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Integrity in examination halls

by Daniel Dela Dunoo  
2/19/2016 / Education

Holding ourselves to a higher standard may be looked at from a variety of angles. The focus of this write up relates to the place of integrity in examination halls. The leakage of examination papers and several other forms of examination malpractices have become all too common in many educational circles in Ghana and in many parts of the world. School authorities have over time sought to nip this worrying trend in the bud, without chalking significant success. The fight against cheating in examinations seems to be a losing battle. What can be done to successfully curb this menace in educational circles remains a question of great concern to school authorities in many academic institutions. What is the role of the student in all of this? Let's take a peak. Some answers may be found and much more.

The repercussions of cheating in examinations
That actions have repercussions is not in doubt, but we sometimes seem to forget. Consequently, caution is thrown to the wind. There are punitive actions prescribed in various educational set-ups that are intended to serve as deterrents to students who may be desirous of cheating in examinations. Though many students are in the known, some seem to be addicted to cheating in the exams hall. Many students have consistently succeeded in outwitting the system and may see that as ingenuity and smartness. That may seem so, as long as they are not caught and as long as their actions go unpunished. However, not all students who have dared to cheat have been that lucky. There have been countless reports of cancellation of examination papers and in some cases the withholding of students results as a result cheating in exams halls. Some students have been expelled from school. I have been privy to situations where students caught cheating in examinations have been expelled from the examination hall and in some cases banned from re-sitting the paper for the next couple of years. These are intended to be deterrents and indeed do have far reaching repercussions but for some strange reason, some students stubbornly persist in this despicable act with gusto and pride. One wonders why these punitive measures are not deterrent enough.

An issue of integrity
The end justifies the means seem to be the mantra. Once students land good grades by cheating in the exams hall, it is all well and good, such students seem to reason. How many times haven`t we heard comments by students in relation to cheating in examinations such as the following; "everyone does it," "It`s impossible to excel in examinations without engaging in examination malpractices," "What is wrong with cheating in the examination hall?" and the like. It is my earnest conviction that at the core of cheating in examinations is 'twisted thinking' manifesting in 'twisted actions.' Why won`t students lazy around when they know they can pass their exams by sneaking 'foreign material' into the examination hall. Is there any wonder there are so-called half baked graduates in the system. It is a choice between the route of integrity and that of perversion. What students ought to realize is that, the proclivity to cheat during examinations has far reaching implications. This is not rocket science but simply sound logic. Show me a student who habitually cuts corners (engages in examination malpractices etc.) and there you have a corrupt future public official, employer or employee. To such an individual the end justifies the means.
There exists a correlation between cutting corners in small matters and cutting corners in big matters. The former is a prelude to and a sure forecast of the latter. Let`s beware! Integrity matters!

Say No to examination malpractices
I have been passionate about the subject of examination malpractices for more than a decade now. I remember choosing and making a presentation on the topic, "Examination malpractices and the Christian student" for a Christian Ethics class while pursuing my first degree in the university. This was to me not merely an academic exercise but was a topic I chose stemming from my conviction that cheating in examinations is ethically wrong and should be shunned at all cost.

Right from my early teens (and as a young Christian), I resolved to shun examination malpractices, damning the consequences. The resolution wasn`t because I thought I was an exceptionally good student and so didn`t need any one's assistance (as a matter of fact, I was an average student-was not even amongst the best ten students in my class at that point) but was born out of a conviction that it was ethically wrong to cheat in examinations; the conviction that God frowns on all forms of cheating. Because of this stance, right from my final year in the junior secondary school, through to the secondary school and two institutions of higher learning, I put in so much work in preparation for my papers and this paid off well. I never had to re-sit a paper. And remember, I wasn`t one you could consider a naturally brilliant student. This re-enforces my belief that no student needs to cheat in the examination hall. You do not need to be a naturally brilliant chap to excel academically. All you need is adequate preparation prior to any examination you are scheduled to sit for. Cramming for your exams is counter-productive. The best policy is to be studious throughout the term, semester or trimester; preparations should begin long before your exams schedule is released. A perceptive mind once noted, "Success is inevitable when preparation meets opportunity."

You should have academic goals, write them down and monitor your progress in meeting those goals. You could have academic role models too. I remember while in secondary school, one of the ways I motivated myself to work hard was to write down the names of some of my seniors (not necessary in my school) who I knew were exceptionally good academically. They had no idea that I was looking up to them-they were indirectly my inspirers. It worked for me. And yes, get past questions and solve them as much as practicable. Join serious minded study groups where possible. Simply give your studies your very best. And remember to study not only for grades but for the world of work; study for the world of work even as you study for your examinations. It will pay off eventually. I sign off with a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a renowned poet, scholar and novelist. He writes, "The heights that great men (women) reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night."

I am a freelance writer/editor, blogger & a published author. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from the University of Wales, UK.
Email: [email protected]. Blog: /

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