Cheating by Technology in National Examinations-Kenya

2. 0 BACKGROUND AND OVERVIEW In my practice as a supervisor in the Kenya National Examination Council (2007) Secondary Examination briefing on conduct and ways of curbing exam cheating, I rose to ask the participants made of among others, quality Assurance and Standards officers, supervisors, invigilators, security officers and the District Education office personnel, whether other than the common use of the SMS to transmit messages as a source of cheating, how much do they know about blue tooth gadget?

The response left a lot to be desired as virtually less than 5% of the participants had a vague idea of what this is and its capability in being used in exam cheating. This is just but a technological issue on exam cheating. According to the research done by Synovate, under its research club of Kenya project observed; “…students want the 8-4-4 system urgently reviewed…. most high school students feel that the subjects taught are irrelevant and there is too much emphasis on exams. “(Daily Nation 9th, October 2009:8). According to usnews. om website posting on August 20th 2009 on a report titled “one third of the teens use cell phones to cheat in school -on education: “… forget passing handwritten notes underneath desks or inking your arm with essential maths formulae before a killer test. If a student today wants to cheat, they have a more insidious tool at their disposal. Cell -phone. More than one third of teens admit using cell phones to store information on them to look at during a test or texting friends about answers. ” The cell phone which comes in many shapes and function-ability seem to pose the greatest threat to examination honesty.

Given the way the young stars are even more conversant with their ability than the teachers. Statistics from the same web site indicates: …student who admit cheating with cell phones are: 26 percent say they store information on their phone to look at during the test, 25 percent text friends about answers during a test, 17 percent take pictures of the test to send to friends and 20 percent search the internet for answers during a test using their phones…. Over half of the student poled, 52% admitted to some form of cheating using the internet.

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Further a field; the Asia times online on an article titled cheats go Hi-tech, reads. “The spies were not trying to steal state secrets, they were students using cutting edge spy ware to cheat in make or break national-college entrance examinations” typical of the KCSE in Kenya. The emphasis put on examination by most countries and the limited chances in university placement and the urge to compete among schools has put pressure not only on the students but also teachers and parents to find ways of passing the examination.

According to Anthony Kitima daily nation (Nairobi) October 1st 2009 pg 5,”…the current system of education only trains’ learners to pass examination…Government should also establish a National University to tap and nature non-academic abilities and serve as an incubator of innovation. ” talents like football, music, athletics should not be sacrificed at the expense of examination oriented curriculum. These are signs of the level of vigilance and awareness, our examination administrators need to be well conversant with I. C.

T jargons and capabilities ahead of the learners; with the price and access to mobile phones by students reducing and increasing respectively, things are bound to get uglier. In another article entitled “police crack hi-tech…. “Retrieved from http://www. caveon. com/cotn/? cat =2, August 20th 2009 at 10:30 p. m. States; … a middle school teacher and several college students who were suspected to be involved in the elaborate stunt, where student use sensors hidden in their mouth to receive exam answers, have been arrested and charged with stealing state secrets….

Copying, lifting or cribling someone’s intellectual work is plagiarism. It has been around since the beginning of organized education. Therefore, it is likely that there will always be a student who does it. Now that the Web has made it even easier for them to cheat, it has become imperative for teachers to combat plagiarism and exam cheating. In another article (Daily nation Nov 7th 2009:4) reported that: …upon investigation, 10 candidates at the school were found receiving questions through mobile phones at lunch hour in…. uestions are sent via the mobile phones…. It is apparent that Tech savvy candidates have rendered the old fashioned examination cheats obsolete. improved supervision has resulted in new trends in cheating by use of technology…technology is also aiding exam cheats using mobile phones, those behind the leak can scan full examination especially diagrams using scanners powered with Bluetooth applications and then use the same technology to transfer the questions to their mobile phones.

When the students receive the question, they forward the messages to friends’ mostly in university or in some cases friendly teachers who answers the questions before resending them…. Some students are also using tiny wireless earphones to communicate to the outside world. The earphones are so well concealed inside the ear that invigilators and supervisors will never detect them (Sunday Nation Nov 7th 2009:5). During the 2007 KCSE tests, use of mobile phones to send leaked questions was so rampant that KNEC sought the help of mobile service providers to track down the culprit.

Nyambega (Sunday Nation Oct 31st 2009:4) says: …that agent in different provinces shared the examination question delivered by mobile phones, text messages or e-mail attachments and distributed them as soon as they could to students who had paid for them These are the news hitting headlines in almost all local newspapers comes the examination and result releasing season. That research leads to knowledge which leads to improved practice cannot be gain said with all this reports and statistics from all over. Dishonesty and cheating in examination is not a new phenomenon in Kenya and the world at large.

According to Athanasou, J. A. and Olabisi, O (2002), cheating is seen as involving conscious participation in deception (through lying, dishonesty, falsifying, misrepresenting corruption, plagiarism, copying or unlawfully, assisting someone else) Gaberston(1997), Newstead et al (1996), Baird (1980),Cizek (1999), Cheating is an important area for educational research not only because it reduces the consequential validity of assessment results but also it is anathema to widely held public principles of Equity and truthfulness.

In essence the cheating can take many forms and shape so much so that the boundary may be had to draw. According to website www. nocheating. org, Academic cheating is defined as representing someone else work as your own… Sharing another’s work …. Purchasing a term paper or test questions in advance, to paying another to take a test or do the work for you. This summarizes cheating as an attempt to refuse to give credit for any intellectualism where it’s due. Cases of cheating according to Randy, L. G. and Berely A.

M (2002) principle components analysis revealed several factors underlying planned cheating: Difficulty/negative consequences of cheating pressures, instructor’s personality, social norms and interests in the course…. two most common cheating were: giving 58 percent and getting 49% exam questions to and from students before an exam [ditto]. Franklyn et al (1995) and Cizek (1999) classifies cheating into three types: Cheating by taking, giving, or receiving information from others, cheating through the use of forbidden materials or information, cheating by circumventing the process of assessment.

Consequently, cheating involves a wide range of behaviors. They can vary in their seriousness, execution, purpose, and social dimensions The giving and getting channels are the main focus of this study and the awareness/detection of the same by the examination personnel. 2. 1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM The aim is to establish the educational personnel’s level of awareness of the threats/ ways technology enhances or is used in cheating/irregularities in the Kenya National Examination Council Evaluation System in Kenya Secondary Schools.

The purpose of the study is to establish the level to which educational personnel are conversant with the various technological ways students, teachers, and others may use to engage in examination cheating and ways of curbing the vice focusing on the KCSE. The research question asks; are educational / examination administrators aware of the Bluetooth, Email, SMS, MMS and Internet browsing tools in mobile phones and computers abilities to be used by the candidates in exam cheating in Kenya secondary schools national examinations?

The study will inform practice in that educational examination officials (examination masters, supervisors, invigilators, security officers and head teachers) will seal loopholes contributing to examination cheating by use of technology in the country’s education system. The personnel involved in examination administration will be informed and be made aware of these avenues of cheating; it will also fill a gap on existing literature since very little research has been done on the level of awareness of the examination personnel especially in third world countries.

This will in essence reduce the many occurrences of exam irregularities reported every time the result of the form IV KSCE examination and others are released. The research will also educate and inform the personnel in charge of examinations, the need to be ICT compliant and to keep abreast with the first changing technology and nature of the learners. Creswell (2005) says “study the problem if the study informs practice…individuals who may benefit from the practical knowledge maybe policy makers, teachers or learners. 2. 2 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY: The overall study strategy will take the survey approach. This design is mostly used to describe the characteristics of a population in this case the personnel handling the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) – Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Data will be collected using semi structured questionnaires (sample attached appendix A) and subsequent analysis of the data to describe trends, identify relationships and test stated hypothesis.

Semi structured and unstructured interview are widely used in flexible designs kings (1994). This was not possible none the less due to cost and time factor given the circumstance under which the study was done. Questionnaires are designed to distinguish questions dealing with facts, behaviors and with belief or attitude Robinson (2000). The study will not only rely absolutely on quantitative measures since this has the negative effect of limiting the sturdy to only what can be inferred from statistics.

Open and close questions will be included to enable analysis of qualitative data that gives research an opportunity to view multifaceted issues from the perspective of wide and rich environment Kerlinger (1986). The questionnaires will be administered to some participants who are not in the target sample for piloting purposes to ascertain that all is well and few adjustments made where necessary. The target sample is made of Master of Philosophy students pursuing different areas of study in the field of education and as such is capable of reading and filling the questionnaires with much ease.

While interviews alongside the questionnaires could have been used to collect the data a. k. a[1] triangulation to increase the reliability and validity of the findings, the time and cost factor could not allow for this; given the small scale nature of the study as stated earlier. The sampling techniques employed shall take the non probability sampling used for exploratory and qualitative studies. This sample will be purposive since the target is teachers and educational officials who have handled examination related issues in one way or another. This shall be the criteria for selection.

This will enable collection of relevant data from the sample picked 2. 3 ACTUAL STUDY The data collection shall begin once all the system has been set ready. After getting the participants consent and setting a date for the actual day to fill the questionnaires after careful explanation to the class members making the sample about the aim of the study was done. Questionnaires were given and time allowed for them to respond and ask any clarification where necessary . This was followed by the collection of the questionnaires although not all came back for one reason or another.

The transcription of the data followed and this took quite along time as the categorization of the questions both open and closed that could explain salient issues concerning the research problem consumed a lot of time. The data were collected and arranged in tables 1-5 which were indicating respondents’ answers in summary form see appendix B. The open ended questions were also grouped in broad categories to enable their analysis since varied answers were collected from the study. To operationalise the quantitative measures it was helpful to form research hypothesis from the stated research problem.

These were: HI:That irregularities accomplished by technology go unnoticed because majority of the personnel are not conversant with information and communication concepts and applications H2:That the education officials in charge of handling examination exercise are ill equipped and do minimal briefing on ways of detecting cheating by means of technology during the annual event. H3:That most education personnel need a lot of training on ways and means of cheating using the computer and internet technology especially via the mobile phone to be able to detect not only smuggling of materials and impersonation but all forms of cheating.

H4:That most teachers have not accepted technology as part of life despite the aggressive learners who are abreast with the ICT developments. 2. 4 DATA ANALYSIS 2. 4. 1 Preparation for data analysis The data was grouped into tables indicting salient issues of the research problem in what may be called variable by case grid data table that is characteristic of case study or multiple cases gathered by survey method after careful transcription evaluation.

The coding of the respondents into t1 t2 t3 t4…tn. was done on all questionnaires to observe confidentiality and anonymity as an ethical concern in educational research. Grouping in broad categories was done for certain responses from open questions and grouped to give them numerical values. while Document Analysis (Content Analysis) could have provided rich data on examination irregularities from the KNEC this was not possible because of the cost and time implications stated earlier .

The tested and widely used statistical tools used to do data analysis like the cross tabulation, product moment correlation and multiple regression analysis could not be used at this level given the small scale size and the expertise required to do the detailed analysis was hard to come by cheaply. Consequently the simple percentages and measures of central tendencies shall be used to draw some relationship of the variables under study. The accepted statistical significance percentages for any research question shall be anything above 60% for the purpose of this study.

This will call for researchers’ attention while causal effect will be believed to be of no significance that the occurrence has not been caused by any coincidence from nature or chances. 2. 4. 2 Data analysis The analysis as stated took the simple approach of statistical measures of central tendencies and use of pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, means and modal class among others. These are capable of showing the trends and relationships expected in the conceptual framework of the study. Charts: Salient Issues Identifiable By Their Headings. [pic] 2. FINDING AND DISCUSSION OF THE STUDY The study findings indicates that majority of the respondents were actually well educated male and female at 53% male and the rest female. The modal class age of the participants was 30-40 years while majority had over five years experience in the education sector. There is indeed minimal briefing on areas used by student to cheat in examination as indicated from the table 3 appendix B showing how minimal briefing is done on the areas of email, blue tooth, browsing and multimedia messaging. ( See chart on depth of briefing by KNEC).

The personal use of the mobiles adds to confirm the lack of knowledge on these avenues of cheating used by students. That only smuggling and impersonation are detected despite all the hue and cry in the media and on the ground about technology use in dishonesty; indicates that our examination personnel are ill equipped to detect the vice. The time or period that students borrow or use mobile phones more frequently is discriminately in third term and by form IV. Could this explain the examination fever and period for leakage anticipation by the students?

While most respondents indicated that they are ICT compliant 60% and another 30% not compliant while 7% were not sure of their category, they still used very little of their mobile phones on the same aspects. (see chart 3) Others forms of cheating by technology came up as indicated in table 4, while some respondents felt that technology should be “banned! ” all together to curb the vice. This was despite the impressive academics qualifications of the respondents with 82 % at degree level while rest at master’s level of education! 3. LIMITATIONS AND DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY. As stated earlier, the time and cost factor may have hindered the full scale study of the above issue. The small scale study basically used the class members as participants whose rich educational background and experience in examination administration was a criterion for inclusion in the sample. The study kicked off with the preparation of the questionnaires in groups of three people from the Master of Philosophy in Education class of a local university in our first year Pursuing different areas of studies.

The challenges of working in a group for research project are numerous and insightful to ethical consideration and procedural hiccups in the whole process. Scheduled meeting to discuss the preparation of the data collection tools went unattended by some members while others attended only some of them but claimed collective ownership of the project. The cost of production of the tools was also high and pulling resource together for the typesetting and photocopying did not run smoothly given the varied financial abilities of the group members. Some were intentionally stubborn and uncooperative in some aspect of the team work.

The data collection was with its own challenges of some respondents did not fill all the questions that were crucial to the study. The right not to respond not withstanding some did not return the questionnaires all together at the end of the given period of response. Some questions also still proved irrelevant to the focus of the study leaving causal effect aside; this made some respondents not to respond to them without any valid explanation when a follow up was done to ascertain the reasons behind it. This raises the issue of carefully designing the data ollection tool before setting out to the field and a bit of piloting would help. While more data collection tools like interviews and document analysis could have yielded valuable data to validate the study by increasing the reliability, this was not possible due to time and cost factor given the distance to Nairobi or to provincial headquarters for such data. Editing the write up also faced challenges ranging from disagreement in terminologies used to describe certain aspects to ways of framing the findings by the editor who was a language specialist as opposed to the researcher’s background.

This brings the element of bias in research ore even in the actual study. The data analysis tools were not easily available especially the computer software like SPSS, STATA and SSP. The acquisition of expertise personnel to do the analysis also proved quite expensive in consultation fee. The other challenge as regard to the listing of the names in the final documents having worked in group of three initially was whose name should appear first in the write up? Agree to disagree after consideration of alphabetical order of the sir names as opposed to using the amount of work done by individual as criteria. 4. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS The detection of cheating by use of technology has been hampered by lack of knowledge by the examination personnel handling the whole exercise. The study focus was mainly confirmed by the statistical findings that only the old time smuggling and impersonation were being detected by the supervisors, invigilators and education officials. The briefing exercise to sensitize teachers to prevent all forms of dishonesty also leaves a lot to be desired as 70% of the participants reported minimal if any clarification on pertinent technological means that student are using to get better grades.

This will ultimately lead to the issue of validity and reliability of our examination system. While limited triangulation in data collection had been explained, the research finding points to the need to have in-service training for the examination personnel and education officials. The need to do the full scale study in this area in my opinion will yield more tangible results that will help the policy makers in the evaluation sector. This provides room for more study in the overall framework.

The data analysis though lacking in candid statistical techniques, the percentages still shows the disparity and gap in the study area. The hypothesis tested all proved positive to the significance level set from the start. The grey areas need to be harmonized and full scale study launched. REFERENCES Aduda, D (2000, September 4th 🙂 Computer Studies Getting Popular With Teachers. Daily Nation (Nairobi),Nation Media ltd. Athanasou J. A et al (2002) Male and Female Differences in Self Report Cheating. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation.

Retrieved October 4, 2009 From, http://www. PAREonline. net/grtvn. asp? v=8=5 Cizek, G. J. (1999). Cheating on tests: How to do it, detect it and prevent it. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Creswell, John (2005) Educational Research, Planning, Conducting and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. New Jersey. Piadice H David, D, V (2002) Survey in Social Research. 5th Ed. Allen & Unwin. St Leonard’s Franklyn-Stokes, A. & Newstead, S. E. (1995). Undergraduate cheating: Who does what and why? Studies in Higher Education, 20, 159-172.

Gaberston, K. B. (1997). Academic dishonesty among nursing students. Nursing Forum, 32(3), 14. Nation Reporter (2009, September 29) Examination Officials have been asked to be Wary of New Form of cheating. Daily Nation. (Nairobi), pp 5-8 Ohio State University (2009, August 12) Epidemic of Student Cheating Can Be Cured With Changes in Classroom Goals. Science Daily, Retrieved October 4th, 2009. From, http://www. sciencedaily. com/release/2009/08/090810025249. htm Oyoo, S. 0 (2009) Research Design and Methodology Lecture Notes.

Maseno university department of educational communication and technology and curriculum studies. Kisumu. Randy, L. G and Beverly, A. M (2009) Beliefs and Behaviors Associated With Cheating Research Paper. Department of Educational Psychology, University of Calgary, T2N 1N4 Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Department of Behavioral Sciences, Mount Royal College, Canada. Retrieved September 16th 2009 @ 12:54 p. m from, http://www. caveon. com/citn/? cat=2 Robinson, C (2002) Real World Research. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing APPENDIX B | | | | | | | |TABLES |ITEM |PARTICULARS | |1 |Use of Mobile Services by Participant | |  |  |Frequently |Moderately |Rarely |Not At All |  | |  |Calling/Receiving calls |15 |0 |0 |0 |1 | |  |SMS |5 |0 |0 |0 |0 | |  |E-mail |9 |4 |1 |2 |1 | |  |Browsing |0 |2 |4 |9 |1 | |  |Blue tooth |0 |2 |3 |10 |1 | |  |MMS |0 |1 |3 |8 |1 | |  |Calculator |5 |8 |1 |1 |0 | |  |  |  |  |  |  |  | |2 |KCSE Briefing Attendance (Key Area) | |  |Yes |12 |  |  |  |  | |  |No 3 |  |  |  |  | |  |  |  |  |  |  |  | | 3 |Briefing depth on Cheating Avenues using technology | |  |  |Deeply |Moderately |Shallowly |Not At All |Not Applicable | |  |calling / Receive calls |13 |2 |2 |2 |3 | |  |SMS |9 |3 |1 |4 |2 | |  |E-mail |3 |1 |5 |9 |3 | |  |Browsing (Phone) |2 |2 |5 |9 |4 | |  |Blue tooth |3 |0 |6 |9 |3 | |  |MMS |3 |0 |5 |10 |3 | |  |Audio Record |2 |3 |5 |8 |3 | |  |Calculators |8 |2 |2 |5 |3 | |  |Any other |1 |1 |0 |3 |3 | |  |  |  |  |  |  |  | |4 |Other Irregularities Via ICT |  |Storage / Memory |1 |  |  |  |  | |  |Theft cases (Money) |1 |  |  |  |  | |  |N/A |5 |  |  |  |  | |  |Hacking |1 |  |  |  |  | |  |Computer errors |1 |  |  |  |  | |5 |Way Of Curbing Exam Cheating | | | |Respondents |  |  |  |  | |  |Frisking |6 |  |  |  |  | |  |Ban Mobile |2 |  |  |  |  | |  |Ban Technology |1 |  |  |  |  | |  |Restriction |2 |  |  |  |  | |  |Partner with safaricom/zain ke. |1 |  |  |  |  | [pic] ———————– [1] Also known as. ———————– [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic]