IMPACT OF CONTINUOS ASSESSMENT ON THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE IN MAKURDI METROPOLIS

Abstract

This study obtained basic information from computer science teachers on the impact of continuous assessment on the academic achievement of computer science students. The attitude of computer science teachers and students towards continuous assessment, the level of availability of facilities for the successful implementation of continuous assessment as well as the qualification of teachers administering continuous assessment in some selected Junior Secondary Schools in Makurdi metropolis were investigated. It employed a descriptive survey design. Twelve respondents comprising only computer science teachers from ten Junior Secondary Schools in Makurdi metropolis were sampled and used as subjects in the study. A twenty- item questionnaire was developed and used to collect data which were analyzed using percentages. Findings showed that computer science teachers employed a variety of continuous assessment techniques in assessing students such as test and examination method, oral interview and contributions to class discussion. Most of the schools sampled had only one computer science teacher, and some schools did not have single computer science teacher, majority of the teachers were NCE holders, only a few had B.SC/B.Ed, HND, ND, some computer science teachers and students had negative attitude towards continuous assessment and facilities for the successful implementation of continuous assessment were adequate in some schools and completely not available in some schools. It was discovered that the practice of continuous assessment in our schools has a considerable impact on the academic achievement of computer science students. Respondents suggested that continuous assessment could raise the standards of students’ academic achievement, enable the teacher to adopt instructional methods that would carter for individual differences and learning abilities of students, allow teachers to monitor the impact of their lessons on students’ understanding. Consequently, continuous assessment if well implemented is capable of reducing examination malpractices, engendering quality study habits in the students, improving educational and learning outcomes attainment among others. It is thus, recommended that government at all levels should provide sufficient facilities necessary for the implementation of continuous assessment. Teachers should be allowed to go for further training, and more computer science teachers should be employed. Teachers should employ a variety of continuous assessment techniques to assess students because it considers all the three domains of learning including cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. To check the negative attitudes of teachers and students towards continuous assessment, conferences, workshops or seminars should be organized to enlighten both students and teachers on the impacts of continuous assessment in the education system.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the Study

Quality education is very important to the development of social stability of a nation as it helps develop crucial human values like equality, tolerance, and peace. These values lead to sustain national development, environmental protection, and improve family health, along with responsible participation in democratic, social, and political processes (Durodola and Olude, 2005). The Nigerian Policy on Education acknowledges the immense contributions of science to the educational and economic development of the nation by stating that “for any country to be strong, united and self-reliant, and to have great and dynamic economy, such a nation must be scientifically oriented.”  The overall aim of education therefore should be to impart the desirable knowledge, skills, values and attitude in learner. How the only means for determining whether learners benefit much from a system of education is to assess them at different stages to determine their levels of performance.

Assessment serves as the barometer by which student’s instructional achievement outcome can be gauged. Assessment  enables  the school to achieve the overall objective of having a complete  record of the growth and progress of each pupil possible in order to make unbiased judgment in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor evaluation in the classroom. Kayode (2003), argues that teachers need to assess pupils through a classroom mechanism such as the continuous assessment. Continuous assessment is the alternative to testing (For certification, promotion or placement usually commercial) of pupils achievements that offers a methodology for measuring pupil performance and using those finding to improve the success of pupil (EQ, 2003).

The practical side of computing can be seen everywhere. Nowadays, practically everyone is a computer user, and many people are computer programmers. Getting computers to do what you want them to do requires intensive hand-on experiences. However, computer science can be seen on a higher level as a science of problem solving. The computer scientist must be efficient in modeling and analyzing problems. He/she must exhibit precision, creativity and careful reasoning in designing solutions. Computer science also has a strong connection to other disciplines. Many problems in science, engineering, health care, business , humanities, education, commerce, industry etc. can be solve with computers but finding a solution requires both computer science expertise and knowledge of the particular application domain.

Bearing in mind the usefulness of computer science as highlighted above, one expect that students, teachers as well as parent or guardians would spare nothing to ensure that students perform brilliantly in this subject. Some salient issues on continuous assessment implementation in secondary school in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.

One of the factors militating against the brilliant performance of students in computer science has been identified as lack of effective use of continuous assessment in our schools (Henry & Adams, 2009). In view of this problem, this research work revolves round some salient issues on continuous assessment implementation with emphasis on the empirical impact of continuous assessment on the academic achievement of Computer Science students in some selected secondary schools in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State, Nigeria.

1.2         Statement of the Problem

Continuous assessment is not a new concept in education literature. It began several decades ago in countries like the United State of America and Australia before it was introduced in Nigeria in 1977 alongside the 6 – 3 – 3 – 4 system of education in 1983 by the National Policy on Education (NPE). Continuous assessment was introduced with the ideal that it will enable educators to be more involved in the overall assessment of learners and allow for diverse instructional method (Pennycuik, 1990). It became officially operative in 1985 consequent upon the production of a manual for its implementation as a result of the National Policy on Education (FRN, 1977, 1998 and 2004).

However, continuous assessment has not made the expected contribution to students’ school performance due to the way it was conceptualized and due to some other inherent problems in operation. These problems include the technique of administering continuous assessment by computer science teachers, the attitude of computer science teachers towards continuous assessment, the attitude of computer science students towards continuous assessment, the qualification computer science teachers administering continuous assessment, the availability of facilities for successful implementation of continuous assessment in junior secondary schools. It was on this ground that the researcher chooses to investigate the problems on the impact of continuous assessment on the achievement of computer science students in junior secondary schools in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.

1.3         Research Objectives

The main purpose of this study is to find out the impact of continuous assessment on the achievement of junior secondary school students in computer science in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.

This research work attempts to conduct an investigation to:

  1. Identify the techniques for administering continuous assessment employed by computer science teachers in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.
  2. Assess the attitude of computer science teachers towards continuous assessment in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.
  3. Assess the attitude of computer science students towards continuous assessment in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.
  4. Find out qualification of computer science teachers administering continuous assessment to students in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.
  5. Assess the availability of facility for the successful implementation of continuous assessment in junior secondary schools in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.

1.4     Research Questions

This research work seeks to find answers to the following questions:

  1. What techniques are employed for administering continuous assessment by computer science teachers in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State?
  2. What is the attitude of computer science teachers towards continuous assessment in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State?
  3. What is the attitude of computer science students towards continuous assessment in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State?
  4. What is the level of qualification of computer science teachers administering continuous assessment in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State?
  5. What facilities are available for successful implementation of continuous assessment in junior secondary school in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State?
  6. What is the impact of continuous assessment on academic achievement of computer science students?

1.5      Significance of the Study

Quality education is very important to the development of social stability of a nation as it helps develop crucial human values like equality, tolerance, and peace. These lead to sustain national development in democratic, social, and political processes (Durodola and Olude, 2015). The National Policy on Education acknowledges the immense contribution of science to the educational and economic development of the nation by stating that “for any country to be strong united and self-reliant and to have great and dynamic economy, such a nation must be scientifically oriented. “The overall aim of education therefore should be to impart the desirable knowledge, skills, values, and attitude in learner. How the only means for determine whether the learners benefit much from a system of education is to assess them at different stages to determine their levels of performance.

Assessment serves as the barometer by which student’s instructional achievement outcome can be gauged. Assessment enables the schools to achieve the overall objectives of having a complete judgment in the cognitive, affective and psych motive evaluation in the classroom. Kayode (2003), argues that teachers need to assess pupils through a classroom mechanism such as continuous assessment. Continuous assessment is the alternative to testing (for certification, promotion or placement usually commercial) of pupils achievements, that offers a methodology for measuring pupil performance and using these finding to improve the success of pupil (Eq, 2013).

According to Obanya (1977) effective implementation of continuous assessment should produce better schools, better curriculum materials, better teachers and indeed better students. It was supposed to be a system of the input of the classroom teachers in certification grade would lead to a culture that abhors examination malpractice and greater confidence in what is produced by schools. This not been the case, examination malpractice continue to thrive despite the effort of public examination bodies in redressing the malaise.

Good classroom assessment should assist in changing examination oriented behavior on the part of the learners. Being in school be seen as learning for life and not for certificate acquisition. This is not to say that certificates are not important but that their quality should reflect student’s level of knowledge acquisition. The national assessment (2001 and 2009) conducted by the Universal Basic Education Commission have not shown improved performance in this regard. Performance in the national assessment shows a downward trend in performance of junior secondary school students.

The result of this study are expected to justify the replacement of the one-shot summative evaluation system which was administered on students at the end of each school year for the purpose of promotion to the next class, with the more inclusive means of evaluation called continuous assessment by the Nigerian’s National Policy on Education (NPE).

The results of this will reveal some salient issues on continuous assessment implementation in secondary schools in Makurdi metropolis of Benue state. These issues include the techniques of continuous assessment employed by teachers, the attitude of computer science teachers and students towards continuous assessment, the qualification of computer science teachers administering continuous assessment to student and the provision of facilities for the successful implementation of continuous assessment as well as the empirical impact of continuous assessment on the academic achievement of computer science students in some selected secondary schools in Makurdi metropolis of Benue State.

It is hoped that the result of this research work would emphasis continuous assessment as an integral part of the teaching and learning process of computer science in secondary schools.

One important aspect of instruction is the appropriate guidance of the learner both in his/her learning and preparation for a career. The result of this study will call for a well-defined continuous assessment procedure that will facilitate such function in the school system.

 

1.6        Scope of the Study

The research focuses on the impact of continuous assessment on the achievement of junior secondary school students in computer science.

1.7     Definition of key Terms

Impact: The establishment of a degree or level of interaction or   Influence or direct effect between two or more variables.

The measure of tangible and intangible effects (consequences) on things or entity’s action or influence upon another.

Continuous Assessment: A mechanism whereby the final grading of a pupils cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains are assessed to draw positive or negative conclusion on the child’s academic performance level within a period of time, through the use of a variety of test and no-test measures systematically (Federal Ministry of Education,1980).

Academic Achievement: Students outcome or output as a result of instrument. It is measured in terms of grades obtained by a student in written, oral or practical test and or examinations.

Evaluation: The act of considering or examining something in order to judge it value, quality, importance, extent or condition (Encarta Dictionaries, 2009).

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