CAUSES OF EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE/UNFAIR MEANS
I.E.R University of Peshawar
The education system is the instrument a society uses to equip all its people to lead productive public lives and full personal lives according to their talent and interest. This system must be such that gifted individuals have full opportunity to develop their skills; it must give scope for the training of a leadership group and at the same time provide for the development of all the vocational abilities needed for the creation of a progressive and democratic society.
The quality of education that we impart to our youth and the priority at which we rate it contribute largely to the formation of the attitudes they carry over into public life. So whatever kind of seed we sow in the classroom, the manner in which we nurture it and the strength which it imbibes in its various stages of growth will all determine the harvest that the nation will reap in the form of its educated youth coming out of the schools, colleges and universities. The imprints of these institutions of learning will become indelible marks clearly visible in all fields of our national life; be it a clerk in an office, a soldier in the battle field, a school master in a village school, a University Professor, a bureaucrat running the administration in a seat of power. This great impact of education on the national character is understandable once we recognise both the short term as well as long term power education wields over all who go through its process. Historical evidence proves that nations were made or unmade, battles lost and won, revolution wrought, so much so that entire empires collapsed or emerged due to the educational systems of various peoples of the World. Ancient
Examination is the pivotal point around which the whole system of education revolves and the success or failure of the system of examination is indeed an indicator of the success or failure of that particular system of education. It would be pertinent to examine the present system of examination with a view to determine as to whether it actually serves the purposes it purports to serve. The two basic assumptions of any examination worth the name are that (a) it should be valid and (b) it should be reliable. The two are distinct concepts. An examination is said to be valid if it performs the functions which it is designed to perform. The concept of reliability, of course, refers to consistency of measurement. In actual fact, the prevailing system of examination and its mode of conduct defy both these assumptions. The system has degenerated to an extent that its validity and reliability are questionable. Examination is no longer regarded as a test for evaluating the performance or judging the scholastic attainment of students. The reason being that there is a complete breakdown of the whole system of examination, almost all over the country, and at all level of education.
The use of unfair means in examination has assumed a plague some proportion. Barring a few institutions, elsewhere in the country, the educational establishments are experiencing an ever increasing trend towards the use of unfair means in examinations. Such establishments are unable to stop this drive. The concerned governments -- Federal as well as Provincial -- though fully aware of the problem, have failed to take effective steps towards eradicating this evil. The intensity and pervasiveness of this problem can be gauged from the fact that apart from the students, some parents too positively intervene and help and facilitate their children in their cheating adventures. The use of unfair means in examinations in certain areas has indeed become a thriving business for the examination mafia.
What is examination malpractice?
Examination malpractice is defined as a deliberate wrong doing contrary to official examination rules designed to place a candidate at an unfair advantage or disadvantage.
Examination malpractice is any illegal act committed by a student single handedly or in collaboration with others like fellow students, parents, teachers, supervisors, invigilators, printers and anybody or group of people before, during or after examination in order to obtain undeserved marks or grades.
The malpractices that is commonly committed in examination
Range from leakage of question papers to copying, changing answer books, impersonation, misconduct in examination centre, approaching invigilators/examiners, making false entries in award list/ examination registers and issuing fake certificate/degrees etc.
Such acts may be broadly categorised as follows
1- Allotment of choice examination centre.
2- Appointment of choice invigilating staff.
3- Leaking information about question papers, identification of invigilating staff and paper setters/examiners.
4- Bribing/influencing/terrorising examination staff, invigilators and paper setters/examiners.
5- Possessing cheating material (written/printed/electronic device etc) or copying from such material.
6- Giving/receiving assistance to copy in examination centre.
8- Changing/replacing roll numbers and answer books.
9- Disclosing candidates' identity in answer books.
10- Misconduct, carrying offensive weapons, refusing/resisting the lawful orders of supervisory staff, creating disturbance, instigating other candidates, threatening or assaulting the invigilating staff, impeding the progress of examination, in or outside the examination.
11- Smuggling answer books in or outside the examination centre.
12- Addition to answer books after examination.
13- Manipulating marks through fictitious entries in award list/examination register.
15- Helping the candidates to use unfair means in any form and by any one in or outside the examination centre.
16- Helping the candidates in viva voce, practical examination.
17- Attempting or abetting the commission of any of the afore-said acts.
18- Any other act considered dishonest, unfair, corrupt etc.
Effects of Examination malpractice
§ Discourage good candidates from studying hard
Good candidates are tempted to believe ‘if u cannot beat them, join them’ especially as they see other candidates get away with their corrupt behaviors. This behavior may be contagious as more and more candidates tend to join in examination malpractice. They believe that even if they are caught, they will get away with it and the end will justify the means
· Denies innocent students’ opportunity for admission
Many good students have been denied admission by the corrupt ones who through examination malpractice have better scores and grades. The best brains that could help in research and development are likely to be thrown out or frustrated while seeking admission
· Delays the processing of examination scores and grades
Every year, many students are caught for engaging in various examinations malpractices which needs to be investigated before results are released. Though some results are withheld pending the determination of the cases, some are decided before results are released. This extends processing time.
· Dissatisfies candidates
Candidates who possess certificates they cannot defend are dissatisfied. They have psychological problems arising from the way they acquired their certificates. In some instances, they will not be bold to present the certificates because they can be presented with tasks that will require them to defend the certificates
· Decreases job efficiency
This has a serious implication on the gross domestic product of the country. It also has effect on the general quality and standard. Imagine the havoc of a half backed medical doctor could wreck on human lives. What about teachers who cannot competently handle the subject they are trained to teach. There is a chain effect of examination malpractices on the educational system and the society as a whole.
Causes of examination malpractices/unfair means
The malpractices in examination have mainly contributed to the overall deterioration of the standard of education in our country.
The malpractices are commonly committed in examination at the pre-conduct, conduct and evaluation stages.
Different agents are involved and cause examination malpractice.
v Malpractices on the part of BISE
§ Allotment of choice examination centers
§ Appointment of choice invigilating staff
§ Supervisory staff is unfairly selected on the basis of nepotism .They are not devoted to their duties.
§ Poor paper setting: paper setters are mostly untrained and unaware of modern approaches to assessment. The exam papers are hardly representative of the entire curriculum.
§ Scoring of papers: Examiners hardly receive any instructions for scoring the papers, they prefer to check the papers at home and that most markers mark one paper in only 5 to 10 minutes.
§ Low salary level for invigilators and examination officials. They are provided with very low facility.
§ Examination centers are without rules .There is no check who should be allowed and who should not be allowed.
§ Pre planned seating arrangements.
v Parents involvement
§ Approach invigilating staff
§ Provide bribe and gifts
§ Nepotism also helps them allot
v Material publication
There are model papers and, guess paper guides available in the market with ready made answers.
v Negligence of invigilators
Teachers/supervisors are non-vigilant during supervision. They allow mobile, peon, chowkidar, watchman to provide cheating to students.
v High stakes of examination
§ Students freely commit unfair means by the force of pistol and klashankove
v Students personal factors
§ Inadequate preparation and desire to pass at all cost. Poor preparation promotes poor performance.
§ Affected by the previous experiences/ Friends provide them encouragement.
§ Supported by society
§ Supported by parents
§ High parental expectations.
v Lack of school resources
§ Overcrowded examination centers
§ Not enough space
§ Poor seating arrangement
§ No observational strategies
v Defunct security
§ Police also provide help and unable to ensure security
§ Law enforcing agencies not dealt with impersonation act etc set the culprit free after taking bribe.
§ Laxity in prosecuting offenders
§ Lack of serious penalty for past offenders.
v Teachers role
· Gross inadequacy of qualified teachers in our schools
· Lack of devotion to their profession
· Unawareness towards teaching learning objectives
· Not properly trained, no capacity building
· Not providing moral training to students
The resort to copying and use of other unfair means/ malpractices in examinations is a serious problem. This problem is symptomatic of a disease in our educational system which is eating into the vitals of our society. This malaise is harmful for the moral and intellectual development of our youth. It is afflicting the ethical and social fabric of our society. This state of affairs must not last for long. There is a dire need for taking measures to put an end to this evil. One way of dealing with the problem is to introduce effective and comprehensive legislation, providing for stringent penalties against the use of unfair means in examinations. This step was taken recently in our neighbouring country
Management of malpractices in examination
Ø More than one set of question paper in each subject should be generated to create uncertainty as to which paper will be finally used in the examination.
Ø Multiple sets of question paper may also be used to ensure that all the students do not get the same question paper.
Ø Question paper may contain space for answering the question thus eliminating the need for separate answer book.
Ø At present highest attention is paid to the performance of students in the terminal examinations. This induces a tendency of last hour preparation in great hurry leaving no scope for digesting the knowledge. Learning is a continuous process and hence evaluation of learning outcome must be done on a continuous basis.
Ø Give magisterial powers (including right to arrest) to examination board officials.
Ø Conduct frequent and unannounced visits to examination centres.
Ø Conduct a public awareness campaign to highlight the importance of integrity of the examination system.
Ø Not writing names on answer scripts. Writing fictitious roll numbers that will be substituted later with the real candidate’s number.
Ø Adequate sitting arrangement should be provide during exams to discourage cheating.
Ø National and international examination board and organization should share information on new threats to examination security and procedures for counteracting malpractice.
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