Relationship between continuous assessment and student performance in SSCE Biology
Background to the Study
Examinations and assessments are an integral component of our educational structure. They are conducted both formally and informally, at practically all levels of education and serve a variety of different functions. In the narrow sense, examinations and assessments may be thought of as having predominantly educational purposes. They may be used in order to:- Assess students’ attainment at the end of a course or study Programme, evaluate diagnostically students’ academic achievement, progressand/or learning difficulties, Evaluate students’ aptitude, and possibly for the purpose of assigning them to different courses or teaching set.
The national policy on education (2004) defined Continuous assessment as a mechanism whereby the final grading of a student in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain takes account, in a systematic way of all is performances, during a given period of schooling.
Osuncem (2008) explain that Continuous Assessment is a system of assessment which take into account the total experience and achievement of students throughout their school carrier. Okpala, Onacha and Oyedeji. (1999) stated that Continuous assessment is a system of assessment which is carried out at a period of interval for the purpose of monitoring and improving the overall performance of students and of the teaching – learning environment. Continuous Assessment of student ensures assessment of their overall abilities and provides the basis for making appropriate educational attainment, placement and selection decision about them. However, such an Assessment according to National policy on education (2004) it involves the use of great variety of instruments.
In the context of this study, Continuous Assessment is a system of assessment which is carried out in Biology at pre-determines intervals for the purpose of monitoring and improving the overall performance of students.
The performance level of students in senior secondary schools in Continuous Assessment and SSCE (WAEC) are based on different grades. The pattern of grading in Nigeria SSCE is such that distinction grade is been represented by A, credit grade is represented by C4 and C6 the ordinary pass is represented by D7 and E8 while failure represented by F9. Adeyemi (2010) mention that is only the grades of distinction and credit that are required for Nigeria University Admission and candidate must have at least credit in five subjects in a related area including English language in order to qualify for admission. (JAMB) 2007.
Most of the examinations and assessments regularly conducted by teachers and schools on an ‘internal’ basis tend to fulfill one or more of these educational functions. Other examinations conducted ‘externally’ by the recognized examining boards and certain professional associations, likewise have a primary educational purpose: to assess the attainment of a student at the end of a course of study. The primary assignment of any school is to ensure effective teaching and learning of which assessment and examination in a form of evaluation, plays a significant role especially in decision making about school programme (Ijaya, 2002). Assessment in education in general is essential and is an on going process. It is the basis for all educational activities. Assessment information is a vital tool in the hands of the professional teacher. It directs guides and protects both the teacher and the learner at every stage of academics (Okwudire, 2005).
Continuous Assessment process is an important component of the National Policy on Education (FME, 2004). This system of assessment and evaluation is an innovation in the Nigerian educational system which has its genesis from the first national curriculum conference held in Ibadan in 1969. The outcome of that historic conference were published. High powered committee consisting of educationist, university academics, civil servants, industrialist and intellectuals from various works of
life was set up to study the report in depth and present recommendations based on its formulation into a new National Policy on Education (FME, 1977). Continuous assessment is considered to be a systematic determination of the extent of students’ progress part of it in school subjects includes attitude and values from first day of students in school to the last day (Abadina, 2001). According to Okoro (2002), continuous assessment is a system of evaluation in which students are given a large number of tests at regular intervals rather than a single final examination at the end of the course.
Continuous assessment is very important in all educational level in Nigeria. Ogar (2007) opined that through continuous assessment, progress of each student can be measured and monitored and appropriate counselling method can be put in place as the case may demand.
The National Policy on Education laid strong emphasis on the use of continuous assessment practice at the various levels of Nigeria educational system. Assessment is very important in teaching and learning process; through assessment feedback could be provided to both students and teachers (Dennis, 1988). We have both formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment is done during the course as the teaching and learning is in progress; this is called continuous assessment. The summative is done when the course is ended, this assessment is conducted at the end of the term or semester as the case may be. The two are important in biology assessment. According to Aladenusi (2010) assessment is a central element in the overall quality of teaching and learning.
Osokoya (2003) viewed continuous assessment as the method of finding out what the students have gained from learning activities. Assessment is an important element in biology teaching, Aina (2010) opines that teacher must regularly assess the effectiveness of the learning experiences which they have organized to enable the students achieve the earlier stated objectives. Abbas (2009) said ordinary continuous assessment is an ongoing test device which is comprehensive and include the three domains of learning. Continuous assessment must include project, internet assignment, use of community resources and many more; continuous assessments must not only be single assignment as it is being done by some teachers.
Biology is a core science subject and it is all encompassing as all other science related subjects are embedded in the subject. Biology which is the study of life is dynamic Aluko (2012) stated that Biological knowledge is dynamic which implies that sciences instructional practices of teachers should also be dynamic
Biology as an important subject in Nigerian senior secondary schools. National curriculum. The objective include
- Adequate laboratory and field skill in Biology.
- Meaningful and relevant knowledge in Biology
- Ability to apply scientific knowledge to everybody life in matter of personal and community health and Agriculture.
- Reasonable and Functional Scientific attitude. To achieve the above objectives, student are to be well grounded in the knowledge and skills in Biology.
Pearse (2002) defined performance as an action that is brought about or accomplished by effort, skill or courage.
The level of knowledge attained connotes performance in a school subject as symbolized by a score or grade on an achievement test. Lewis (1995) also stated that student performance connote the level of knowledge, skill or accomplishment in an area of Endeavour.
Okpala (2012) said that previous studies showed that student’s performance in science is rather very low. This performance of students in senior secondary school certificate examination according to Adeola, Bolarinwa and Olafere (2012), has been a source of concern to government, parents, examination bodies, Teachers and Researchers. Such performance, Athson (2007) contended is dependent upon several factors among which are; instructional method the learning environment and the learner. Moemeke and Efed.(2010), asserted that excuses ranging from inadequate equipment and facilities, poor teacher pedagogical content knowledge, low job motivation, examination cantered evaluation and a host of others have been given as reasons for students poor performance in continuous Assessment and senior secondary school certificate examinations.
High academic performance is an indication of the attainment expected of senior secondary school student in Ado Local Government but unfortunately, it is observed by the researcher that the performance of the student in (SSCE, WEAC) is poor and does not show a direct relationship with the Continuous Assessment conducted in secondary schools in Ado Local Government. The performance shows that there is no consistence in the Continuous Assessment scores and the SSCE(WEAC). Whereas the continuous Assessment scores are high or at least fair, the SSC E (WEAC) score is low and poor. The result for this poor performance in external examination (SSCE/WAEC) could be attributing to so many factors which had earlier been stated by some researchers. In order to improve this situation, a lot of factors have to come to play in areas of senior secondary school examination (WAEC) and continuous assessment
In order to assist the students, teachers should improve the teaching learning situation for better and consistence performance of student in senior secondary schools in Ado Local Government area of Ekiti state, it is necessary to find out the relationship between Continuous Assessment and students performance in SSCE Biology.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The academic performance of student in senior secondary school in both continuous assessments (internal) and senior secondary certificate Examination (external examination) depends on many factors such as the teachers, the teaching method, learning environment, inadequate equipment, Low job motivation and examination centered evaluation.
Quality education is evidenced by the performance of schools in external examination. Teachers of biology have the sole responsibility of making sure that they teach the student towards high academic performance and achievement in the performance of student in external examination (WAEC & NECO). The poor performance in external examination as been a major educational concern for the state government, ministry of education, parent and the subject teachers
It has been observed from the interaction of the researcher with some of the principles and record officers in the public secondary schools in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State that the performance of student in Continuous Assessment is always high while the performance is poor or low in external examinations. This showed that there is no direct relationship in the marks score by students in Continuous Assessment and external examinations Biology. Also the performance showed that there is no consistency of scores in continuous assessment and external examinations (SSCE/WAEC).
The researchers was motivated by the concerns of parents in ministry of education on the low performance in senior secondary school certificate examination as against the high performance in continuous assessment and therefore embark on this study to find out the relationship between continuous assessment and student performance in Biology in selected public secondary school in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of the study is to determine the relationship between continuous assessment and student performance in SSCE Biology in Ado Local Government of Ekiti State.
Specifically the subject will seek to:
- Determine the performance level of the students in SSCE continuous assessment in Biology
- Find out the relationship between the performance of Continuous Assessment and SSCE Biology in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
- Find out the problems confronting the effective implementation of continuous assessment in secondary schools
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study will be of benefit to teaching service commission of Ekiti State, Principals of secondary schools, teacher and students of Biology in Ekiti State. The study will provide information to the teaching services commission of Ekiti State about the relationship between the Continuous assessment in Biology. The commission could use the information to organize a seminars for Biology teachers for re-tanning in areas where they are deficiency.
The findings of the study will provide information to the secondary school principals in Ekiti State about area of teaching Biology where their teacher needs more orientations and where student need motivation. This could help them to encourage their teacher to attend seminars, workshop and long vacation courses for building their capacity
School principals could also organize lecture time for students to encourage them for their performance in future.
The study will provide beneficial information to Biology teachers in Ekiti State. This information will help them to seek for avenues to improve their knowledge in the subject by looking for study leave with pay approval sponsor in order to go for retraining.
The findings of the study will be of benefit to Biology students in Ekiti State. When they discover their areas of weakness they would be encouraged to work and in order to have better grades in Biology and to maintain consistency in their Continuous Assessment and SSCE (WAEC) scores.
The study will answer the following research questions:
- What is the level of performance of student in Continuous Assessment Biology?
- Find out the relationship between the performance of students in Continuous Assessment and SSCE Biology in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State
- What are the major problem confronting the effective implementation of continuous assessment
Scope of the Study
The study is restricted to the relationship between Continuous Assessment and student performance in SSCE Biology. It covered the public secondary schools in Ado Local Government Area. Also the study will look into the immediate past of Continuous Assessment and Senior Secondary School Certificate (WAEC) in Biology for comparison.
Information will be collected from the principals in public secondary schools, school record officers and (registrars) and the Biology teacher for senior secondary schools.