GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING A STRONG TOOL FOR CHECKING EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE AND COPING WITH EXAMINATION ANXIETY
Background to the Study
Test anxiety is a state of uneasiness, worry or feelings of uncertainty about an impending or on- going test or examination [1,2] . It is a familiar emotion which is caused by a perceived danger or threat to individuals  . Thus, anxiety refers to a psychological and physiological state consists of emotional, somatic, cognitive and behavioural components  . The two forms of anxiety are “State” and “Trait” anxiety. According to Ossai  “State” anxiety manifest in form of tension, apprehension, nervousness and worry as well as other related physiological stimulation which emanate from the stimulation of the autonomic nervous system while trait anxiety is a relatively stable proneness to react to situations or impending events with high level of worry or apprehension  .
Examination malpractice has crept into the fabrics of all levels of educational enterprise in Nigeria occasioned by laxity on the part of the students, poor supervision of examinations, poor educational background, societal stigmatization and fear of failure, poor study habit, lack concentration, disillusion and thereby involve themselves in examination malpractices. Therefore, examination malpractice is an act of wrongdoing that contravenes the rules of acceptable practice before, during and after examinations; it is practised by students in secondary and primary schools  . Egbo  studied various counselling strategies and recommended the implementation of several social, educational and teacher sensitization strategies. Uba  , stated that to avoid a disaster of examination malpractices, there is need for counsellors who have the professional training with students to get the best out of them.
Test anxiety is an educational problem that is commonly experienced by all students. Practically, students will feel some level of stress when they take a test, but for some students, the level of anxiety increases drastically and affects their performance  . Moreover, test anxiety has shown a negative relationship with test performance, and their performance is about 12% less than non-anxious students [10,11] . Olorunfemi-Olabisi  considered the effects of problem-solving technique on test anxiety and academic performance and found that significant difference in the test anxiety levels between groups. Recent studies on examination malpractice and test anxiety have reported various implications which cheapens scholarship, impedes the intellectual progress of the nation, affects national growth, facilitates the enthronement of a mediocre, half-baked, incompetent and corrupt workforce.
In recent time more than any other time in the history of this country, the prevalence of examination malpractices have assumed an alarming trend. The situation is so ugly that hardly you read newspapers, attend conference or go on internet without coming across issues rose on examination malpractices. The situation has also become so bad that our national and local mass media indirectly support and encourages examination malpractices by allowing people to advertise the phenomenon on the pages of their papers or radio and television (Nasiru, 2009).
The advertisement is in the form of school (mostly private) inviting students to come, write examination in their schools, and pass in one sitting. The question commonly asked here is how does one pass an examination by just registering and writing exams in the school? The possibility of such candidate or all those registered with the school, passing at a single sitting as advertise, is not that the entire students were so intelligent nor is it through training and hard work but the truth is through cheating. An investigation by THIS DAY revealed that certain secondary schools in Kaduna have become centre of excellence, where one can register for WAEC, NECO, or SSCE and determine the number of credits one wants, with full assurance that this will happen at the end of the day (Reuben, 2008). The truth is that so many schools in different part of the country are involved in this act. Hence such schools charged exorbitantly, tagged as ‘cooperation fees’ or ‘settlement fees’ in order to have surplus fund that will meet up the expenses of bribing external examiners or invigilators, as claimed by such school proprietors. According to Reuben (2008) that with the payment of stipulated amount, once question paper comes to such schools, it is solved by the teachers, quickly photocopied and distributed table by table to all the students that paid. In addition textbooks and any other relevant materials have free access into such exam hall.
Also it is in Nigeria that due to lawlessness, people go about freely discussing how they cheated or were helped to cheat in examination in their various centers. In some other examination centers answers are photocopied and given to students to copy free. The freedom has gone to the extent that some invigilators or their agents copy answers for candidate on the black board. Hence, you discover in recent time students with the support of their parents from public schools rush to such private schools to pay and register at the rate of twenty five thousand (N25, 000.00) to thirty thousand (N30, 000.00) instead of the official government rate of five thousand naira (N5, 000.00) to seven thousand Naira (N7, 000.00) charged by public schools (Reuben, 2008). These students also ignore the sponsorship offered to indigene students in public schools by most northern states government; simply because of their belief that such private centers provide automatic ticket for them to get the minimum of 5 credits and above including mathematic and English. Little wonder, therefore, that students with such a very good result find it extremely difficult to pass ordinary JAMB or post UME examinations in our various universities and polytechnics.
Similarly, examination malpractices increased tremendously in colleges of education. Most Academic Board of Colleges of Education receives cases of students’ involvement in different forms of examination malpractices almost after every semester. Such reports were presented to Academic Board through Examination Malpractices Committee (EMIC). In some colleges EMIC is centralized while in other colleges the committee is decentralized so that each school in the college has its EMIC which report to the Dean of the school who in turn report to the Academic Board for consideration and final approval. It is then obvious that examination malpractices and its management is complex. It is indeed complex because it has to do with managing inappropriate behavior that involves many interested groups within and outside the College. More importantly collecting evidences or facts of such misbehavior is not an easy task as some candidates swallow cheat notes to escape prosecution. For instance a case was reported of an engineering student from Calabar polytechnic caught copying from a foolscaps almost chocked to death as he was swallowing it in an attempt to destroy evidences (News watch, 1991). This is one out of so many episodes happening in Nigerian schools. Although some scholars have considered strategies like Self-Management Technique  , behavioural approaches incorporating systematic desensitization, relaxation training, biofeedback, modelling, anxiety reduction technique, anxiety management training and other behavioural techniques  , more in-depth studies is still imperative. These concerns have raised the interest of teacher and professional counselors to fashion out ways to alleviating the problem among students. The objective of this study therefore is to evaluate various counseling strategies for checking examination malpractice and test anxiety among secondary school students in Nnewi education zone.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
- What is the perception of male and female teacher counsellors on the strategies for checking examination malpractice among secondary school students in Nnewi education zone
- What are the understanding of male and female teacher counsellors on the coping strategies for test anxiety among secondary school students in Nnewi education zone
The following hypotheses guide the study:
- There is no significant difference on a perception of male and female teacher counsellors on the strategies for checking examination malpractice
- There is no significant difference on understanding of man and female teacher counsellors on the coping strategies for test
The study analysis of the type, causes, effects and management of examination malpractices in Nigeria colleges of education is hoped to be of great significance in many ways not only to the colleges in the research areas but to the nation and international community at large. This is possible through suggesting ways of restoring credibility of the examination in Colleges of Education in the country. It would also be of significant to the Provost, teachers, religious leaders, National Commission for College of Education (NCCE), legislators, curriculum experts, educational planners and parents through its findings and recommendation. The study will also be of great importance to external examination bodies at other levels of education such as the National Examination Council (NECO) West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and Joint Matriculation Board (JAMB) on various mechanisms of examination malpractices more especially now that the practice is becoming more rampant, sophisticated and varied. This is because students were exposed to cheating techniques not only through friends/peer group influence but, through professional programs on line (internet). This study will also be of tremendous importance to religious leaders and preachers whose mission is to have honest and discipline society. This can be accomplished through inculcation of right attitude, values, and promotion of moral identity among Nigerian citizens more especially the youths who cheat during examinations and they are expected to be leaders of tomorrow. The study will also be of great significance to the state and federal ministries of education in understanding the origin, various agents’ causes and effects of examination malpractices in colleges.
The study would no doubt play a vital role in making the policy makers and legislators to acknowledge the risk and threat exhibited by students involved in examination malpractices and the perpetrators some time indiscipline parents, corrupt teachers and peer groups as alleges by culprits or invigilators. This will enable legislators not only revisiting the existing disciplinary measures but to insist that culprits are punished without fear or favor.
To student the research may bring about positive changes in their attitude to studies and examination, so that we have examination malpractices free society. It would also serve as an important source of related literatures for future researches which this work did not adequately covered.
The Scope of the Study
The scope of the study is delimited to only colleges of education in among secondary school students in Nnewi education zone.
GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING A STRONG TOOL FOR CHECKING EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE AND COPING WITH EXAMINATION ANXIETY