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.


 1.2       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.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The major purpose of this study is to examine the implication of social media usage on examination malpractice among students in Nigeria. Specifically, the study will:

 i.            Examine the social of social media tools on students’ study time.

 ii.        To ascertain the reasons why social media is adopted by student        for examination malpractice.

 iii.            Investigate strategies which students’ apply when using social media for examination malpractice.

 iv.            To ascertain the social media tools that are mostly adopted for examination malpractice

1.4       Research questions

 i.            Which social media tool is the most potent that is often adopted by students for malpractice?

  ii.            Has social media usage affected students’ reading schedules?

iii.            What strategies are adopted by students when using the social media for examination malpractice?

1.5   Research hypothesis


1.6       Scope of the study

This research work is based on social media as predictor of examination malpractice among student. The population consists of 200 students in four faculties at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU). Specifically, the literature discusses the variables vis-à-vis examination malpractices prevalent among students. It does not however extend to all the methods used by students to carry out examination malpractices but are based on the use of social media tools for exam fraud.

1.7 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.

Definition of Terms


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Family Background, School Location and Peer Group as Predictors of Juvenile Delinquency among Secondary School Students


Socio-criminologists overtime have been engaged in analyzing juvenile delinquency as a concept, as well as establishing causal factors with the aim of prescribing effective measures of control.  An overview of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria points towards several casual factors such as the family background, school environment, peer group influence, home location and even the negative messages derived from the mass media.

Studies have revealed that family is a major predictor of delinquency (Breivik, Olweus, Endersen, 2009; Mandara and Murray, 2006).  According to Simons, Simons and Wallace (2004) children in single-parent homes are more likely to be delinquent. there is evidence to suggest that single-parent families, especially single-mothers, expect less of their children, spend less time monitoring them and use less effective techniques to discipline them. This means that children have greater opportunities and motivation to participate in delinquent acts than do those living in a two-parent family. Hence, the absence of one parent is a major predictor for juvenile delinquency (Mack et al., 2006).

Also, the idea that many schools are delinquency-producing agencies is fundamentally based on two types of accusations:(1) the school’s failure as a socialization agency- this refers to the school’s inability to inculcate upon students the necessary social skills that enable them to interact especially with peers and adults and (2) failure in academic subject may produce a situation in which students are frustrated and they (pupils) may turn into delinquent conduct.

The peer group may be viewed as an informal network of individuals of approximately the same age. Peers are thus individuals with whom a youth shares common problems and experiences. The peer group is a convenient structure which is suitable for needs of emotionally disturbed children who are unable to meet the demands required for participation in normal groups. The peer group is a crime predisposing factor as it creates opportunities outside family situation for children to commit crime.

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There are evidences that many students engage in examination malpractices. We have successfully conducted a study on the causes of examination malpractices among students.  “Age, Sex And Test Anxiety As Predictors Of Examination Malpractices Among Secondary School Students” 


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 The study investigated the effects of study habit on the academic performance of students’using some selected senior secondary schools in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of Ogun State as a case study. Two hundred (200) students were randomly selected from five senior secondary schools in the area. The instrument utilized for the study was a questionnaire named “Study Habit and Study Attitude Scale”(SHSAS). Four hypotheses were tested and the result showed that family background, peer group pressure, personality type of the student and the school environment all affect the reading habit of students in secondary schools.  Data was analyzed using percentage. Based on the findings, appropriate parental counseling programme needs to be organized for parents that will educate them on how to motivate their wards to cultivate good study habits in order to enhance their academic performance. Hence, it is suggested that similar research with relevant research methodology should be used in carrying out research in other states of the federation to ascertain the degree of conformity which this research have on the study habit of all senior secondary school students in Nigeria.

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