpractices. With such attendant punishments, one would expect to have an end to examination leakages but to no avail.
An episode of leakage in the then West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) was witnessed in 1967. The leakage was so widespread that it warranted the setting up of a special high powered commission of inquiry. This commission headed by Alexander was to trace and identify the sources of examination leakages and make recommendations to combat future leakages. Some of those involved in the 1967 scandal were Primary School Pupils taking their First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) examination. 1977 saw yet another large scale leakage and examination cheating that led to the setting up of yet another commission of inquiry headed by Sogbetum. This commission made similar findings and recommendations like that of Alexander (Eze, 1982; Ekpu, 1991).
While many people thought the tide had been nibbled in the bud, the 1978 examination came with no slight difference from the 1977 drama. The 1978, 1980 and 1981 examinations arrived with the same ugly picture (Aniagwu, 1990).
This social nuisance has considerably attracted public concern. It disturbs the minds of well meaning citizens of this country to see how students have so utterly, and so shamelessly rested upon, and regarded cheating as the only channel to success. They have regarded intensive reading as a wasteful exercise. This is reflected in their study habits. Rather than bending down to study, many students indulge in absenteeism from classes, and laziness over their studies. When examination comes, these students would scout everywhere in search of question papers (Haines, et al, 1986).
Examination cheating is a situation whereby a person uses all available crude means to score or obtain a grade which otherwise he would not have merited. The methods may be buying live – question papers, copying another person’s answers, asking for answers to objective questions from friends, copying from inscriptions written on ones hands, labs, clothing and bringing notebooks or textbooks to the examination halls (Hollinger & Co., 1996)
Other means of students’ cheating behaviour in public examinations are not hard to come by. One of such is the so much importance being attached to paper qualification which makes the students to regard passing an examination as a do or die affair.
A child’s career opportunities and educational advancement is placed on the types of certificate he possess nowadays. This makes the acquisition of the Senior Secondary School Certificate to be accorded the highest premium (Effanga, 2006; Hassan, 1987).
Many teachers abuse their vocational calling by being a party to examination cheating. Suspected questions are solved for students while many principals encourage it so as to win good reputation for their schools, thereby attracting large student population to their schools.
Parents of students are also to be blamed for examination cheating. A greater percentage of them dictate the subjects their wards would read at school. They do not take into consideration the individual differences of human beings. In order to please their parents, student engages themselves in one form of cheating or the other so as to pass the examination (Lobel, 1993).
Examination irregularities may be traceable to the physical condition in the examination hall. Many more students write examinations in hall than the hall can conveniently accommodate. Thus, over crowdiness provides the students a convenient opportunity to cheat. This however, results in the students’ retirement in their study habits such as concentration, time allocation, study habit procedure, note-taking and teacher consultation, etc.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Most of our Secondary School Students lack apparent interest in their studies. Some students devote their time to watching firms, engaging in non-academic venture, among other. Situations are observed where teachers do not mind student’s absenteeism from classes, students dodging of class assignments and non-participation in academic programmes.
The researcher has observed that many Secondary School Students cannot obtain the required grade that could help them to further their education. It has been observed that poor study habits among Students lead them to develop cheating behaviour in examination. Nowadays, our students lack confidence to write even class tests. They copy assignments from other brilliant students to submit to their teachers. It is the problem of this study, to examine students’ study habits and their cheating behaviour in examination.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
This research study was aimed at investigating the relationship between study habits and cheating behaviour of secondary school students, specifically, the objectives were to:
- Determine the relationship between students time utilization and their tendency towards cheating ion examination
- Determine the relationship between students’ level of concentration and their tendency towards cheating in examination.
- Determine the relationship between students’ tests and assignments and their tendency towards cheating in examination.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study
- What is the relationship between students’ time utilization and their tendency towards cheating in examinations?
- What is the relationship between student’s level of concentration and their tendency towards cheating in examinations?
- What is the relationship between students’ attitude to tests and assignments and their tendency towards cheating in examinations?