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effectively reducing the examination malpractice menace

Updated on February 24, 2013

Examination Malpractice (rules and regulations to curb the menace)


Examination could be broadly defined as a formal written, spoken or practical test or assessment, especially at school or college (Oxford advanced learner’s Dictionary of current English, 2001). Encyclopedia Britannica, (1972) describes it (examination) as the assessment of a testee’s performance when confronted with series of tasks, questions, problems or situations in order to ascertain the amount of knowledge he has developed. These forms of assessment were used by the great universities of medieval Europe to examine their students. By 1599, the Jesuits had introduced written examinations into their school system with relevant rules and regulations. However, the development of modern examination, as it is known today, is credited to the Oxford University via its examination statute of 1800. ( Asuru 2002).

Ever since the introduction of modern examination, it has remained an integral part of our formal educational system. Through it, the amount of knowledge acquired by testees can be ascertained. Generally, examination helps to generate data to be used for promotion, certification, selection predication etc. However, for the result of an examination to be credible, valid and reliable, the examination must have been taken according to rules and regulations guiding the conduct of the examination.

For some decades now, the conduct of examination in most institutions of learning has been fraught with various types of examination malpractice. The phenomenon which started in very simple form (leakage/exposure of question papers) has assumed an embarrassing and cancerous dimension. Afigbo (1996) in Usani (2002) describes it as the demon with a thousand faces. What are these faces? They are nothing other than the various forms of examination malpractice. At this juncture, let us briefly describe some of them.

Some Forms of Examination Malpractice

Ecowas/Ecomog: - This is some arrangement between friends who evolve a suitable system of passing information in coded language during the examination in several ways.

Academic Alliance: - This is some relationship established between a brilliant male student (provider) and a below-average female student referred to as (subscriber). Both of them sit very close together. The subscriber shows gratitude either in cash or in kind.

Computer System: - This involves the use of cell phones within the hall with stored answers to receive and send text messages to friends/mercenaries outside the examination halls.

Collusion: - This may involve two or more candidates agreeing to collaborate with unscrupulous examination agencies or school authorities, between candidates and invigilators, between supervisors, invigilators and school authorities or between parents of candidates and invigilator etc, all with intent to cheat.

Leakage: - This takes place when candidates have knowledge of live questions before the examination day. These students are more likely to do better than those who never saw the live questions, as they can read relevant books, notes and could consult others to help coach them.

Impersonation:- This involves a false declaration to be another person. A candidate may do this in order to write examination for another candidate not endowed academically. This plot does not succeed without the connivance of the invigilator and or the supervisor with the offender, to cheat to attract

financial rewards.

Other forms of cheating: - Cheating occurs in the examination hall in many instances. Candidate may take in notes into the examination hall to help him answer questions, may copy from peers, exchange answer sheets, share formulae, copy answers on handkerchief or toilet tissue etc.

The following are proven cases of cheating in examination as identified by Usani (2002), Asuru (2002), Opata (2003) and Okendu (2009)

a. Smuggling worked scripts into the examination hall.

b. Writing the same number as that of a good student.

c. One candidate submitting two scripts.

d. One script having two different handwritings on it.

e. Candidate swallowing the paper suspected to contain smuggled answers.

f. Candidate attaching money to script and asking the marker for mercy.

g. Candidate complaining of running stomach but using the toilet period to find answers to examination questions.

h. Invigilator pretending to be reading newspaper to allow bright candidates to help the weaker ones etc.

It is important to note, that students susceptible to cheating in the examination exhibit certain characteristics. The following have been identified by Denga (1998) as behaviour that can precede cheating in examinations.

1. Candidates ill prepared for examinations can appear rather unstable and mobile, probably triggered by high tension, anxiety and fear. Their frantic movements and unsteady eyeballs suggest them as cheats.

2. Unusual movements of unauthorized persons around the examination premises may signal some warning.

3. Some candidates may exhibit an unusual attachment to each other as they walk together and talk intimately to each other just before the examination begins.

4. Some candidates can make some inordinate financial demands from parents to bribe invigilators and supervisors.

5. Unusual number of pockets on dresses may be an attempt to conceal foreign materials in the examination hall.

6. Very short skirts may be worn by girls so that they can easily read the notes and formulae written on their thighs.

Unfortunately, among the collaborators in this ignoble act, as must have been noted, are invigilators and supervisors. But considering the enormous role they play in the conduct of examination, invigilators stand a very good chance of promoting the ethics of examination. What the ethics are will now be considered with particular reference to my college. But before we do so, let us note a few things about the invigilator.

The Invigilator

An invigilator is the person in the examination room or hall responsible for conducting a particular examination session in the presence of the candidates. An Invigilator has a key role in upholding the integrity of the examination.

The role of an invigilator is to ensure that the exam is conducted according to stipulated rules in order to:

- ensure that all candidates have equal opportunity to demonstrate their abilities;

- prevent possible candidate malpractice; and

- Prevent possible administrative failures (i.e. failures in the course of administering the examination like incomplete number of question papers or answer scripts).

To carry out his task effectively, an invigilator must:

- give all his attention to conducting the examination properly;

- be able to observe each candidate in the examination hall/room at all times;

- report examination anomalies to the chief invigilator for a full written report; and

- not carry out any other task, for example, reading a book or marking, in the examination hall/room.

Furthermore, an invigilator is expected to have a grip of what is expected of candidates, otherwise his ignorance will be exploited by them.

Some Rules and Regulations That Can Govern the Conduct of Examination

1. A candidate shall be in the examination room at leastthirty minutes before the advertised time of the examination and shall be seated at the appropriate allocated seat.

2. A candidate may be admitted up to thirty minutes after the commencement of the examination, but he/she shall not be allowed extra time.

3. Candidates are not permitted to leave the examination hall during the course of the examination except briefly under continuous supervision of an invigilator.

4. Candidates are not allowed to leave the exam venue during the first hour of the examination, nor during the last fifteen minutes.

5. Candidates must hand their scripts to the invigilator when leaving the examination.

6. A student shall bring his/her Identity card to each examination and display it in a prominent position on his/her desk,

7. Each student shall complete attendance register bearing his/her name, number and signature which shall be collected by the invigilator of each examination hall.

8. No student shall speak to any student during examination except with the express permission of the invigilator, and there shall be neither noise making nor any disturbance.

9. No book, printed or written documents or un-authorized aid may be taken into an examination room by students except as may be stated in the examination paper.

10. The use of scrap paper is not permitted. All rough work must be done in the answer books and crossed neatly through, or in supplementary answer books which must be submitted to the invigilator.

11. No candidate is allowed to carry handbag, briefcase etc into the examination hall.

12. A student must not during an examination, directly or indirectly give assistance to any student or permit any student to copy from or otherwise use his/her paper.

13. A student shall write his/her examination number distinctly at the top of the cover of every answer booklet or separate sheet of paper used.

14. At the end of time allowed, each student shall stop writing when instructed to do so and shall gather his/her scripts together ready for collection by the invigilator.

15. Except for the printed question paper, a student may not remove from the examination hall or mutilate any paper or other materials supplied.

16. Violation of any of the above rules may attract appropriate disciplinary action as specified under disciplinary actions for examination misconduct.

Examination Misconduct and Irregularities.

Examination Misconduct can be defined as any acts of omission or commission on

the part of both students and staff which are not in line with the proper behaviour

during college tests, assignments and examinations. Any deviation from proper

behaviour or regulation during college examinations as prescribed above shall

constitute examination misconduct and will be handle by the examination

malpractice committee set up by the head of the institution of study on behalf of their Academic Board.

Any student caught breaching any of the rules/regulations governing the

conduct of examination shall be made to write and sign examination misconduct report and appear before the examination misconduct Committee.

Categories of Examination Misconducts and Disciplinary Actions

Category A. 1:

1 Possession of already prepared answers the examination booklet or any type of paper.

2 Copying from textbooks, handouts, notebooks or any related publication in the examination.

3. Sitting for another candidate and vice versa (Impersonation).

4. Involving in examination paper leakage.

5. Passing in and passing out of answer scripts/question papers

6. Possession of unauthorized answer booklet(s).

7. Swallowing or destroying an evidence during examination.

8. Physical assault of an invigilator/examiner or students by a student during


9. Forcefully taking other student answer booklet for copying.

10. Refusal to appear before examination misconduct committee after

second invitation.


The punishment for any student convicted of any of the above-mentioned

irregularities will be expulsion from the institution.


1. Incitement of other students to disrupt on-going examination.

2. Copying of already prepared answers from pieces of paper, parts of the body,

clothing, desk, wall, and storage of information in handset.

3. Challenging and use of abusive language on invigilator/examiner.

4 Caught with answer script outside the examination hall

(whether used or unused).

.Punishment :

The punishment for any student convicted of any of the mentioned irregularities

will be repeat of one year.


1. Use of unauthorized handset or computerized calculators
during examination.


The punishment for any ^student convicted of the above mentioned irregularity will be repeat of a semester

Category A.4:

1. Exchange of answer scripts in the examination hall.

2. Refusal to sign an examination malpractice report.

3. Leaving the examination hall without permission from the invigilator (s).

4. Non submission of answer script to the invigilator (used or unused).

5. Late arrival to the examination after 30minutes of commencement of a

particular examination.


The punishment for any student convicted of the above mentioned irregularity will

be repeat of a course.

Category A.5:

1. Copying from fellow student in the examination hall.

2. Refusal to obey official instructions.

3. Lateness to examination before 30minutes of commencement of the examination.


The punishment for any student convicted of any of the above mentioned irregularities will be determined by the Chief invigilator/invigilator which may include ceasing answer script and question paper for a reasonable time depending on the degree of offence.


This paper has sensitized us once again to the importance of examination. It has reminded us of the many ways candidates indulge in examination malpractice and what is expected of us as invigilators to guard against it. Armed with this information, and the knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the conduct of examinations in the institution of study, it is expected that lecturers will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that examinations are effectively invigilated and supervised in the institution of study



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