CAUSES OF POOR PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE
This research work sets out to investigate Poor Performance of Students in English Language in NECO Examination among selected secondary schools in Awka Urban. Stake holders have continued to trade blames on the students, teachers, parents, government, even NECO itself on the poor performance of students in English language. It is against this background that this study investigates the factors responsible for the poor performance of students in English Language in NECO examination from the perspectives of the students and teachers who appear to have the lion share of the blame.
In order to conduct the study, a descriptive survey research design was adopted, using questionnaire as the major instrument for collection exercise. Tables and Percentages were used for data presentation thereby enabling for easy discussion and interpretation.
At the end of the data gathering exercises, the study revealed that, although the government, parents, the school have their own share of the blame; the students had the lion share of the blame followed by the teachers.
Thus, the study concluded that un-seriousness among students viz- a viz the over bearing influence of the social media go a long way in affecting their performances in English Language in NECO Examination.
Finally, appropriate recommendations are put forward for solving the present situations as revealed by the study.
For proper understanding of this work, this chapter looked at the following:
Background of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Significance of the Study
Purpose of the study
Scope of Work
Background to the Study
Nigeria is a multi – lingua as well as a multi – ethnic group. Hence, her multi- lingua and multi – ethnic stratification favour the adaptation of English as the official language and so is employed as inter and intra national language in the country. English language is an important core subject in the school curriculum and a channel of international acceptability to Nigerians. Akin- amide, (2012) notes that English is being used at all levels of education in the country. The focus of this work, then, is the secondary school level and specifically the factors affecting the performance of Senior Secondary School Students in English Language in NECO Examination in Awka urban, Anambra State, Nigeria.
Atanda and Jaijeoba, (2011) emphasize the importance of English in Secondary School curriculum pointing out that English Language plays a central and strategic role in the school system because almost all the school subjects are taught using English Language. The place of English Language and its objectives as revealed in the secondary school curriculum cannot be substituted.
The Outcries on the incessant failure of students in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE), West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCE) and National Examination Council (NECO) have been on the increase over the last two decades Judith, (2014.)
The persistent poor performance of secondary school students in public examinations such as NECO in the recent times has made the development of secondary education in the nation a difficult task, Adepoju, (2011).
Ajayi, (2012) further elaborates that the situation is so pathetic that stakeholders keep on wondering why this level of education has persistently failed to meet the yearnings and aspiration of the society. The mass failure of students in public examination constitutes wastage on investment in secondary education; it puts a big question mark on the quality of secondary education in the country.
The bedrock of the nation’s educational system has always been the secondary school students. Supporting the notion, Joshua, (2004) who believes that, ‘secondary education is the pivot around which the development of the nation’s economy revolves. It is the engine room that provides the nation’s economy and higher (tertiary) education production systems.’ In fact, the high percentage of candidates who failed NECO yearly is reflected in the low percentage of the candidates that meet the university admission requirements.
Each time the results of students in NECO and other external examinations are released, it has been a tale of woes and national embarrassment.
Various captions in the National dailies point toward mass failure of students. Some of these captions include:
“ 79% fail English Language as NECO releases SSCE,’ ‘NECO records mass failure in June/July SSCE,’ Mass failure in both the WASSCE and SSCE,’ mass failure in public examinations; a national disaster.”
Ajayi, (2012) contends that ‘in the past five years, most of the students who sat for SSCE each year did not have credit passes in at least five subjects including English Language and Mathematics. The situation is getting worst every year,’ he concludes.
It was indeed a national woe when in 2009, NECO released its November/December SSCE result showing that only 1.8% passed with five credits and above in English.
Statement of the Problem
That students fail NECO examination particularly in English Language is an indisputable fact. Stakeholders have continued to trade blame on the causes of mass failure of students in NECO examination especially in English Language. Some people shifted the blame on government, some on parents, some on the 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 in English Language in NECO examination will persist, the fact remains that all the stakeholders have roles to play in solving the problem of abysmal failure of students in English Language in NECO examination. However, 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 investigates the factors responsible for the poor performance of students in English Language in NECO examination from the perspectives of the teachers and students who appear to have the lion share of the blame
Purpose of the Study.
In line with the above, the purpose of this study is to find out the factors responsible for poor performance of students in English Language in NECO examination.
The specific objectives of the study include:
1. To know the trend of performance of the students in English Language in NECO examination.
2. To determine who is responsible for the poor performance of the students in English Language in NECO examination.
3. To examine the factors responsible for students poor performance in English Language in NECO examination.
Significance of the Study
One of the major challenges facing the educational system in Nigeria is the abysmal failure of students in public examinations. To this end, this study becomes relevance as it will unveil to education stakeholders in Awka urban the trend of students’ performance in English Language in NECO examination. This will enable such stakeholders to device legitimate means on how to tackle poor performance and re-enforce better performance of students in external examination.
Furthermore, various research works keep shifting blame on who is responsible for student’s poor performance. This study will narrow down on Awka urban on who is actually responsible for poor performance of students in external examination considering the fact that a university community is sited within the community. This work will add to the body of knowledge on who is responsible for poor performance of students in NECO examination in English Language.
The result and recommendations of this work will be of immense benefits to policy makers and stakeholders in education matters in Awka urban, as their eyes will be opened to some of the hitherto neglected factors for poor performance of students in English Language in NECO examination.
The teachers themselves will equally benefit from this study as their eyes will be opened to their neglected responsibility of imparting qualitative education on the students. Furthermore, they will also know that the blame is not only theirs, the students are part of the blame, hence all hand will be on deck to ensuring that best form of education and examination techniques are employed by the teachers, the result will be improved students’ performance in English language in NECO examination
This study will be of immense help to the students as they will realize that they have part to play in edging a good future for themselves. This can only be achieved if they have an attitudinal change to some of their negative attitudes to examination
The Scope of the Study
This study covers secondary schools within Awka urban. This becomes necessary as the researcher lives within the urban city. This will facilitate data gathering.
The time frame for the work is a period of seven (7) consecutive years of NECO examination between 2009 – 2015.
This study painstakingly examines the factors responsible for poor performance of students in English Language in selected secondary schools within Awka urban between 2009 and 2015.
This work is however limited by time frame and finance. Work of this magnitude should have looked at all the secondary schools in Awka South Local Government Area. This work is nevertheless limited to Awka urban so as to enable the researcher to be focused and this, hopefully, will yield expected
In other to achieve the objective of the study, the following research questions were raised to guide the study.
1. What is the trend of students’ performance in English Language in NECO examination?
2. Who do you think is responsible for poor performance of students in English Language in NECO examination?
3. What are the factors responsible for poor performance of students in English Language in NECO?.