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A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN WAEC AND NECO CHEMISTRY
This study presents the findings of the relationship between students’ achievement in Chemistry conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO) in four selected secondary schools in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria. The analysis showed that there is significant positive relationship between chemistry in all the selected schools contrary to the hypothesis that says there is no relationship in WAEC and NECO chemistry results in the schools. It is therefore recommended that students should develop more interest in sitting for either of the two examinations since they produce equivalent results.
1.1 Background of the Study
Scientists and researchers like Oyekan (1999) saw science and technology as basic tools for industrial and national development. These if properly harnessed could bring about economic and social happiness by providing and improving the welfare of the citizenry. Consequently, the teaching and learning of science has become a great concern to scientists and researchers.
As people think about the teaching and learning of science in our schools, the picture of the state of Science and Technology in a country like Nigeria becomes glaring. This was expressed in the annual conference proceedings of Science Teachers Associations of Nigeria (STAN) in 1998 on the theme “winning more students for Science and Technology”. This theme came as a result of poor performance by students in science examinations. This poor performance often resulted in poor enrolment of students in science at the secondary and tertiary institutions.
The poor performance of students could be attributed to a number of reasons including poor participation of students and poor level of exposure in the practical aspect of science especially Chemistry. Agbo and Mankilik (1999) quoted the then Minister of Education in Nigeria as saying that the performance of students in the sciences was not encouraging in spite of the huge amount of money expended on the purchase of science materials and equipment. Dajili (2001) also expressed his concern about the poor performance of students in science examinations. This concern arose from the increasing realization that the nation could not develop as rapidly as she aspired to without adequate tools of scientific and technological man power at all levels in her working populace. He (Dajili, 2001) maintained that the state of science at the secondary school level was very important. This is because the performance at this level determines the quality and quantity of intake into the tertiary institutions in the country. This is why the performance in science examinations at this level as observed by Agbo and Mankilik (1999) and Dajile (2001) should be investigated.
The natural sciences (Biology, Physics and Chemistry) have two components, the theory and the practical aspects which make the teaching and learning of science real. Over the years report shows that candidates do not perform well in practical aspect. Ministry of Education (2001) and WAEC Chief Examiner‟s Report (2002) attributed the poor performance especially in practical aspect of Chemistry to their non-familiarity with the use of simple laboratory equipment, imprecise statement, spelling errors, inadequate exposure to laboratory techniques, lack of observational skills, inability to determine mole ratio from stoichiometric equations, omission of units in calculated values, inability to write symbols properly and assign correct charges to ions, among others. In the theory paper, poor performance of students was also attributed to a number of reasons which include their inability to represent simple reaction by balanced equations, violation of the convention for IUPAC nomenclature, tendency to crowd their answers together, poor spellings, definitions and diagram, non-familiarity with some contents of the syllabus, lack of depth and precision in the responses to essay questions, inadequate understanding of the fundamental principles in Chemistry, inability to distinguish between physical and chemical properties and incompetence in basic Mathematics and other factors that affect students’ performance in Chemistry.
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) for a number of decades has been the only examination body in this country especially for ordinary level examinations. A lot of concerns have been expressed by large number of concerned citizens on students’ failure especially in mathematics and English language. In the year 2000, the Federal Government of Nigeria came up with another examination board referred to as “National Examination Council” (NECO). Is this new body efficient in its work? What about students’ performance if compared with that of WAEC? Is there any relationship between WASSC Emathematics results and NECO mathematics results? These are some of the questions that shall beans wered during the course of this research.
This study presents the findings of a study of the relationship between students’ achievement in Chemistry conducted by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and the one by the National Examination council (NECO), in selected secondary schools in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State. It is a fundamental statement nowadays that we are in the age of science and technology and Nigeria has also imbibed the idea. The school curricula thus lay emphasis on science subjects of which chemistry takes a higher rank. (Amini, 1997)
The suggestions and recommendations in this study will go a long way in determining which examination body should be preferred by the schools or students based on the results of the analysis.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
Recently, there has been a lot of mounting public criticism on the fallen standard of education in the media and public places even though there has not been available or little data to back up this statement. There has also been criticism against NECO. Some even say their questions are tough than those of WAEC. Some universities who once rejected NECO results now accept it. Many private owned secondary schools now register their students for NECO. One of the reasons could be that WAEC and NECO have the same syllabus and each of them has a regulatory body. So, their results should be equivalent.
The importance of chemistry in studying science has long been recognized world-wide. Now that there are two major examination bodies, is there any relationship between students achievement in both examinations with respect to chemistry? If there is, how strong or weak is it?
1.3 Purpose of the study
The general purpose of the study is to identify the relationship between students’ achievement in Chemistry conducted by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and the one by the National Examination council (NECO), in selected secondary schools in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State. Specifically this study sought to:
(i) to find if boys performance in chemistry is not better than the girls
(ii) find the influence of school location on students’ performance in chemistry
(iii) find if there is a positive and high correlation between students’ performance in chemistry and mathematics.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is as follow:
1. To investigate the possible reasons for the poor performance of students doing Chemistry in NECO and WAEC
2. To make recommendation for improved performance in Chemistry in both NECO and WAEC
3. To the teachers, not only Chemistry teachers, who for variety of reasons, are and should be the pivot point for change since the education of future generation is entrusted to them
4. To help research students and teachers of this subjects who probably are writing on the subject matter.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research question were raised in the study
(i) Does gender influence students’ performance in chemistry?
(ii) Will school nature influence students’ performance in chemistry?
(iii) Will school location influence students’ performance in chemistry?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated in this study:
H0: There is no significant relationship between WAEC and NECO Chemistry results.
H1: There is significant relationship between WAEC and NECO Chemistry results.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The present study is to cover four randomly selected senior secondary schools in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State.The Scope of data spans through the period 2009 – 2013.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
The time for this study was short and therefore just a few schools were used for this research.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
WAEC: The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is a type ofstandardized test in West Africa. It is administered by the West African Examinations Council. It is only offered to candidates residing in Anglophone West African countries.
NECO: National Examinations Council which was the promulgation of a decree, in April 1999 by Abdulsalami Abubakar military administration.
Comparative Study: Cross-cultural studies, sometimes called holocultural studies or comparative studies, is a specialization in anthropology and sister sciences that uses field data from many societies to examine the scope of human behavior and test hypotheses about human behavior and culture
Chemistry: the branch of science concerned with the substances of which matter is composed, the investigation of their properties and reactions, and the use of such reactions to form new substances.
Results: a thing that is caused or produced by something else; a consequence or outcome. An item of information obtained by experiment or some other scientific method; a quantity or formula obtained by calculation.
Performance: The accomplishment of a given task measured against present known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost and speed. In. a contrast, performance is deemed to be the fulfillment of an obligation, in a manner that releases the performer from all liabilities under the contrast.
Student: A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term (or its cognate in another language) is reserved for those who attenduniversity, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English (or an equivalent in other languages).
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