DETERMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH TRANSITION AND MOCK EXAMINATIONS PREDICT THE ACHIEVEMENT OF STUDENTS IN SSCE

DETERMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH TRANSITION AND MOCK EXAMINATIONS PREDICT THE ACHIEVEMENT OF STUDENTS IN SSCE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

There are examination bodies that are charged with the responsibility of conducting standardized examinations in Nigeria for certification of senior secondary schools. The bodies are, West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the National Examinations Council (NECO), National Business and Technical Board (NABTEB) and so on.

According to the report made available by WAEC (2015), the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate, University of London School Examinations Matriculation Council and West African Department of Education met in 1948 concerning Education in West Africa. Dr. George Barker Jeffery was appointed in the meeting to visit some West African States to see the general education level. The report given by Jeffery (1950) supported the proposal of a West African Examinations Council and making detailed recommendation and duties of the council.

The report was adopted without reservation by the four West African governments (Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and Sierra Leone) and an ordinance (WAEC ordinance No 40) establishing the council as a corporate body was drafted by the West African Inter-Territorial secretariat in consultation with the governments.

           Nigerian government provided accommodation for the body in 1953. To this effect, a block at the Technical Institute, Yaba was given to WAEC. The four countries that are members are – Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and Sierra-Leone.

      The following are the categories of Examinations conducted by the body; 

1)     National Examinations – These are restricted to the specific member countries for which they are developed and reflect their local policies, needs and aspirations.

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2)     International Examinations – These are developed for candidates in all the member countries. 

The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is one of such examinations. Students must have at least five credit passes including English Language and Mathematics to gain admission to study in the university. Because of the importance of these external examinations to students, adequate preparation must therefore be made to help students achieve highly in them.

Different attempts have been made by school administrators to prepare students for these Examinations. Mock has been the popular form of Examination conducted to help prepare students for these external examinations. But mock examinations conducted both at school and sectorial levels have been criticized by many scholars as being biased and subject to teachers’ manipulations which makes it inadequate to be used to predict the performance of students in external Examinations. Students are not being judged equally as different types of Mock Examinations are conducted by teachers in various schools and different senatorial districts. There is no uniformity of examinations taken by students to prepare them for the same external examinations. Standards differ from school to school and from district to district.

The items in these Mock examinations conducted at school and district levels are not standardized to ascertain the psychometric properties of the items. This makes the examination unparallel with the external examinations that are developed in a standard form by experts which have known psychometric properties. The standardization ensures the parameters like; the difficulty index, discriminating index and the distractor index. 

To better prepare the students for these external examinations, Kogi State government in 2008 introduced an examination called Transition examination which was borne out of the government’s interest in looking for a reliable ground of preparation for students to perform better in the external examinations. Transition examination is taken in Senior Secondary II (SS II) in third term. It serves two major purposes of promotion examination to Senior Secondary III (SS III) and also prepares the students for external examinations. The examination is taken throughout the state and under the same examination conditions as these external examinations and marked centrally by the teachers who indicate interest and are paid like examiners in the external examinations. Transition Examination was also designed to have a motivating feature.

The government’s policy that established the Transition examination in Kogi state

includes:  

1)     The examination is for students transiting from SS2 to SS3 in all government approved    secondary schools in the state.

2)     The examination should be called Kogi State Common Transition Examination.

3)     All subjects examined by WAEC and NECO and offered in Kogi schools are to be tested.

These include, among others; English Language, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

4)     The items will be generated by subjects’ specialists teaching the students in schools within the state.

5)     There will be item writing and moderation exercises involving experts. Four subject specialists per subject will be involved for item generation and moderation.

6)     Conduct the Examination;

 All schools will be centres.

 Vice principals will supervise the examinations in schools other than theirs.

 The principals will provide resources for test of practical.

 Principals are to provide resources for packaging of worked scripts.

 Principals are to deliver worked scripts to the Area Inspectorate of Education

(AIE)/custodian after the examination.

7)     Marking exercises;

 Zonal marking to be coordinated by zonal AIEs and monitored by officials of Ministry of

Education (MOE).

 Zonal AIEs will appoint markers.

 Zonal AIEs will receive scripts from principals or AIE/custodians.

 Zonal AIEs will brief and coordinate team leaders and assistant examiners.

 Payment of assistant examiners and team leaders will be at the zonal centres.

8)     Processing of results

 Collation of results by MOE.

 Computerization to be handled by the MOE.

9)     Release of results and promotion parameter to be determined by MOE.

 At least passes in five subjects including English Language and Mathematics.

 Candidates who failed will repeat the SS 2 class.

 Candidates who repeated once may be promoted if he/she should fail again.

The government motivates the students by paying the WAEC fee of any student that passed at five credit level including English Language and Mathematics. The objectives of

Transition examination include;

i) To organize qualifying examination into Senior Secondary III (SS III) from Senior

Secondary II (SS II) ii) To standardize the quality of students that will present for WAEC. iii) To create a platform for ready candidates for government sponsorship in terms of payment of

WAEC registration, and iv) To curb the menace of examination malpractice in terms of registering external candidates who are not prepared for the examination (Kogi State Ministry of Education, 2008).

 There have been better performances in the Transition Examination that would have been expected to reflect in the students’ performances in the external examinations, but it has not been so. Despite all the government’s efforts in funding this examination and paying the WAEC SSCE registration fee of students that passed with five credits in subjects including English Language and Mathematics, the performances of students in external examinations are still poor. There is a need, therefore, to further prepare students to curb this menace of mass failure in the external examinations. 

To better strengthen the preparedness of students for the external examinations, Kogi state government, in year 2012, repackaged mock examination to be conducted centrally and in the same examination conditions as these external examinations. It is taken in the first term of SS III. The examination papers are equally marked centrally by teachers. Recently, the result of the mock examination was published and given out to students and could be accessed on the internet which is different from the usual practice of keeping the results with the school principals. All these are done by the government to equip the students for the public (eternal) Examinations.

Public examinations are viewed as external school examinations opened to the general public and conducted by examination bodies using tests that have known psychometric properties. These are better developed than the ones prepared by the teachers in the school setting (Adeyegbe, 2004). The examinations are the sense that the examining boards conducting these examinations did not themselves prepare students for the examinations. They are the examinations that are designed and organised under specific terms and conditions and are based on norms that were regarded as standards (Adeyemi, 2008). To know the students’ standing in these examinations, therefore, students must be evaluated.

              Evaluation is seen as a qualitative description of students’ behavior. No matter how efficient the teacher is, how intelligent the students are and how adequate the audio-visual equipment, if no provision is made for the evaluation of the students’ progress, the teaching effort may be completely invalidated. Evaluation concerns determining the quality of the curriculum, the facilities available and performance of pupils, using various tools. Test is one of such tools for evaluation (Obinne, 2011). The practical relevance of these tests and their testing is largely dependent on their levels of reliability, validity, difficulty and discrimination. Validity is, according to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, “the most fundamental consideration in developing and evaluating tests” (Hogan & Angello, 2004).

Tests are administered in these examinations (Transition, Mock and external examinations) to know the level of achievement of students. Test could be used as a measuring instrument to predict the academic performance of students in the future. Such test that could be used to predict students’ achievement must be valid.

Validity is the extent to which a test measures what it ought to measure. Validity are of different types. One of the types of validity is criterion-related validity. This type of validity is concerned with the degree to which the performance on an instrument can estimate or predict performance in other situations. The measures from the instrument are referred to as the predictor variable or (predictor), whereas the performance in another situation which the instrument is supposed to predict is called the criterion variable. As related to this study, Transition and Mock Examinations are the predictor variables while SSCE is the criterion variable. Criterion-related validity is sub-divided into two viz; concurrent validity and predictive validity. Concurrent validity has to do with when the criterion score is obtained about the same time with the test score, that is, when the two scores are gotten concurrently.

 Predictive validity is the extent to which a person’s present scores can be used to estimate the future performance. Predictive validity is intended to predict how a person will perform at a later date on a different of assessment of his/her abilities using the performance measures of the present (Garson, 2008). Emaikwu (2011) stated that predictive validity refers to how accurately a person’s current test score can be used to estimate what the criterion score would be at the later time. Mock and Transition examinations are the predictor variables that will be used to predict the performance of students in SSCE (criterion measure). Gall, Gall, and  Borg (2007) were of the view that predictive validity is the  degree to which the predictions made by tests are confirmed by the later benaviour of the subjects. They maintained that much educational research is concerned with the prediction of success in various activities.

          The aim of the government in Kogi state is to use Transition and Mock examinations to prepare the students to have better performance in the external examinations. Therefore the need to ascertain the predictive validity of these examinations whether they can be used to predict the achievement of students in SSCE. Despite all these efforts by the government, the poor achievement of students in these external examinations has become worrisome and hence the need for this study to see how both Mock and Transition examinations predict the students’ achievement in SSCE. This will give a direction on whether to repackage or discard the examinations and think of a better one.    

The researcher used Mathematics, English Languate, Physics, Chemistry and Biology as subjects of prediction because Mathematics and English Language are compulsory subjects in secondary schools and are core subjects which must be passed at credit level for students to be able to pursue their academic career while Physics, Chemistry and Biology are science based subjects. According to the Federal Republic of  Nigeria (2013), core subjects are basic subjects that enable a student to offer Arts or science in higher education. Without a solid foundation in Mathematics, meaningful advancement in science and Technology would not be made. According to Kolawole and Udoh (2012), Mathematics is the tool in the development of science based knowledge such as technology, industry and, even, for sound analytical reasoning in daily living in the present age. Also without a solid foundation in English Language, students may not be able to make a head way in art related courses.Adesoji (2008) asserted that abilities in English Language do influence knowledge of students in other subjects in the curriculum. Physics, Chemistry and Biology are the major science subjects that qualifies and enable students to study science related courses in the Nigerian higher institutions of learning (FME, 2013). 

          For students to perform better in an examination that will determine how far they can go in life, in terms of education therefore, the predictive validity of such an examination ought to be ascertained. Hence the need for this study since it was discovered that no research work had been carried out, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, on the predictive validity of transition examination since its inception in Kogi state in 2008 and Mock Examination when it was reparkaged in 2012.  

Statement of the Problem

Generally, mock examinations are used to predict students’ performance in the main examination the transition examination serves the same purpose. Mock examination as a trial examination is selective , predictive and diagnostic in nature which shows how successful teachers’ instructions have been mastered. Prediction can not be established if the examination that is to serve as predictor does not have close relationship, in terms of the correlation coefficient,  with the criterion variable. The value of the correlation coefficeint between the criterion and the predictor variables could qualify it, or otherwise, as an examination that can actually serve as the basis of prediction. In other word, it is when the predictive validity is ascertained that the examination can be reliably used to predict future occurrence. Despite the introduction of these Examinations (Transtition and Mock), the achievement of students in the external Examinations is still worrisome. Since the introduction of  the transition examination in Kogi State in 2008 and Centralized Mock Examination in 2012, no study has been carried out, to determe their predictive validities suggest whether to continue using them to prepare the secondary school students for their final examination in either WAEC, NECO or NABTEB conducted examinations. Hence the need for this study as it seeks to determine the predictive validity of these examinations. The question, therefore, is what is the predictive validity of

Transition and Centralized Mock Examinations in Kogi state? 

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to determine the extent to which Transition and Mock 

Examinations predict the achievement of students in SSCE. Specifically, the study seeks to;

1)      Determine the extent to which Transition and Mock Examinations in Mathematics predict students’ achievement in SSCE Mathematics,

2)      Determine the extent to which Transition and Mock Examinations in English Language precict students’ achievement in SSCE English Language,

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