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Authors: FEHINTOLA, J. O.
Keywords: Academic performance
Senior School Certificate Examinations
Psycho- demographic factors
University Matriculation Examination
Issue Date: Oct-2011
Abstract: The number of candidates seeking admission into universities is increasing at geometrical rate without a corresponding increase in the number of available space. After passing the School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) conducted by either West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or National Examinations Council (NECO) and the University Matriculation Examination (UME), the candidates are admitted into various academic programmes. However, at the end of every session, the Grade Point Average (GPA) is used to assess the overall performance of the freshmen. More often, some students fail to meet the required number of units. This leads to withdrawal from such academic programmes. This, to a great extent, has cast aspersions on the integrity of the examination bodies. Studies have concentrated on school transition and adjustment of freshmen but little attention has been paid to the correlation between entry qualifications and university academic performance of the freshmen. This study, therefore, examined the predictive values of SSCE, UME scores, and Psycho-demographic factors (age, gender and academic self-efficacy) in respect of academic performance of university freshmen in South-West, Nigeria. The study adopted a descriptive survey design of ex-post-facto type. All the five federal universities in the southwest were selected for the study. Simple random sampling technique was used to select 2,518 university freshmen (1,423 males and 1,095 females). The average age of the participants was 20.63 with standard deviation of 2.96 years. Secondary data were collected from the selected universities� Records and Admissions Offices. The Academic Self-confidence Scale (?=0.86) was used as a measure of academic self-efficacy. Seven research questions were raised and answered. Correlation and Multiple Regression were used for data analysis. There was significant correlation between the independent variables (gender: r = 0.15, p<0.05); UME score (r = 0.15, p<0.05); age (r = 0.17, p<0.05); academic self-efficacy (r = 0.17, p<0.05); NECOSSC (r = 0.16, p<0.05); WASSC (r = 0.18, p<0.05) and grade point average (GPA) of the participants. These variables (i.e. WASSC, NECOSSC, UME scores, gender, age and academic self-efficacy) when combined, accounted for 54.6% of the total variance in the students� academic performance. There was also significant contribution of the independent variables to academic performance of the participants [F (5, 2512) =26.13, p<0.05]. Also, WASSC made the most significant relative contribution to the prediction of academic performance (? = 0.39; t= 8.13; p< 0.05); followed by NECOSSC (?= 0.33, t= 6.13, p<0.05); academic self-efficacy (? = 0.15, t=3.81, p<0.05) and age (? = 0.13, t=2.76, p<0.05). There was also significant difference in the academic performance of university freshmen with WASSC ( = 2.60) and NECOSSC ( =2.28) results (t =6.08, df = 1869, p<0.05). The six independent variables were potent factors in predicting academic performance of university freshmen. The study indicates that, WASSC and NECOSSC could be regarded as adequate entry qualifications into the university. Counselling interventions aimed at enhancing academic self-efficacy of freshmen should be adopted during orientation programmes in the universities.
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