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Title: Determinants of Candidates’ Performance in the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations’ English Language and Mathematics in Imo State, Nigeria
Authors: Oparaku, D. D.
Keywords: West African Senior School Certificate Examination
Imo State Secondary School Students
Performance in English Language and Mathematics
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: Despite the core status of English Language and Mathematics, available evidence shows that 50% success is hardly recorded by candidates in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Nigeria. Studies have revealed that factors such as school type, school location and poor teaching methods affect candidates‟ performance in these subjects at WASSCE. However, there is limited information on other factors (illegible handwriting, writing several examinations within the same period, study habit, coverage of syllabus, test anxiety, monitoring of conduct of WASSCE, assessment of WASSCE scripts, number of teachers and teaching/learning resources) that may affect learning achievement. This study, therefore, investigated the relationship between these factors and candidates‟ achievement in WASSCE English Language and Mathematics in Imo State, Nigeria. The study adopted survey design using tracer approach. Purposive sampling technique was used to select 418 past WASSCE candidates who wrote the examination within the period (2010-2013) who were enrolled into Imo State University; Federal Polytechnic, Nekede; Alvan Ikoku College of Education and six continuing education centres; 109 teachers and 53 principals from schools where the candidates attended also participated. The Ten research instruments used were: Study Habit Questionnaire (r=0.72), Test Anxiety Scale (r=0.69), Students‟ Rating of Teacher Factors Scale (r=0.66), Coverage of Syllabus questionnaire (r=0.86), Perceived Legibility of Handwriting Questionnaire (r=0.87), Perceived Adherence to Examination Instruction Questionnaire (r=0.87), Teachers‟ Questionnaire (r=0.61), Principals‟ Questionnaire (r=0.84), Availability and use of learning resources checklist and an interview schedule for six WASSCE team leaders. Candidates‟ WASSCE results in the two subjects were used as index of achievement. Percentages and multiple regression were used for data analysis at p=0.05 while thematic analysis was used for the qualitative data. Ninety per cent of the candidates indicated that they wrote up to four examinations apart from WASSCE, 80.0% claimed that writing many examinations did not affect their performance in WASSCE. About fifty-two two per cent of the principals were of the view that WASSCE is effectively monitored, while about 55.0% of the teachers were of contrary opinion. The inter correlation matrix showed that there is no multicollinearity among the predictors. All the predictors jointly accounted for 4.8% and 9.9% of the variance observed in English Language and Mathematics respectively. Study habit (𝛽=0.01), coverage of syllabus (𝛽=0.01) and insufficient teachers (𝛽=0.02) had significant contributions to achievement in Mathematics while others did not. However, none of the factors had any significant contribution to achievement in English Language. Team Leaders revealed that WAEC examiners are objective in assessing candidates‟ scripts. Study habit and coverage of syllabus contributed to candidates‟ achievement in Mathematics. Students should be encouraged to study hard and be assisted to cover the prescribed West African Senior School Certificate Examination syllabus so that they can perform better in the examination
Description: A Thesis in the International Centre for Educational Evaluation (ICEE) Submitted to the Institute of Education in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
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