COMPARISON OF ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE COMPUTER SCIENCE AND INTEGRATED SCIENCE IN EXTERNAL EXAMINATIONS
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Measuring of academic performance of student is challenging since student performance is the product of socio-economic, psychological and environmental factors. Education ought to be growing as a profitable industry with prime objective of maximizing profit by delivering high quality education that produces well educated, skilled mannered students according to needs and requirements of the dynamically growing market. There are two groups of students as generally perceived, that is those who improve and those who don’t improve. Students performance is also affected by different factors such as learning abilities because new paradigm about learning assumes that all students can and should learn at higher levels but it should not be considered as constraint because there are other factors like race, gender, sex that can affect students performance Hansen (2000). Mishae (2001) explained the effect of age, qualification and distance from learning. Place on the students performance in his explanation concerns the readiness in doing a particular discipline in the school; for instance, a student that is not capable of doing sciences in the secondary school joins sciences because his/her friends are offering the subjects. Winston et al (2002) added that the academic performance of student is also coined in the students impatience (this time discount behavior). Yuonne (1998) further elaborated that students academic performance is very much dependent on SEB (socio-economic background) as per his statement, secondary school students performance is with statically significant differences. Alexander (2001) explained that some of the practice adopted by secondary school administration can also influence their academic performance, such practices like organized study group, debate club, media and culture clubs etc.
According to Bello Lawel, an Abuja based educationist a member of the All Nigeria committee of Principals of secondary school (ANCOPSS). The truth is that the reading culture in Nigeria is generally poor. To make it worse, these days, mot of our students hardly read. Instead they waste their precious time watching televisions or films, listening to music, playing to music, playing video/computer games.
Another educationist Mohammed (2009) attributed the dismal performance on the external examinations to the lackadaisical attitude of the government and its refusal to adequately fund the education sector. According to him, on several occasions we clamored for improved budgeting allocation to the education sector but all these have fallen on deaf ears. For instance, UNESCO recommends that 26 percent of any country’s budget should be allocated to the education sector but instead what do we have in Nigeria. Government paying lip service to the education sector. Other countries who understand the importance of education have taken proactive steps to adequately fund their education sector. For instance, Ghana has allocated 29 percent to its budget education sector, even far more than the UNESCO recommendation. The same thing with countries like South Africa and Botswana who allocated 35 and 37 percent respectively to the education sector. So until these things are implemented we would continue to morty age the future of our children. Statement of the problem Secondary school students performances in external examinations has been a nagging issues in Nigeria generally and particularly in Enugu North Local Government Area, Enugu State.
Language is a medium of institution. For teaching and learning to take place effectively, there must be adequate communication between the learner and the teacher. In Nigeria, English language is a “Lingua Franka”. Except in vernacular, it is used in communicating the learner in all Nigeria schools. The importance of English language can hardly be overemphasized. That is why it appears almost everyday in the school time table.
Unfortunately, a cursory look at the performance of students in English language in particular computer and integrated science in external examination in Eungu North Local Government Area is nothing to write home about. Since computer and integrated science are relatively new in development of science and technology, the researchers would want to find out why there is an always recorded low performance in English language, computer science and integrated science from 2003 -2007 on case study.
Secondly, what facilities are available in teaching and learning of the three subjects in Junior secondary school certificate examination in Enugu Local Government Area.
Purpose of the study Based on the background and the problem of this study, the main purpose underlying the project is to compare the academic performances of the junior secondary school students in English language, computer science and integrated science in external Examinations from 2003-2007. (A case study of Enugu North Local Government Area, Enugu State) specifically, the purpose of the study tends to find out: 1. Why there is poor performance of students in external examinations 2. How students perform in external examinations 3. How students perform in English Language, Computer Science and Integrated Science in External Examination and when compared, which one among the listed did perform better than others.
Significance of the study
The usefulness of the research work in educational system cannot be over emphasized if the result of the study is properly utilized. It is going to be a benefit to the students, teachers, parents and government. This would help to provide some information for curriculum designers and classroom teachers in order to utilize relevant approaches to enhance meaningful learning and teaching of English language, Integrated Science and computer science students. Thus, the knowledge of students’ cognitive style and attitude would be very useful in both academic and career enhancement.
Scope of the study The study was based on the junior secondary school students performance in external examinations in English Language, Integrated Science and Computer science in Enugu North Local Government Area, Enugu State. This specifically covers the following junior secondary schools; 1. New Layout Secondary school 2. Days Secondary School Independent Layout 3. Government secondary school Enugu 4. Coal Camp Secondary School, Enugu
The schools mentioned above are used in this research work for better coverage and easy assessment.
Research questions The following research questions were formulated to guide the study. These questions are:- 1. What are the causes of poor performance of students in external examinations? 2. In what ways can the performance of students in external examination be improved?
3. How does students perform in external examination in English language, Computer science and Integrated science and which of the three subjects did they perform better on?
Limitation of the study For a proper project research to be carried out effectively, there should be some limitations along the line, these limitations includes: Time Constraint: This is the time consumed by students carryout a particular project research topic. First and foremost, for a student achieve his or her goals on a project research, there should be an effective plans on how the materials needed can be gotten. And this will be actualize by proper research which might involve moving from one place to another in search of these materials. By so doing time is consumed. On the other hand, some students in a particular group may be giving excuses that the time fixed is not suitable for them, some may complain that they usually do their domestic work for their parent during the project research exercise, which may demand all attentions. In order to balance the equation they should be proper plans on time management. Money: This involves that money needed for the project to be carried out in a situation whereby the money needed becomes high, some students in a group will be affect and this may hinder their chances of participating and finally terminates their work since nothing good comes easy without money. Difficulty Experiences: This is the experience we encounter from our group. Since every body has his/her own personal character couple with individual schedule for daily activity, thing can never be done at the same time. Therefore, the time schedule for a particular group to carryout their project research varies. Insincerity of responding to questionnaire items: this is the inability of the supervisor did not explain properly the most essential things needed and how he wants the project to be done. The project writer may find it difficult to cope.