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STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS / ECONOMICS RELATED COURSES
Economics is the bedrock of all social science and management-based subjects. The poor performance of students in economic and economics related subjects is therefore an issue of great concern to all stake-holders such as parents, teachers and government. This research therefore focuses on the influence of factors such as availability and unavailability of physical facilities ( i.e. textbooks), parental control, students’ interest as well as teachers’ level of competency on the academic achievement of senior secondary school students in economics. The researcher found out that students’ performance in economics and economics related in senior secondary certificate examination (S.S.C.E) in 2011 was poor. While descriptive survey design was employed since the study aims at considering the relationship between students’ academic performance in WASCCE 2011 and the aforementioned factors, the study randomly selected thirty (30) respondents of twenty-five senior secondary school students and five teachers from each of the five sample schools selected, making up a total of 150 sample subjects. A self-constructed questionnaire titled: Analysis/Evaluation of students’ performance in economics and other related, was constructed and personally administered by the researcher. Responses to the research instrument were coded and scored by the researcher to ensure correctness. Data analysis was however done using mean item score tool (MIS). Proper recommendations were made to government and educational planners to have at the back of their mind when planning economics curriculum, the importance of factors such as the availability of physical facilities, parental control and discipline, students’ interest as well as the competency level of teachers, as they will go a long way either to make or mar the performance of students.
1.1BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Economics as a Social Science subject in the Nigerian Secondary school curriculum occupies a pride of place. Although the much emphasis laid on Mathematics and English language has made these subjects very important, Economics and other related subjects have also gained a lot of popularity, especially among secondary school leavers seeking admission to higher institution of learning where there are very few spaces for the very many candidates sitting for the various annual entrance examinations.
Generally, tertiary institutions nowadays places their requirements as credit passes in Mathematics and English language and any other three of Economics, Commerce, Account, Government and/or Geography for students seeking admission into faculty of Social Science or Management Sciences. This fact therefore, places a lot of importance on Economics and other related subjects. It should however be noted that the level of achievement in these subjects areas largely depends on availability of physical school facilities as well as materials such as textbooks, parental discipline and control, the level of interest shown by the students, the level of competency on the path of the teachers, school location and type, among other things. Since the average Nigerian child does not get formal education until age six, it is expected that his/her behaviour and attitude should be patterned by the socialization received from home; this is where parental influence affects the academic performance of the child. The child’s level of interest in subject increases when he/she has been prepared towards the challenges and with the help of competent teachers who are already on ground to continue from where the parents stopped as well as the availability of teaching materials, the student is expected to excel, not only in Economics but in all other subjects.
From the limited evidence available, Henderson and Map (2002) draw convincing conclusion as to the qualities of successful school effort to engage families. These qualities (such as building a foundation of trust and respect, correcting parent-engagement strategies to learning objectives in Economics and reaching out to engage parents beyond the schools) are found in schools where parental involvement is measurably high. Swap (1993) concluded that effective parental engagement must be comprehensive in nature, with the schools consistently interacting with parents at many venues, over the course of the schooling years.
Adeyemi (2000) noted that the level of students in subjects such as Economics is perhaps the most important factor to success in the WASSC examination. He went further to say that if a child develops interest in Economics from the first senior secondary class, i.e. S.S.1 where the rudiments of the subject is taught, such a child would have gotten a good grasp of the subject matter and as such will excel at WASSCE level. Adeyemi also stated that the other factors such as the teacher’s level of competency in Economics, availability of facilities and teaching materials also have great roles to play.
The factors stated above all have positive and/or negative effects on the child’s performance when he/she sits for the final West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in Economics. Owing to the awareness and attraction the WASSCE has drawn coupled with the fact that economics and other related subjects cannot be over-looked, it therefore becomes significant to evaluate and analyze the effects of these militating factors to the outcome of students’ performance in WASSCE 2011 Economics. Irrespective of the natural ability of a child in subjects related to calculation which is seen to positively give rise to good grades in Economics and related subjects, parental influence, availability of school facilities, teaching and learning materials (textbooks) all have significant influence in shaping the overall performance of the child as far as WASSCE Economics is concerned.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Researchers have observed a downward trend in academic performance of senior secondary school students particularly in economics with reasons not far-fetched.
1. Improper teaching aids as well as inadequate teaching materials as provided by the government of many state schools.
2. Poor parental influence which does not encourage the child to want to give in his/her best to improve academic performance.
3. Inadequate/ poor physical facilities in schools as a major factor to the decrease in grades of students.
4. The problem of incompetent, inexperienced and unqualified teaching staff.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The academic performance of students in Economics and other related subjects is of great concern to the parents, teachers, educational administrators and the government as a whole. The purposes of this study therefore consist of the following;
· To examine the relationship between students’ academic achievements and some of the militating factors such as non-availability of teaching materials, parental control and discipline as well as students’ interest and teachers’ competency.
· To evaluate and analyze the performance of students, not just in Economics, but in other related subjects in WASSCE 2011.
· To make recommendations, where necessary, on the impact of non-availability of proper teaching aids, poor parental control and discipline as well as students’ interest and teachers’ competency on the academic performance of students in economic.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study is designed to investigate the following questions:
1. How will the non-availability of proper teaching aids such as textbooks as well as other physical facilities affect the performance of students in economics in WASCCE 2011?
2. How will proper parental discipline and control as well as students’ interest affect the performance of students in economics in WASCCE 2011?
3. How will the employment of competent hands by schools affect students’ performance in economics
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following null hypothesis will serve as guide in the course of the study:
Ho1: There is no significant relationship between the availability or non-availability of proper teaching aids such as textbooks and other physical facilities and good performance in economics in WASCCE 2011.
Ho2: There is no significant relationship between parental discipline and control as well as increased students’ interest and good performance in Economics in WASCCE 2011.
Ho3: There will be no significant relationship between improved performance in WASCCE 2011 and employment of competent teachers.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research project is aimed at analyzing and evaluating the performance of students in the WASCCE 2011 Economics and other related subjects in Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos State. Hence, the study will be of immense benefit to researchers, teachers, counselors, government and parents on how to help students improve on their academic performance particularly in Economics in the following ways:
1. It examines the roles that should be played by the government, school administrator, teachers as well as the family on how best to help the student achieve better grades in Economics and other related subjects
2. It will help parents to know the level of their child/ward’s performance vis-à-vis their influence
3. The study will finally broaden the knowledge of students on the importance of improved academic performance
4. The study will further enlighten analysts on the importance of economics as a tool for analyzing basic economic problems of the society.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to some secondary schools in Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos State. The schools are;
· Aje Comprehensive High School, Sabo-Yaba.
· Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Senior Secondary School, Yaba.
· Birrel Avenue High School, Sabo-Yaba, Lagos.
· Onike Girls’ High School, Onike, Yaba.
· Western College, Yaba.
1.8 EXPECTED CONTRIBUTION TO KNOWLEDGE
The research will, among other things, make the following contributions to knowledge: -
1. It will serve as encouragement for students to strive hard so as to achieve better grades in Economics and other related subjects in WASSCE.
2. The project will help educational administrators to begin to look for ways of helping students achieve better grades, not just in mathematics and English language alone, but in subjects like Economics, commerce e.t.c.
3. For teachers, the research work will encourage them to want to go for further teacher training courses which will help improve their abilities and build up new and effective teaching styles.
4. Finally, the research will serve as a reference text for authors intending to embark on research work of this nature in future.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms are operationally defined for the purpose of this research;
Academic Performance: This research considers academic performance as the performance of the students in Economics in their continuous assessment as well as in S.S.C.E.
Result: In this research, results refer to the outcome of students’ performance in S.S.C.E examination.
Evaluation: To form an opinion of the quality level of success in the S.S.C.E in economics after carefully analyzing it.
Analysis: This research defines analysis as a detailed study of the S.S.C.E examination in economic to understand it better.
WAEC: An acronym for West African Examination Council.
WASSCE: An abbreviation for West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, an examination organized by WAEC.
SSCE: An acronym for Senior Secondary Certificate Examination
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