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FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH MASS FAILURE OF STUDENTS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background of the Study
Educators have adopted examination as one of the methods of determining students’ level of cognition with a view to ascertain whether they have mastered what they have been taught. Odongo (2006) asserts that examinations serve as part of human culture readily available to assess the effects of teaching and learning, to distinguish and select talented people. Onuka and Durowoju (2011) affirm that examination is most often used for promotion, award or certification. As a result of these benefits among others, for accurate measurement of candidates’ performances, examinations must be reliable and valid.
One of the major problems facing the educational system in Nigeria is the abysmal failure of students in public computer science, particularly at the secondary level of education. According to Uduh (2009), the high percentage of candidates who failed WASSCE yearly is reflected in the low percentage of the candidates that meets the university admission requirements. The situation is so pathetic that stakeholders keep on wondering why this level of education has persistently failed to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the society. Apart from the fact that the mass failure of students in computer science constitutes wastage on investment in secondary education, it puts a big question mark on the quality of secondary education in the country. Each time the results of students in Senior school Certificate Examination (SSCE) are released, it has been a tale of woes and national embarrassment.
Concerns for high rate of failure in public examination in Nigeria dates back to a number of decades. Ojaleye (2000) and Bojuwoye (2000) revealed that researchers have attempted to identify factors responsible for the high rates of failure among others, students’ negative attitude to the subject, lack of qualified teachers, inadequacy of teachers, lack of necessary learning skills, specialised language of the subject and inadequate and unsuitable textbooks. In view of this, students were seen as the main focus of most research work. They became subjects of diagnoses aimed at discovering the “appropriate treatment of learning outcomes” (Ojaleye 2000:95).
Stakeholders have continued to trade blames on the causes of mass failure of students in public examinations. Some people shifted the blame on government, some on parents, some on society and students themselves with the teachers having lion share of the blame. As accusations and counter-accusations on who to blame on the mass failure of students will persist, the fact remains that all the stakeholders have roles to play in solving the problem of abysmal failure of students in public examinations. Nevertheless, there is need to identify the major causes of the problem with a view to providing lasting solutions. It is against this backdrop that this study investigated the factors associated with mass failure of students in computer science in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Observations and reports from examining bodies like WAEC, NECO and JAMB revealed that a high percentage of secondary school students continue to perform poorly in computer science examinations. Despite the laudable efforts at developing an acceptable general computer science curriculum students’ performance in the subject appears to be declining over the years.
This sad situation is aptly described by Adeniyi (2008) who rightly observes, that one’s involvement in the marking of computer science for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is enough to get anyone sorrowful at the state of computer science in Nigeria secondary schools. Some candidates submit their answer scripts without writing anything in them. Some candidates merely recopy the questions, while a high percentage of those who try to write anything at all score below 40%. The question that readily comes to mind is; what are the factors associated with the students’ mass failure in computer science in secondary school examination? This study will therefore take a survey of the factors associated with mass failure of students in computer science in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors associated with mass failure of students in computer science in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State. Specifically, the study will focus on the following:
Factors responsible for mass failure in computer science
Teachers’ qualification/experience and students’ performance in computer science
Teachers/students ratio and mass failure of students in computer science
Use of instructional materials and students’ performance in computer science
1.4 Research Questions
What are the factors responsible for mass failure in computer science?
Does teachers’ qualification/experience affect students’ performance in computer science?
Is teachers/students ratio responsible for mass failure of students in computer science?
Does the use of instructional materials have any effect on the students’ performance in computer science?
There is no significance relationship on the factors responsible for mass failure of students’ performance in computer science
There is no significant relationship between teachers’ qualification/experience and students’ performance in computer science
There is no significant relationship between teachers/students ratio and mass failure of students’ in computer science
There is no significant relationship between the use of instructional materials and students’ performance in computer science
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will be of tremendous benefit to the students, parents, teachers, school administrators and educational policy makers.
The study will benefit the students in such a way that they will understand the reasons behind their failures in computer science examination and possible ways they can help themselves in order to improve their performance.
The study will also help the parents since they will be exposed to the factors associated with mass failure of their children and how they can help the children outside the school system by providing study materials and conducive environment for learning.
Teachers will equally benefit from this study being that they will be exposed to the reasons behind the poor performance of the students in computer science and the possible ways they can assist the students to improve their performance.
Furthermore, the study will benefit school administrators since they will understand areas to improve on in order to enhance the performance of the students especially in the areas of provision of instructional materials which will facilitate teaching/learning process.
Lastly, the study will help educational policy makers to know areas to focus on when making educational policies.
1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The scope of this study will focus on the factors associated with mass failure of students in computer science. The study is limited to five (5) out of the twenty-six (26) public schools in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Factors: A constituent or element that brings about certain effects or results
Associated: To connect or involve with a cause
Mass Failure: The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends which involve a large number of students
Secondary school students: These are individuals studying in a school meant for young people between the ages of 11 to 16 years.
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