Nature and causes of examination malpractices in selected Secondary Schools in Kitwe District, Zambia

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Maheka, Gladys
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This is a study whose aim was to establish the nature and causes of examination malpractices in selected secondary schools in Kitwe District. The Examination Council of Zambia has placed a high premium on examinations. Despite the high premium placed on examinations, examination malpractice are still on the increase. The aim of the study was to bring out the nature and causes of examination malpractice. A descriptive design was used. Data collection included the use of in- depth interviews with an education standards officer at DEBS office and school managers while focus group discussions were used for learners. Questionnaires were also used for teachers and learners. The sample for the study was one hundred and forty eight ( 148 ) which was disaggregated as follows; one hundred and twelve ( 112) grade twelve learners, twenty eight ( 28 ) teachers, seven ( 7 ) school managers and one ( 1 ) education standards officer ( ESO ) from Kitwe district. Quantitative data was analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) while qualitative data was analysed thematically. The study revealed that the nature of examination malpractice includes; leakage, impersonation, taking foreign material into the examination room, collusion, body writing or tattooing, hiding material in washrooms, taking in already answered scripts and replacing them with the answer script given to them, giraffing and text messages and borrowing of stored material using cell phones. This study highlights the reasons for examination malpractice which includes learners desire to pass the examinations , lack of confidence, fear of failure, worry of failing to get a certificate, the emphasis on obtaining a certificate to get a job, improper guidance by teachers to face examinations, frequent absenteeism and laziness. Generally, the study revealed that both boys and girls engage themselves in examination malpractices because they all want to pass. Notably, both government and private schools engage themselves in examination malpractice. Furthermore, the study also revealed that learners from both high socio- economic background and low socio- economic background engage in examination malpractice. In order to address examination malpractice, it was recommended that schools should conduct intensified sensitisation to both teachers and learners. It was also recommended that the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) through the standards officers and school managers should intensify monitoring in order to ensure quality delivery of lessons so as to develop confidence in learners and also ensure that school based continuing professional development (SB- CPD) is enhanced so that teachers share knowledge on how to teach the seemingly challenging topics. This should be done to help learners understand what they are learning and in the end develop confidence for them to write examinations. The other recommendations included staff and student awareness campaigns and workshops to highlight the importance of the integrity of the education system and also to stiffen and enforce security policies.
Cheating(Education)-Zambia , Education malpractice , Educational tests and measurements