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1.1 Background Information
Provision of secondary education is a major concern for many countries in the world today (UN Declaration, 1948). This explains why knowledge of the trend of academic achievement of Students is vital to educationists, teachers, parents and students. The importance and value with which Students hold academic achievement cannot be overlooked. That is the reason as to why students transfer and others demonstrate because of a continued poor performance of a school. Developed and developing countries alike understand that providing basic education for all children is essential not only to their own economic growth and social stability but to the functioning of nations. Over the past two decades, a concentrated global effort has been made to increase the number of children in school. In 1990, the world conference in Jomtien Thailand, urged all nations of the world to adopt policies that would ensure universal basic education by year 2000. Since Jomtien, considerable progress has been made in expanding the capacity of secondary school systems in all regions of the world. Secondary education in some developing countries has expanded to the extent that it reaches nearly all school-age children, and many of these countries have made significant efforts to overcome the gender gap in access to secondary school.
In Nigeria, the introduction of universal (free) secondary education programme in public schools in January 2003 by the Government has raised total secondary school enrolment from 5.99 million to about 8.5 million children which is a tremendous improvement so far (Economic Survey, 2009). While giving all children the opportunity to attend school is obviously an important priority, it is but the first step towards the goal of ‘Education for All’. Once Students find seats in a classroom, they need quality instruction; otherwise there will be little motivation to persistent achieve in school. Students need to be taught skills that are applicable to the life after school so that they develop problem-solving skills instead of memorizing information for the sake of passing terminal examinations. In affirming the goal of universal basic education, participants in the Jomtien conference emphasized that reform efforts must focus on ‘actual learning acquisition and outcomes rather than exclusively upon enrolment’. To this end, participants urged countries to set specific qualitative targets. Learning achievement, they suggested, should be improved to the point that ‘an agreed percentage of an appropriate age cohort – for example, 80 per cent of 14year-olds – attains or surpasses a defined level of necessary academic achievement. Satisfactory achievement of the basic learner achievement competencies/skills throughout the formative years of learning of a student in any education cycle will ensure excellence in a School 11 academic achievement with all the other variables being as expected. The major determinants of academic achievement include School Processes Factors, school resources and Students’ characteristics. Educational players must therefore create a classroom environment and organize activities in which Students actively participate in their learning (Wasanga P.M. et al, 2010).
Several serious challenges for the schools in the world have been pointed out during the recent decades, for example decrease in student enrolment, large classes, and lack of teaching materials and facilities, corporal punishment, teacher absence and student drop out (Chonjo, 1994; Ishumi, 1994; Khwaya Puja & Kassimoto, 1994; BEST, 1994; Malmberg & Hansdn, 1996). Investigations of the effects of socio-economic status (SES) background on students' school achievements have been carried out across the world (Huson, 1990; Temu, 1995). These studies have established that the higher the educational level of parents, the higher their children perform at school and are more likely to pursue further studies. Considerable variation in students' school achievements can be found, which are due to socio-cultural factors, for example parents' level of education, mother tongue and gender (Fuller, 1990; Hus6n, 1990; Khwaya Puja & Kassimoto, 1994; Temu, 1995; Booth, 1996).
The impact of socioeconomic differences in provision of learning opportunities is some of the major concerns in education development in the developing countries. In Tanzania, the educational level of parents has an impact on whether students apply for non-government schools or government schools, whether the child receives individual tuition of the teacher after regular school hours, or whether the child is assisted doing homework (McGillicuddy-DeLisi, & Subramamian, 1994; Temu, 1995). Also parents' attitudes and involvement towards their children's learning varies according to educational level (Malekela, 1994; Mganga & Mizambwa, 1997).
The academic trend for girls is poor than boys especially in mathematics, computer and intergrated science. Statistics show a higher percentage of boys than girls drop out. Girls receive negative expectations about their studies, from teachers, peers and the community at large (Bendera, 1994; Khwaya Puja, & Kassimoto, 1994; TGNP, 1993). These gender differences are more pronounced in secondary and further education than on the secondary school stage.
Nigeria is committed to ensuring quality provision of Education for All (EFA) by 2015. Policy initiatives towards achieving this goal have included abolition of user charges in secondary education in 2003. During this year, secondary gross enrolment (PGE) reached 7.2 million Students (48.6% female) having risen from 5.4 million Students in 1989 (48% female). Despite the efforts put by the government to ensure each and every one gets secondary education the trend on academic achievement of those enrolling in each grade has not been addressed well in different regions of the country. Interventions aimed at promoting girls education, include taking affirmative action in support of girl-child education; expansion and improvement of classrooms, boarding facilities, water and sanitation facilities to create conducive and gender responsive environments, particularly in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs); and providing support to non-formal education institutions(Government of Nigeria, 2005a, 2005b). In Nigeria like any other Country, public examinations tend to provide a measure of achievement at the end of a cycle without necessarily providing the requisite evidence of learners’ academic achievement of the prescribed competencies at various levels progress through school. Public examinations this do not therefore provide a systematic evaluation and intervention system to improve learner academic achievement. In Nigeria, it has been felt that the decline in candidates’ performance in National Examinations particularly in Secondary Leaving Examinations had been as a result of lack of Monitoring of Learning Achievement System that could provide a basis for provision of intervention strategies to address the weaknesses portrayed by candidates before they take the National Examination (Wasanga, P.M. and Kyalo, F, 2009). Many studies in Nigeria have focused on the enrolment, drop-out rates and performance at grade 8. This study deviates from this traditional measure of learning achievement and uses scores of Students in the other classes to measure trend of academic performance of these Students from grade to grade before they reach class eight. Despite the impressive gains in access to education, several issues on trend of academic achievement at all grades in all education levels require further analysis.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Basic education is seen as a necessary condition for development (World Bank, 1993). In addition, it is seen as a right for every child (Nigeria new constitution, 2010). In Nigeria the introduction of free secondary education in 2003 resulted in increased enrollments without accompanying improvements in quality. The issue of quality is being addressed in a piecemeal way, in trickles and in an uncoordinated manner (Khwaya Puja 1994). A class room block constructed without teacher’s house and latrines leaves a lot to be desired. Notebook and textbooks without teachers does not seem to be the best way to assist a school. Black boards and chalk without desks do little to alleviate problems in the teaching and learning processes. Most of these inputs are mere stop gap measures which address one problem while other problems still exist. Three quarters of Students from families under low poverty index and the rising cost of living, access education at secondary level but do not get the benefits accruing from this investment because of low academic achievement (Medium Term plan 2008-2012).
In Nigeria, performance of junior student in Mathematics, integrated science and computer science greatly determines the individual’s advancement of education at tertiary school level. Continued low academic achievement by Students in public secondary schools in Uyo metropolis means a poor transition in tertiary schools.
Uyo metropolis remains a victim of a continued pitiable performance for the last few years in Akwa Ibom State. In the year 2010 only 167 Students scored above 300 marks out of 1,236 who sat for the exam, in 2011, only 115 Students out of 1,234 candidates scored over 300 marks and in 2012, out of 1,328 candidates, it is only 121 Students who managed to get over 300 marks. The district has also remained last for the last three years among secondary schools in the whole of Akwa Ibom State, this raises the question: what has gone wrong and what can the schools and communities do to increase the learning that takes place in schools?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to analyze the trend of academic achievement of JSS3 Students from grades 4, 5, 6 and 7 in Uyo metropolis.
This study seeks to:
i. Determine the trend of academic achievement among junior secondary school Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
ii. Determine extent to which the school processes contribute to Students’ academic achievement in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
iii. Determine extent to which the school resources contribute to academic achievement of Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
iv. Determine extent to which the students’ characteristics affect academic achievement of Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
1.5 Research Questions
The study was guided by the following questions;
i. What has been the existing trend of academic achievement among secondary school Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis?
ii. To what extent does school processes, school resources and Students characteristics contribute to academic achievement of public secondary school Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis?
1.6 Significance of the study
The findings of the proposed study will have a practical implication for the future of education in the district and country at large. It should add knowledge on factors that influence learners’ performance in junior secondary schools. The study will have a practical significance in that it may lead to the improvement of strategies for the implementation of junior secondary school curriculum by identifying the strengths and weaknesses in the implementation process through reliable information from the students.
The findings may also be important for the policy makers and implementers in exploring the extent to which the analyzed results may be improved.
Finally, the study forms a basis on which others can develop.
i. There has been a poor trend of academic achievement among standard 8 Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in Uyo metropolis.
ii. There are several factors in Uyo metropolis that influence trend of performance among Students in Integrated science, Math’s and Computer science in public secondary schools.
iii. All the respondents will co-operate and provide relevant information.
1.8 Limitations of the study
This study had several limitations which may affect the results. First, studying what really determines trend of academic achievement was intrinsically complex as there are arrays of factors which contribute to educational growth. Therefore this study merely identified factors that constitute basic educational inputs. Secondly, some activities which occur at specific periods of the school calendar like frequency of staff meetings, P.T.A. meetings and games were not captured during the short period of visit by the researcher. These and other confounding circumstances may limit our understanding of the results but these were generally overwhelmed and controlled by the research design.
1.9 Delimitations of the study
The study was confined to public secondary schools. The private secondary schools were not part of the study because there was only one private school in the district. The study also focus on junior secondary school students who are offering Integrated science, Mathematics and Computer science.
1.10 Operational definition of terms
Academic achievement: Refers to the progressive performance of Students from one
grade to another.
Enrolment: Refers to the number of Students who get admitted and registered in a
school or class.
Grade: Refers to Students’ level of educational attainment.
Motivation: It is an intrinsic or extrinsic drive in a person to perform a task.
Parents: These include natural mothers and fathers, the foster mothers and fathers,
guardians and any other person who are responsible for financing a Childs’ education.
Students: These are children in secondary schools
Repeaters: These are Students who repeat the same grade in a subsequent year.
Resources: These are both human and physical tools used to facilitate the learning
School process: This is how the school administration conducts its activities within
the school system.
Teachers: This refers to the population of employed instructors in a school system. Trend: It is an experienced behavior in the teaching and learning process over a period of time.
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