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This research is an attempt to find out the attitude of students towards English Language and how it affects their actual performance in English language examinations, using some selected schools in Ukwani Local Government Area of Delta State. the schools include; Obiaruku Grammar School, Amai College, Ezeonum Grammar School, Obiaruku Girls College, Obietum Comprehensive High School. all in Ukwani Local Government Area of Delta State. the researcher carried out an interview, questionnaire for the teachers and students of the aforementioned schools. Although this meant going from one school to the other, efforts was made to ensure that the findings will be accurate. And solutions were given according to the findings in each school. Finally, suggestions were given generally on how student can improve on their performance in English Language Examination.



1.1      Background of the study

English Language was introduced to Nigeria in 1842, by the batch of missionaries who arrived Badagry to evangelize as well as educate the natives (Tomori, 1981). The British Government became the colonial masters of Nigeria from the cession of Lagos as a colony in 1861. The representatives of the queen that was sent back to look after her majesty colony officialised English language in the colony and informally introduced by the early missionaries. The teachers of English Language became prominent at the turn of the nineteenth century by the European missionaries and the freed African slaves who believed that the adoption at European cultures and values would save Africa from barbarism, ignorance, poverty and disease. English since then has occupied a central position in Nigeria and its importance has been growing by leaps and bounds. Though many people would agree that there is an observable fall in standard of education in Nigeria. Nobody in his wildest imagination would have believed that university education in Nigeria has fallen to an abysmally low level as a world bank study has shown in a report that university education in Nigeria has degenerated in the past fifteen to sixteen years.  The shocking news which was reported as are of the lead headlines in the guardian, one of Nigerians major daily newspapers, was published on 19th February, 2001. The screaming headline reads “World Bank Reports Scores Nigerian Graduates Low”. The guardians newspaper quoted the World Bank sponsored study that, Nigeria graduates are poorly trained and unproductive on the job. Graduates skills have steadily deteriorated over the past decade (PI). According to the report, the poor performance of Nigerian graduates is particularly evident in two areas, poor mastery of English Language and lack of requisite technical skills, it was ascertained in the report that the deficiencies in both vital areas make Nigeria graduates of the past fifteen years unfit for the labour market, and sometimes the larger society shortcomings were particularly observed in oral and writing communication, and applied technical skills.  The study also indicated that a serious disconnection exists between universities trainings and the needs of the labour market and this has been socially costly to the country. The report showed that in many cases employers of labour compensate for deficiency in academic preparation by organizing remedial courses for new employees at great expenses. This often increased the companies operating cost and reduced profitability. Though the study may have identified major areas of the decline in the university education, the actual problem may have its root at the secondary school level. For it is at the secondary school level that the potential undergraduates are given inadequate foundation in the use of English. A mastery of written and spoken language is highly desirable, yet its teaching and learning is beset by a myriad of problems at the secondary school level (Kalawole, 1998).


Majority of students who are admitted into the university have no apple opportunity to study English Language anymore, except those who are admitted to study English and related subjects. Such as linguistics and literature in English. Though all students admitted into the universities in Nigeria are encouraged to talk few courses in the English usage, the content of these English courses are grossly inadequate for the students to acquire requisite skills in the effective use of the language for communication and for the give and take of social experience. In order to study English as a second language and be successful at it, the students must be willing to have a grasp of the mastery of English language usage and this in turn has to do with their attitude towards English language. And the teachers must also help the students to acquire skills in fair language art. Namely speaking, reading, listening and writing.

            Language is the vehicle of social interaction and requires practical everyday language use to function properly in the work place, social interaction, mobilization and indeed for functional literacy. It must be emphasized that “a person is functionally literate when he has acquired the knowledge and skills in reading and writing which enable him to engage effectively in all those activities in which literacy is normally assumed in the culture of his group. (Gray, 1969:24) in an analysis of the senior secondary school certificate result in English language between 1988 and 1996 Olapopoo (1`998) indicated that the percentage of failure was between 53.36% and 72.31%. A rich and stimulating language environment and during the early years and beyond is essential to the development and improvement of verbal and intellectual skills necessary for language learning Malinowsk (1991) asserted that composition writing is a difficult skill to acquire, and recommended therefore, that teachers must use a variety of meth0od for teaching English Language. Ellis and Tomlison (1980) recommended some basic skills to be taught to learners so that they can write easy proficiently, such skill includes spelling, punctuation, linguistic skills and convention of style, Reyner et al (2001:57) ascertained that “many good teachers are adaptive rather than rigid in their approach to teaching children and only loosely base their instruction and a given method. There are odds against the Nigerian students in learning English. Trifonovitch (1981) indicated that a student is automatically placed at a disadvantage when he is asked to learn another language. Majority of secondary school students in Nigeria had already mastered their mother tongue before they are admitted into school. Nigeria is reputed to have over 250 languages. With the poor performances of students and graduates in English language in Nigeria, educators, parents, employers, are worried and express great concern. The problem therefore is how the student’s attitude towards English language has affected their actual performance in English language examinations and every day proficient use of it.


The objectives of the study are;

1.   To ascertain the relationship between students attitude towards English language and their daily efficient use of it.

2.   To ascertain whether teachers of English language use appropriate methods in the teaching of it

3.   To ascertain the factors that influence prevalent students attitude towards their language performance

4.   To suggesting ways to improve on their performance at the secondary school level. 


The hypotheses stated below are raised in order to actualize the objectives of this study.

Hypothesis One

HO:   there is no relationship between student’s attitude towards English language and their daily efficient use of it.

HI:    there is relationship between student’s attitude towards English language and their daily efficient use of it.

Hypothesis Two

HO:   there are no factors that influence prevalent student’s attitude towards their language performance

HI:    there are factors that influence prevalent student’s attitude towards their language performance


The usefulness of the work cannot be over emphasized the major factors affecting the performance of students in English language in general i.e. both examinations and daily use. Students attitude towards learning and what should be done to help them adopt positive mind set towards learning and mastery of English language would be found invaluable to improve performance excellently. Most especially the secondary school students who leave school convinced that they are bad in English and certainly also not able to use their mother tongue with confidence outside the limited purpose and situation of their immediate social group. Furthermore the study will no doubt be immense use to language teachers especially teachers of English language. Curriculum planners of language. English and the ministry of education in making English language teaching and learning more interesting and meaningful.  


The scope of the study covers the attitude of students towards English and their actual performance in English examination. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

 a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study 

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.


Barbarism: Old ways or system of belief by a group of persons, or culture. It can also be called obsolete.

Colony: A country or an area that is governed by people from another, more powerful country.

Language: The system of communication in speech and writing that is used by people of a particular country or area.

Leaps and Bounds: A figurative expression which means “all round” to spread across many places.

Proficiency: The ability to do something well because of training and practice. Ability to master English and also it proficiently.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

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