1.1 Background to the Study
The persistent occurrence of poor external results among Nigerian students, especially those in senior secondary schools is a matter that has become a source of worry to successive governments and major stakeholders in the education sector in Nigeria today. Over the years, the majority of students that sat for the May/ June West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and November/ December National Examination Council (NECO) have been recording mass failure, not only in the area of overall performance of the students, but also in Physics subject where the high spate of failures have been a dominant feature of the students‘performance in secondary schools in Nigeria. Characteristically, statistics reeled out by the examination bodies, of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council, each time the results of examinations are released, they point to the fact that students have not been performing up to the required standards despite the high investment which the government, both at the federal and state levels, as well as the parents have been making in the sector, though, some still pull their weight.
Consequently, the out-cry on the persistent poor and unpromising performances of many senior secondary school students in Nigeria specifically, in the past nine years (2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017) in Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) conducted by West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) made educationists and the government policy makers and the researcher wonder whether the schools are measuring up to the expectations. However, several factors among the numerous problems confronting Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria will without doubt positively or negatively affect students‘ performance in both West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO). Many of them lack management of school building, facilities and equipment, such as, books, libraries, science, vocational and languages laboratories, maintenance of instructional materials for the teaching and learning process, maintenance of discipline, management and administration of senior secondary schools, inspection and supervision of school curriculum and time table by Federal Ministry of Education, inter-personal relationship between school and community, time management, teachers‘ level of commitment, inter-personal relationship between students and teachers and students‘ welfare support services.
Other factors that may equally affect students‘ academic performance in National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examinations Council (WAEC) include: students‘ indiscipline in schools, inadequate supervision of students‘ conduct in the house, lack of involvement of students ineffective communication in schools, lack of innovation, lack of students‘ participation in school decision-making, lack of students‘ participation in co- curricular activities in schools, inaccurate techniques of evaluating students‘ academic work, frequent change in admission and promotion policies by educational administrators and planners for the school systems, students‘ poor attitude to school work, teachers‘ qualification and development, students- parents relationships, inaccurate statistical data, retention of unqualified staff, lack of funds which inhibits proper maintenance of human and material resources in schools, poor morale of parents, government and students in the core- subjects and other major indicators.
In recent years in the state, candidates have been writing the two examinations (WASSCE and NECOSSCE). However neither of the examinations has been appraised. Considering the similarities of the two examinations being taken by the same set of candidates in the state, it is considered worthwhile to analyse students’ performance in WAEC and NECO physics examination from 2008-2017. This study will however investigate a possible deference between National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examinations Council (WAEC) candidates’ performances in physics.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Scholars believe that the noble objectives of secondary education can only be achieved if there is an effective evaluation and assessment machinery. Consequently, this study focuses on comparing candidate performances in National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Senior School Certificate Examinations. This study has reason to doubt the comparability of National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examinations Council (WAEC) SSCEs. One way of investigating the validity of such doubts is to determine the success of both the WAEC and NECO in maintaining the once high standards of the Senior School Certificate Examination. These standards can be assessed using one or more of the following criteria: i) coverage of course content; ii) coverage of educational objectives; iii) performance of candidates in the examination; iv) the examination as a good predictor of future performance; and v) the reliability of the test. The present study focuses on the performance of candidates in the examination.
1.3 Research Objectives
The study has both general objective and specific objectives. The general objective or main objective of this study is to analyse students’ performance in WAEC and NECO physics examination from 2008-2017. The specific objectives are:
i) To assess the performance of Senior Secondary School Students‘ in both West African Senior School Certificate Examination and National Examination Council in Physics subject from 2008-2017 in Nigeria
ii) To determine if the teachers of physics are adequately qualified and properly trained in the subject
iii) To understand if the excessive workload and lack of teacher training facilities are the root of poor performances of student in physics subject in both West African Senior School Certificate Examination and National Examination Council from 2008-2017
1.4 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) What is the performance of Senior Secondary School Students‘ in both West African Senior School Certificate Examination and National Examination Council in Physics subject from 2008-2017 in Nigeria?
ii) Are the teachers of physics are adequately qualified and properly trained in the subject?
iii) Are the excessive workload and lack of teacher training facilities are the root of poor performances of student in physics subject in both West African Senior School Certificate Examination and National Examination Council from 2008-2017?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following shall be the research hypotheses to be tested in this study:
i) There is no significant relationship between teachers’ level of qualification and academic performance of students in physics in both WAEC and NECO
ii) There is no significant relationship between availability of equipment for effective learning of physics and academic performance of students in physics in both WAEC and NECO
iii) There is no significant influence of availability of equipment for effective teaching of physics and academic performance of students in physics in both WAEC and NECO
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would significantly form basis to explain some basic truth to the: government and officials of Ministry of Education on taking the right decision on the provision of infrastructural facilities to aid teaching and learning process which will help improve the academic performance secondary school students in Nigeria. It will help the respective school authorities in the country to take corrective measures within their jurisdiction through adequate planning of resources to meet the demands and guide their actions on future projects on the education students for successful teaching and learning process in the schools Nigeria. It will stimulate administrators to investigate and formulate constructive strategies with a view to reducing or eliminating students‘ poor performance through students‘ welfare support services in Secondary Schools in Nigeria. Parents would give much attention and supervision to the student‘s work and hence result in improvement of students‘ performance.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is designed to to analyse students’ performance in WAEC and NECO physics examination from 2008-2017. The study aims at finding whether variable like; instructional materials, teachers’ improvisation and use of instructional resources are related to students’ academic performance.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The Major Limitations of the study are:
Cost Limitation: There was a cost limitation. This means that we could not offer any gift or monetary incentives for the respondents to answer the questionnaire. This might have resulted in certain prospective respondents choosing not to respond to the questionnaire. This might not have created a motivation among respondents not to take a chance to give opinions. Time Limitation: There are two types of time limitation faced during the study. The study was done for a period of four weeks. Hence the results would reflect the impact of the time constraint. The insights of the employees were observed during the period of study. A more extensive study conducted over a larger time period or during a special period of time like when there were higher numbers of issues, can include insights from employees over a broader time period and can bring in further depth into the research.