Trends of Academic Performance of Junior Secondary School Students in Integrated Science, Mathematics and Computer Science From Year 2002 – 2006 in Uyo Metropolis (A Case Study of JSS 3 Students)
This study seeks to:
- Determine the trend of academic achievement among junior secondary school Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
- Determine extent to which the school processes contribute to Students’ academic achievement in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
- Determine extent to which the school resources contribute to academic achievement of Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
- Determine extent to which the students’ characteristics affect academic achievement of Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter reviews the existing literature on trend of academic achievement of Students in secondary schools. The literature reviewed consists of enrolment trend in secondary schools, analysis on academic performance trend and different in school and out of school factors that influence trends in academic performance of Students in secondary schools.
Education as a human right
Education is a fundamental human right as well as a catalyst for economic growth and human development (World Bank, 1993 and Okidi et al., 2004).In this section, both theoretical and empirical literature on academic differentials and schooling performance are reviewed. All systems of education have multiple outcomes, such as cognitive achievement (what do the Students know), affective achievement (attitudes such as whether the Students like going to school or like subjects such as science, reading or mathematics) and behavioral values (such as civic responsibility and good moral values such as respect and social work).
Students and teachers come from different gender, socio-economic levels and location. These variables may affect the participation and performance of Students in school, either negatively or positively. Boadu, E.A. (2000) observes that boys from wealthier households in Ghana had enrolment rates 34 percentage points higher than boys from poor households; the gap in favour of girls from rich background compared with girls from low-income background was 55.4 percentage points. Wealth gaps in enrolment greatly exceed gender gaps in enrolment. The allocation of scarce household resources affects girls more than boys (Boadu, E.A., 2000). Early domestic responsibilities, especially among young girls, conflict with the pursuit of education, retrogressive cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriages prevent the advancement of girls in education. The willingness of parents to educate girls is reduced by socio-economic and cultural effects such as their expected change of allegiance after marriage to the husband’s family. Poor health, which is a consequence of either malnutrition or of common diseases, is found to be a constraint on schooling (Boadu, E.A., 2000). It is an impediment to enrolment because parents fear sending their children to school when the probability of contracting contagious diseases is high. Lack of proper water and sanitation facilities prompt Students to go for safe drinking water from Neighborhood Rivers and streams.
Several authors (Bourdieu, 1986; Purves, 1973; Guthrie, 1978; Taube, 1988; Elley, 1994; Lehmann, 1996; Lietz, 1996; OECD, 2001, 2002; Fredriksson, 2002)
emphasize that cultural practice, such as the existence of gendered division of labour within the household can probably lead to higher opportunity costs being associated with the schooling of girls relative to boys. Factors related to cultural norms, traditional beliefs and practices have a strong influence on girls’ enrollment, persistence and performance in school. In some societies, initiation ceremonies are performed when children reach the age of puberty, which is considered to be the onset of adulthood. During the ceremony, knowledge and values concerning procreation, morals, sexual skills, birth control and pregnancy are passed on to the girls concerned. Boys undergo similar rituals preparing them for manhood. Unlike boys, it is considered shameful for girls to return to school after undergoing such rituals (Boadu, 2000). The tangible benefits of schooling observed by Boadu (2000) are linked to the availability of employment opportunities in the formal sector. Lack of opportunities for formal employment, particularly in rural areas, may deter parents from sending children to school.
Two main reasons exist as to why poorer households may choose not to send their children to school (Coclough, Rose and Tembon, undated). First, the direct costs may be too high even with the universal free secondary education. Parents incur expenditures for school uniforms, text and exercise books, construction or upkeep of school buildings, and other inputs in cash or in kind. Second, poorer households may depend, more so than richer households, upon the labour of their children in order to supplement household income, either directly, on the farm or indirectly. Nzomo, Kariuki and Guantai (2001), for instance, established a positive correlation between the socio-economic status of Standard Six Students and the level of their learning achievements in Nigeria. The results show that as the socio-economic status of the sample Students improved, the Mean scores in the learning achievement also tended to increase. Families with higher socio-economic status have the ability to provide their children with necessary facilities and materials pertinent in improving performance.
This chapter presents the research design, locale, target population sample and sampling techniques, research instruments, piloting procedure, data collection procedure, data analysis and presentation.
Since this study is geared towards analyzing the trend of academic achievement of Students in Uyo metropolis, a survey design utilizing both qualitative and quantitative approaches was used. Survey design is appropriate because it involves collecting data in order to test hypothesis or questions concerning the current status of subjects of the study. It is used to test attitudes and opinions of events, individuals or procedure (Gay, 1973). Borg and Gall, (1989) states that a descriptive study is intended to produce statistical information about aspect of education that interest policy makers and educators. Orodho, (2010) concurs that, descriptive survey alloys researchers to gather information, summarize, present and interprets for the purpose of clarification. Surveys can be used for explaining the existing status of two or more variables at a given point of time. Engelhart, (1972) argues that descriptive methods are widely used in evaluating present practices and in providing basis for decisionmaking.
It is against this background that this study adopted a survey research design because it allows for data collection from both wide and litttle geographical coverage, and a small sample as required by this study. In addition, the survey design entails the study situations in their natural settings without manipulation of variables that this descriptive survey would provide appropriate procedure for analyzing the trend of academic achievement from term to term and from grade to grade as it exists among secondary schools in Uyo metropolis.
location of the study
The locale of the study was Uyo metropolis in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. The district covers 625 square kilometers with a population of around 70,000 people and 14,010 households.
The target population was JSS 3 Students in all the public secondary schools in Uyo metropolis with a population of 884 boys and 1084 girls, which totals to 1,968 Students. This study targeted only JSS3Students because they stand a good chance of giving an honest and relevant trend of academic achievement from term to term and from one grade to another. They also provided any other information that was needed for this study without bias on the trend. Private secondary schools were not targeted in this study because there is one private secondary school with JSS3 offering integrated science, math and computer science and hence according to the researcher, this was insignificance among the population schools.
DATA ANALYSIS, PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study was to establish the trend of academic achievement of Students in secondary schools in Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The findings of the study are presented in this chapter based on the research objectives. Data received from respondents was analyzed and presented inform of tables, graphs and percentages. The statistical data in the tables and graphs are supplemented with some explanation. The sample size under this study was 100 responded comprising of JSS3Studentswho offer integrated science, Math’s and computer science from 10 pubic secondary schools in the district. All the 100 questionnaires issued to the respondent were well completed and returned for analysis. An observation schedule was used by the researcher to get some supplementary information on availability and condition of significant facilities in the schools which may be a factor to any academic trend of Students.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter gives a summary of the findings of the study, conclusions that have been drawn and recommendations on the way forward based on the findings of the study.
Summary of the study findings
The purpose of the study was to analyze the trend of academic achievement of Students at secondary schools in Uyo metropolis, determine the extent to which school processes, school resources, and students’ characteristics affect Students’ academic achievement in Uyo metropolis. The study adopted a survey design and data collected was largely descriptive in nature. Data was collected using questionnaires and observation schedules. The questionnaires had three sections which was used to solicit information on academic trend of Students, school processes, resources and personal students’ characteristics. Purposive sampling was used to select the respondents, female were 50% and the male were 50%. Data collected was analyzed using a simple statistical method. Some of the information was coded then fed in a computer for analysis using a statistical package for social science (SPSS). After the analysis, information was presented inform of Tables and Figures.
Trend of academic achievement of secondary school Students in Uyo metropolis district.
The study established that a continuous evaluation was administered to Students in all the schools. In Continuous Assessment Test (CATS), there was an improvement from CAT1 to CAT3 in the three Terms and the same improvement was experienced in the three successive terms in the three CATS. A normal curve was found on performance of all the terminal exams from JSS1 to seven. Few Students scored between 100 and 200 marks and few also scored over 350 marks. Most of the Students concentrated between 200 and 350 marks. It was also established that boys performed well in mathematics, science and social studies and girls did well in languages. In all the sampled schools girls’ enrollment was higher than that of boys. In all the sampled schools boys were153 and girls were 188. The trend of academic achievement of 80% of Students in the schools under study was negative in the JSSCE results.
Extent to which school processes contribute to academic achievement of Students
The research established a weakness in the schools’ processes in that the respondents ranked commitment of teachers in their task to provide education to the learners as a second challenge to the learning process. In all the schools, it was noted that Students arrive to school at 7.00 am and leave the school at 3.20 pm. Despite the fact that teachers were cited to be less committed to their work, 76% of the respondents said that teachers attend lessons well, 20% fairly and 4% poorly. 60% of the schools where the respondents were picked had class assemblies between class teachers and Students, while 40% did not have these assemblies with their Students. 90% of the Students met their head teachers to discuss results and especially after JSSCE announcement with only one school (10%) not discussing results with Students. All schools had 3 breaks per day for Students to relax but 70% of the respondents cited their schools to start learning a week later after the opening date from the closing holidays. Lastly, 90% of the schools had repeaters in JSS3.
The extent to which school resources contribute to academic achievement
On staffing, the study found out that 100% of the schools were understaffed and the parents had reinforced the staff through employing both trained and untrained teachers in all the schools. Despite tuition fee by the government, all schools under the study had shortages of textbooks with respondents ranking the problem as number one in pooling the efforts of Students to achieve their academic ladder downwards. On desks it was found out that 30% of the schools visited had Students who sat on the floor or desks which were at a haphazard condition especially on the lower classes and the upper lower. It was also found that 90% of the schools had play fields but with unmade pitches for Students to use. The classes were found in bad conditions with very minimal renovation that went on in all the schools.
Students’ characteristics and academic achievement
This research found students’ characteristics as a key factor to academic achievement of Students in schools. Over 75% of the Students travelled less than 3 kilometers to school and therefore this was not a major challenge to their performance. Out of 100 families, 67% of them had over 6 children. This was a challenge in that the families failed to provide the required support to sustaining children in schools and the opportunity cots remained high. It was established that 7%, 15% and 17% of the respondents were total orphans, partial orphans and single parented respectively, while 61% had both parents. On families’ education level, it was found out that out of 531 elder brothers and sisters of the respondents, 225(42.4%) had not finished standard eight, 131(24.7%) had not gone to tertiary school, 94(17.7%) had gone up to secondary level and 81 (15.3%) had not finished secondary school level of education with none of those going for a village poly technique. This depicted that 50% of the population in the society new very little on the benefits of education and therefore, provides very little support to education. It was also found that no single parent had gone up to university level; out of 211 parents 179 had not completed secondary education. The study found out that 56% of the respondents did not study at their homes because of family tasks after school, sometimes lack of food at home and lack of lighting system.
From the findings of this study, the following conclusions were made.
First, enrolment of girls super ceded the enrollment of boys in all the schools under study. This showed that the boy child education was endangered if not addressed by policy makers and the educationist. The positive trend of academic achievement for both boys and girls did not depict the results at JSSCE in these schools. This could mean that the internal exams done by the Students are substandard or they are not well supervised and therefore do not depict, the final results at the end of class eight.
On school processes, the study established that 70% of the schools do not start teaching the first week of opening. The way teachers leave school after classes show clearly that they are less motivated in their task which they are endowed to execute by the government. The positive trend in evaluation tests may have been experienced due to the higher percentage of class attendance by teachers. Despite the abolishment of repetition in schools this practice remained rampant in schools.
While the government is committed to provide free secondary education to all Nigerian children, the school processes remained wanting in achieving academic excellent.
Thirdly, despite the fact that academic achievement of a student is a concerted effort between different players, school resources especially the textbooks and teachers remained a major challenge to academic achievement of many Students in Uyo metropolis. A school with a population of 298 Students had 10 teachers and a school with a population 411 Students had only 5 teachers. This shows that there is poor balancing of teachers in the district ceteris Paribas. 90% of the schools had enough play fields but 80% were not cleared for use. This shows little commitment by teachers on the extra curricula activities.
Lastly, in spite the government commitment to ensuring that education system is internally efficient, the parents in the district of study did not accord education the priority it deserved and is seen by their inability to provide lighting for their children back at home and avoidance of family tasks in the evening at the expense of the children. From the study it is noted that Students experienced food problems back at their homes and in school. Distance from home to school was not a major challenge to academic achievement.
The following recommendations are made from the study:
Trend of academic achievement
The ministry of education through the office of the District Education Office (D.E.O) should hold meetings with teachers, parents and Students to discuss the already existing trend of academic achievement among Students, challenges that face education and create a good rapport between the school and the community for good learning environment. This office should not wait to rush to school always after the parents’ riot.
More effort should be geared towards building the foundation of the child at the lower secondary rather than embarking on standard eight that lost foundation many years back. The study recommends further the introduction of lift-hour sessions to help the academically weak Students in secondary schools.
The school resources
The study indicated that shortage of textbooks was the main challenge to good academic achievement of Students. In this light, it would be critical for the government to introduce affirmative action while disbursing the money for Free Secondary Education so as to ensure that every vote head is used in the purpose that it was intended.
The study recommends for active involvement of parents in the provision of education as an investment. Parents should play a key role in providing user charges for their children at school and giving a conducive learning environment at home. The school feeding program should not discriminate between schools in the same region. Lastly the study recommends educational administrators within the districts to hold open forums with the community to educate them on their role towards investing in education instead of relying 100% on the government.
Areas of further research
Further research is recommended in the following areas:
- Similar study should be done in other districts where no such studies have been undertaken.
- A study on how district education office interacts with schools and community need to be done in this district.
- A study on how different vote heads are used in schools could also add to this body of knowledge and mitigate educational wastage due to inadequate resources.
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