Social Media Usage as Predictor of Examination Malpractices among Students in Nigeria


Social Media Usage as Predictor of Examination Malpractices among Students in Nigeria

1.1 Background to the Study
Scholars have indentified age of the student (Achio, 2012);gender of the student (Nwafor, 2009); as well as test anxiety (Omotere, 2011) as traditional predictors of examination malpractices among students. Other predictors of examination malpractices that have equally received the attention of scholars include peer group pressure, poor study habit, and fear of failure. However, social media has received little or no attention by scholars.
Social media is defined as “the relationships that exist between network of people” (Qingya, Wei & Yu, 2011: 3). Social media emerged as a term frequently used to describe different types of electronic communication platforms. The availability of high speed internet broadband connection with massive use of desktop computers, laptops, e-readers, tablets and smart phones enable millions of undergraduates to actively engage in social networking, text messaging, blogging, content sharing, online learning, and much more.


Social media, as defined by Bryer and Zavatarro (2011: 327), “are technologies that facilitate social interaction, make possible collaboration, and enable deliberation across stakeholders”. These technologies now include blogs, wikis, media (audio, photo, video, text) sharing tools, networking platforms, and virtual worlds. Social Media Online (2011) defines social media as primarily internet-and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information by users. The term, according to Andreas and Michael (2010: 61), refers to “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” Web 2.0 was coined by  Darcy DiNucci in 1999 to describe interactive social websites which allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue.
A growing number of Nigerian scholars agree that addiction to social media sites are potentially a disruptive technology to students’ academic work in higher education. Among them is Oluwatoyin (2011: 13) who surveyed 1,860 Facebook users from the Lagos State University and found that most of the students could not get cumulative grade point average (CGPA) above 3.50 because they’ve spent large part of their time on social media than on their home work and study time which could contribute to higher grade. Oluwatoyin’s findings is further supported by Ajewole and Fasola (2011: 69) whose study of 884 students from eight higher institutions in Oyo State showed that majority of them spend more time on social media at the detriment of their studies.
This view is however rejected by some researchers who acknowledge that social media sites not only re-engage learners with their studies but also enhance their academic performance. For instance, Onyeka, Sajoh & Bulus (2013:39) argue that the frequent use of social media sites has no negative effect on the students’ studies. In the same vein, Ogedebe, Emmanuel & Musa (2012: 788) posited that Facebook usage does not have adverse effect on the academic work of students in the Universities.
While the present study is not burdened with the direct effect of social media usage on undergraduates’ CGPA, its primary focus is centered how social media usage predicts examination malpractices among students.

Statement of the problem

Many educators and educationists such Adesina (2006), Anwabor (2006), Bamwo (2006) and Jekayinfa (2006) have written on many aspects of examination dishonesty in the Nigerian education system. However, none of them has written on how the usage of social media affects examination fraud. They also did not discuss how the introduction of ICT tools can help curb examination fraud in Nigeria. This study has attempted to fill that gap.

Significance of the Study

This research work will suggest to the government, the need to expand the scope of their policies on examination malpractice to make provision for examination malpractices that are perpetrated through social media tools.
It will further enlighten the school management and supervisors to the growing trend of social media usage and how it is been used for examination malpractices and how to curb their students’ from indulging it to perpetrate malpractice.
It will enlighten parents on the need for them to be sensitive, pay attention, to caution and regulate the manner in which their children use social media tools which will help to reduce the prevalence of examination malpractice.


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