Causes of and Dealing with Exam Cheating

JulietEducation in Kenya, Eneza MediaLeave a Comment


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A valid test measures what is supposed to and the outcomes are similar to the objectives of that test. It is not about the validity and reliability of a test but other issues that affect administration of examinations.

As a learner, I have no option but to cram and get drilled for the sake of passing examinations if the products of education are based on academic qualifications. When academic achievement is tagged to best schools and courses, learners are forced to use every means to capture these opportunities. Excellence based on recall as opposed to reasoning and skills attained by the end of a learning period has changed the end goal of curriculum to focus on information retention as opposed to skills.

Come to think of it, what I am I expected to give as responses when all that is set does not capture what we learnt or from the syllabus? This gives one a headache during exam session. If the results begin with a D- or D, then candidates are sentenced to the jail of failures. They join many inmates who are thought to have their future come to an end. This is not a license to more cheating but just a deeper insight into the issues that drive the scholars into over speeding on the road of cheating.

Overcrowding and overpopulation have been witnessed in national schools because they are fought for. Form one selections have severally been cancelled out because of ‘cheating’ or ‘unfair’ allocations of admission opportunities-the ripple effects of exam cheating. The mighty secure places for their sons and daughters. This leaves out those who truly deserve opportunities but miss out because of their inferior financial statue.

More than 10 reasons why exam cheating is rampant

  • I cheat because the examination body tests a wide range of content retention from class 4-8.
  • I cheat because the bodies mandated for education ranks schools and individuals to see best performers countrywide for media coverage.
  • I cheat because we are given the same battle ground (Sit for the same test) despite the educational environment, with reference to availability of resources as teachers, laboratories and even level of syllabus completion, as everyone is measured on the same scale.
  • I will cheat as long as teachers and parents assist by bringing foreign materials to schools in form of leakages.
  • I do cheat because I am not prepared to handle any test in a subject because information was drilled into my brain for only one purpose-excelling in exams.
  • I cheat because the selected teachers to set exams have breached confidentiality as one of the codes of conduct so they share the exams six months before the exam time.
  • I cheat because the custodians of the exam papers have been tempted to reveal the content prior to the exam time.
  • I cheat so as to secure a place in a national high school which increases my chance of cheating myself into one of the top best universities to take the most prestigious courses.
  • It is the order of the day to cheat as the cheats get away with the exam irregularity. No arrests are done. The education bodies do not follow up to measure the reliability of that test. This makes people explore smarter ways of cheating by the help of the technological gadgets.
  • I cheat because academic achievements have been glorified or overrated at the expense of skills acquired. No one will prove that the grade scored is proportional to competence level.
  • I cheat because, the test items are repeated hence easy to predict of the forthcoming items.
  • Fear to miss a secondary school makes me freak out hence push/propel me to cheat in exams.
  • I cheat so as to qualify for the government sponsorship. The education bodies do not slot the learners below a cut-off point into colleges hence leaving to parents and learners to struggle for slots by their own means. The population left out is more than 80 percent of those that sit for any national exam.
  • I cheat because other schools or classmates are cheating so as to belong.


How to curb Exam Cheating

Testing of knowledge or information retention and skills gained in every level. This is as opposed to wide range of testing, from level 4-8 considering the brain capacity of learners of ages 9-13 years.

Equity in education: Balance distribution of educational resources across schools like teachers, opportunities and funds. This will avoid scarcity in schools, hence the struggle to be at per with the ‘exposed’ schools for good results.

All stakeholders should be involved in coming up with scalable, viable and reasonable ways to curb the menace. Deal with real issues from the core of exam cheating.

Every learner who has gone through the primary and secondary level should have a place in secondary and university respectively and be self-reliant. No system should sieve learners focusing on educational achievement only.

Republished with permission.

About the author

Polly Okaron is our lead content coordinator. A teacher by profession, Polly is passionate about children empowerment through education. With more than 800,000 users, Eneza plans to expand to 50 million by 2022. Our award-winning platform offers users unlimited access to nationally aligned educational content for 10 shillings a week (10 cents USD). Founded in 2012, we exist to serve the needs of mobile learners everywhere, on any phone.

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