Factors Influencing Students Performance in Shorthand


The study identifies many factors affecting students’ performance in shorthand, such as language teaching method, lecturers impact, students’ interest, technical factors and lack of dexterity (the ability to do something well); nervousness, emotional instability on the part of students, the payment of teachers’ salaries regularly and improvement on their conditions of service.

The study shows the level of the effect of the factors on the students’ performance by comparing lecturers’ and students’ response to the question asked.

It may be understood that shorthand is not exceptionally difficult. It is just like other subjects as revealed by the study though the complaints from the students and public said it is difficult.

The study finally revealed the possible means and ways of helping the shorthand writers, mostly the beginners who are desirous of enrolling for shorthand either for vocational or personal use or both.



Chapter One:

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background Of The Study
1.2 Statement Of Problem
1.3 Purpose Of The Study
1.4 Significance Of The Study
1.5 Research Questions

Chapter Two:

2.1 Literature Review
2.2 Historical Background Of Shorthand

Chapter Three:

3.0 Methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Population
3.3 Questionnaire
3.4 Questionnaire Administration
3.5 Interview/Discussion Session

Chapter Four:

4.1 Analysis Of Data

Chapter Five

5.0 Findings, Conclusion, Recommendation, Areas For Further Research; And Summary
5.1 Findings
5.1.1 Could Lack Of Training Materials Contribute To The Problem Of Learning Of Shorthand.
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendation
5.3.1 Test Of Oral/Written English
5.3.2 Provision Of Teaching/Learning Facilities /Materials
5.3.3 Alternative To Pitman System Of Shorthand
5.3.4 Enhancement On The Instructor Attitude Towards Students And Shorthand
5.4 Areas For Further Research
5.5 Summary
5.5.1 Students’ Performance In Shorthand –
5.5.2 Shorthand Teaching
5.5.3 Comparison Of Instructors/Students Mean Ranks On Factors Influencing Students Performance In Shorthand
5.5.4 Instructor’s Factor
5.3.5 Subject Matter
5.5.6 Technical Factor
5.5.7 Teaching Method
5.5.8 Deficient Typing Skill Admission Requirements Of Students Enrolling Into
5.5.9 Shorthand Classes
5.6.1 Equipment
5.6.2 Teaching Penmanship
5.6.3 Mastery Of Shorthand Principles
5.6.4 Dictation Materials
5.6.5 Motivation: Giving Award
5.6.6 Instructors’ Method Of Dictation
5.6.7 Teaching Staff
Appendix (Questionnaire)




Shorthand is a very old course of study. Isaac Pitman spent more than fifty (50) years studying and improving on shorthand system. Other scholars and expert writers made their own contributions to improve shorthand. To many people throughout the world, shorthand system serves as a means of livelihood. It is used during meetings in the courts of Justice and other offices where fast recording is required.

Kanu (1993) shorthand is a system of writing which is based on the science of phonetics that is related to articulated sounds2. It appears prominently in the curriculum of secondary/commercial schools. It has been considered as an important commercial subject on which business and management revolve in recent time. It is unique because it is the act of writing symbols that represent sounds. As a result of the importance of secretaries in the organization, the Federal Government has created more secondary and commercial schools.

For sometime the Modern Ideal College (M.I.C) Abakpa – Nike has recorded a low rate of successful turnover of its students. Only very few of the students who were admitted in the school could be able to finish in the school because of shorthand. They saw the subject (shorthand) as a very, very hard subject. Also most of the students and house helps whom their madam’s mission is just to complete the agreement with the parents of their housemaids. Most of them do not give them enough time to read because the subject needs time to need constant study so that the person will learn it very well.

Despite today’s technological development, shorthand is still being taught for both personal and vocational use. The former as a means of keeping one’s confidential matter in record form of security and safety from third party as well as for the sake of knowing it while the later is to earn a living in a world of work. Note that” in modern times, shorthand has been the tool of many men who rose to prominence. Presently, shorthand has assumed prominent in realization of this,  “Shorthand is till very much in and demand in the business world; and this is because most business executives and top government Officials in Nigeria as well as other parts of the world are well aware of the need of a secretary with shorthand skill can save them time and money”.

Skill subjects have peculiar characteristics that must be demonstrated by the learner. It only not emphasizes the psychomotor, but cognitive and effective domain since knowledge is a pre-requisite to acquiring skill. Talking about shorthand skill, Oladunjoye says “these people (business executive and government officials) are willing to pay high salaries for those with the skill.

From the above, undoubtedly, shorthand has become an important skill in the modern business world and will continue to occupy a prominent position getting information needed by management and clients recorded at a fast and accurate speed.

If shorthand is a skill subject, it must be learned as a skill subject. Skill acquisition and autoimmunization is far more than intellectual exercise. Skills must be over learned to the point that they can be exercised when something else is uppermost in the situation of the learner – otherwise hen are not skill. Therefore, “The test of any skill is the ability to use it, not the knowledge a person may have about it. If a student knows how to form shorthand outlines correctly according to rule but cannot take dictation because he has not mastered shorthand”.

Though, intellectualization is a basic for auto immunization, the later is the goal skill course. Therefore, shorthand skill must skill be automatized and not intellectualized. The extent or level to which this should be has been established by various examination bodies and institutions of learning in consultation with the business community. Since shorthand has been in the Nigerian secondary school curriculum for sometimes the Royal Society of Arts (R.S.A) (now WAEC) NABTEB/NECO) and pitman professional bodies have been responsible for certification until some years back when polytechnics colleges of education and some courses in their curriculum and has been turning out graduates – NCE, ND, HND, B.SC, B.ED. etc. Despite the increase in number of schools now offering secretarial course, and renewed interest of students in enrolling for the programme, the performance rate has been encouraging. This was attested to by student taking shorthand examination from professional bodies who have been recording a high sounding failure rate.
The same applies to full-time students in our institutions of learning. The need thus arises to identify the various factors that influence students. Performance in shorthand.


From general observation, students perform poorly in shorthand.

The reason for the poor performance could be classified into two factors could be classified into two factors.

– Personal factors

– Instructional factors

(1) Personal factors: Some students are psychologically defeated right from day one in the department. This mostly occurs when students take to the course as a last resort. The general belief by such students is that they can never do well in the course. The major problem is not that the students have such psychological problems but how to cure them of such problem and this is one of the principal reasons for this study. Other problems that fall for this study. Other problems that fall under this category are the students’ inability to define their personal goals, lack of interest, lack of adequate writing materials, lack of concentration and poor hearing, and irregular attendance to shorthand lectures.

(2) Instructional factor:- In most schooling offering secretarial courses, dearth of shorthand instructors which is a strong factor affecting the teaching of shorthand stands out. This being the case, performance is bound to be poor because most of the course may not be well informed or equipped academically to impart the required knowledge. And this confirms the saying that ?No education system can rise above the quality of its lecturers”. Therefore, it becomes a problem to train the trainer that should fill the vacuum created by the dearth of instructors.

In additional to this there is the problem created by lack of instructional materials such as the recorded cassettes, and relevant textbooks. In most cases, students don’t regard this as vital instruments for good performance in shorthand where they are available.

These and may other problems constitute the problems for this study


(1) To find out the causes of students’ inability to conquer shorthand.

(2) To find out students’ perception, that is the ability or factors affecting their performance in shorthand

(3) To make recommendations based on the findings.


The importance of this study is to enable both students and the lecturers as well as the general public to be aware that shorthand is not difficult to comprehend, learn and teach. It is a skill that is easy to acquire if some adverse (unfavourable) factors are identified and well handled and treated.

Consequently, the project work will help the students to identify their areas of weakness in the course and try to make immediate remediation, that is those lacking behind to cheer up. It will be helpful to all those who aspire closing desire) to attain high speed in the “wizard art” of pitman shorthand. This study will be helpful for all those who wish to work in all areas of human endeavour like:

– Law offices, assembly offices, government offices and business offices

The question here is to whom would the result of this study be useful?

Of what value would the outcome (the result of an action) of the study be to the students, lecturers, institutions and the education system.

It is hoped that the result of the study would enable the learner and those concerned with secretarial education, to know the various factor that flight against the good performance of students in shorthand. The result will also show the performance spread of model ideal college, Abakpa – Nike Enugu.

The study will help the educational planners or educational administrators and secretarial lecturers to identify those factors that cause the problems that are falling shorthand students and as a result, equip them with the skills required to remedy it.


For the purpose of this study, the following questions were used:-

1. Could poor background knowledge of English have any effect in the learning of shorthand?

2. Could lack of training materials contribute to the problem of learning of shorthand?

3. Why is shorthand the most problematic subject for these students?

4. Do lecturers contribute to the problems of these students?

5. are students performance being influenced by some factors

6. Why are there mass failure in shorthand?

7. What are the acceptable performance level expected of students of pre – ND, ND, HND, B.SC; and B.ED at the end of their course?

8. Is shorthand really beyond human comprehension?

9. How long does it take one to get mastery of shorthand?

10. What are the most effective methods in the teaching of shorthand?

11. What efforts have lecturers of shorthand in the institutions made to alleviate (to ease) students poor performance in shorthand?


Shorthand:– This is defined as the art of representing spoken sound with written sign. It can be also defined as any method of writing that allows the individual to increase the speed of visual record of language.

Personal: This refers to knowledge acquired for private and individual use only.
Vocational: This refers to knowledge acquired with the aim of using it in the world of work in order to earn a living.

Performance:- This refers to level of attainment of student in the art of learning shorthand.

Practicing secretaries:- This refers to those individuals who earn their living through the application of skill they already acquired towards the economic growth of the country.

Skill:– This refers to all activities that acquire control, physical movements to be made under guidance of the mind.

Limitation:- Due to the fact that the researchers are faced with serious time and financial constraints, the study could not be extended to secondary and commercial and comprehensive schools. Again, due to logistic problems, ex-students of secretarial profession could not be located within the period the study covers.

This notwithstanding, the findings of the study will be generalized to all institutions offering shorthand and all students and all students of shorthand in Nigeria.

Delimitation:– The study is carried out among the students of modern ideal college, Abakpa – Nike, Enugu.

The purpose is to determine the factors that are consulting their problems in shorthand?

Copyright © 2021 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0

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