Relationship between Selected Students’ Personality Characteristics and their Perception of Examination Malpractice in Public Secondary Schools in Nyeri County, Kenya

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Ndiritui, Eva Wanin
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Kenyatta University
Examination malpractice is a major problem that affects education foundations in Kenya today. The scope of the problem and the dangers brought by the phenomenon are noted to have adverse effects on students such as cancellation of results in national examinations as well as eroding the value of certificates for both individuals and institutions. Students’ personality characteristics such as students’ self-efficacy, academic self-concept, level of moral reasoning and motivation orientation may be crucial factors in determining students’ perception of examination malpractice. Relatively, few studies have explored this area in Kenya and particularly in Nyeri County where in 2013 KCSE results for one of the national schools were withheld due to having the highest suspected number of students involved in examination cheating. It is in this light that the researcher aimed at investigating the relationship between students’ personality characteristics and their perception of examination malpractice among public secondary school students in Nyeri County. The study was guided by four objectives. Objective one sought to determine the relationship between students’ motivational orientation and their perception of examination malpractice; objective two sought to establish how students’ self-efficacy is related to their perception of examination malpractice; objective three investigated the relationship between students’ academic self-concept and their perception of examination malpractice and objective four explored the relationship between students’ level of moral reasoning and their perception of examination malpractice. The study was guided by social cognitive learning theory by Bandura, self-determination theory by Deci and Ryan and moral reasoning theory by Kohlberg. The study adopted a correlation research design. The target population was 15,767 form three students, 2493 teachers, 224 principals in the 224 public secondary schools in Nyeri County. The sample comprised 280 form three students, 115 teachers and 10 principals from the selected 10 schools in Nyeri County. The study used purposive stratified sampling to pick the schools and simple random sampling to select participants. Questionnaires were used to collect data from students and teachers while interview guide was used to collect data from the principals. Qualitative data from interview guide was analysed thematically. Quantitative data was organised and coded for analysis using SPSS Version 20.0 for window. The study employed both descriptive and inferential statistics for data analysis. Descriptive statistics were presented by use of frequency distribution tables, charts and figures, means and standard deviations. Inferential statistics involved bivariate correlation and Pearson’s product moment correlation. Alpha level of 0.05 was set as a priori. The findings revealed no significant relationship between motivation orientation and academic self-concept on perception of examination malpractice, while a significant negative relationship was found between self-efficacy and moral reasoning on perception of examination malpractice. The study recommended that there is need to improve self-efficacy and moral reasoning of the students in order to enhance a negative perception towards examination malpractice and therefore curb the problem.
A Research Project Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of the Degree of Master of Education (Educational Psychology/Guidance and Counselling) in the School of Education of Kenyatta University, November, 2018