EXAMINATION ETHICS AND THE ROLE OF INVIGILATORS IN ENSURING CREDIBILITY OF UNIVERSITY EXAMINATIONS

Introduction

Examination is a process of conducting an assessment or evaluation of the level of knowledge, understanding or skills a student has acquired following a period of going through a specific course of study. The outcomes of examinations have a far reaching significance for the student, the institution and the society. The results of examinations determine the progress of the student and ultimately lead to be award of a certificate. The degrees awarded by a university are expected to reflect the true state of the level of knowledge, the skills or competencies and character of the holders. The employers of Labour rely on or are expected to rely on the certificate awarded to graduate s to take decisions on whether they are suitable to fill employment positions or not . if the process of examinations leading to the award of degrees is compromised in any way the credibility of the certificates will be in doubt. This will constitute grave dangers to the larger society must place their lives in the hands of professionals such medical doctors, pharmacists, medical laboratory scientists, engineers, architects, pilots, accountants etc. Whose certificates have been acquired through examination malpractices and fraudulent practices. This underscores the seriousness of the need to conduct credible examinations.

Examination Ethics

Examination   ethics deals with morals imperatives that safeguard the credibility of the process of examinations. It embodies a pattern of conduct stipulated by the examination body (the Senate of the University in this case)which the students, examiners and or the invigilators must abide with to ensure proper of university examination .The Senate of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture  Umudike (MOUAU) HAS set out the regulations and guidelines for proper conduct of examinations in the university. These regulations and guidelines can found in chapter 3 from page 28 through page 43 of the students information handbook. It is expected that all member of staff involved in examination supervision  and invigilation will be conversant with these regulation and guidelines .the examination time table committee (ETTC) organizes examination ethics seminar for students and staff every semester to encourage  this .Furthermore , acts that constitute examination offences and misconduct and their sanction are printed at the back cover of the answer booklet of the university.

The senate and management of the MOUAU has demonstrated consistent zero tolerance for examination malpractice and other fraudulent practices that have the potential to compromise the credibility of the degrees and certificates of the university. The senate promptly investigates cases of examination malpractice and imposes appropriate sanction    which ranges from rustication from varying number of semester or outright expulsion depending on the gravity of examination offences and misconduct .despite the though stance of the university ,some students continue to engage in examination malpractices of different kinds such as impersonation ,bringing extraneous material into examinations  and using electronic devices to commit examination malpractice.

Examinations require conscientious supervision and invigilation .the conduct of examination in MOUAU is committed into the hands of supervisors .the supervisors are very senior academics usually ranks of professors and associate professors. A set of invigilators work with a supervisor to conduct an examination. The supervisor have the responsibilities of preparing the schedule of invigilation for the invigilators under her or him .this involves assigning appropriate number of students and invigilators to the examination halls and publishing the invigilation schedule early enough for the invigilators to know where they should be .it also the responsibilities of the supervisor to collect and secure the question papers and all material required for the examination in good time before the time for the examination . the supervisors need to ensure to ensure that the number off question papers are adequate .without any prejudice ,the supervisor must  be diligent  and conscientious to uphold high level of trust reposed on them by exhibiting high level of sense of responsibility in planning properly for his or her supervision.

Invigilators play a vital role in ensuring proper conduct and credibility of examination. The work of an invigilator requires the highest level of   personal integrity, discipline and commitment. the invigilators have the great responsibility of ensuring that examinations are conducted in accordance with the regulations  and guidelines set out by the senate .the invigilators  should arrive at the venue of examination earlier than the candidates and must ensure that the venue of examination are well arranged. The guideline of the university requires the invigilators to be at the examination venue at least 30minutes before the time of the examination. The invigilators must actively supervise the examination and demonstrate the highest level of concentration .in this days of mobile phones and social media, the invigilators  must be disciplined enough to resist the temptation of engaging in distracting phone conversations and chatting at the expense of proper invigilation .the invigilators must conduct themselves in a manner that sends the message very clearly to the students that they have zero tolerance for any form of examination malpractice while at the same time should not be unnecessarily be antagonistic.

In conclusion, credible examinations are for the good of the students, reputation of the institution and the ultimate good of the society. We must all join hands together to ensure that we continue to conduct our examinations under a conducive atmosphere and commitment to best practices.

Dr E .O Ekundayois an Associate Professor and the Acting Director of the Centre for Molecular Biosciences  and Biotechnology Michal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike . He is an Exam Ethics Marshal of the Examination Ethics Marshal International.

Credits:

Ike Onyechere (1996) Promoting Best Practices in Education: Ethics ,Integrity and Best Practices  Manual for Critical Education stakeholders .Exam Ethics Marshal International Abuja ,Nigeria .

Students information handbook Michal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike