THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT AND STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY, IN SELECTED SCHOOLS

THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT AND STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY,
IN SELECTED SCHOOLS IN EKITI SOUTH WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA IN  EKITI STATE
CHAPTER
ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to
the Study
Examinations
and assessment 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 pre-determined 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 certification, placement and selection decision about them.
However, such an Assessment according to national policy on education (2004) 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 for example, those 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 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, a 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 (C.A) is considered to be a
systematic determination of the extent of students’ progressor lack of it in
school subjects including 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, Houston in
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 has the following
objectives outlined by the Federal Ministry of Education (NERDC)2005.
          National curriculum, the objective
include
1. Adequate
laboratory and field skill in Biology.
2. Meaningful
and relevant knowledge in Biology
3. Ability to
apply scientific knowledge to everybody life in matter of personal and
community health and Agriculture.
4. 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 a thing 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. Thus
it is explained that students achievements should be measured by classroom
tests (Continuous Assessment) and senior secondary school certificate Examination.
The author stated further that they (test & SSCE) are clear indicators of
performance in any subject.
          Okpala (2012) said that previous
studies showed that student’s performance in science is rather very low. This
abysmal performance of students in senior secondary school certificate
examination according to Adeola, Bolarinwa and Olafere (2012), has been a
source of concern to government, parent, 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 of
Ekiti south west 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 this 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)
scores 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 Ekiti South
west Local Government area of Ekiti state, it is necessary to find out the
relationship between Continuous Assessment and students performance in SSCE
Biology.
1.1     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 & NECOCE). 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 Ekiti South West 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).
          Another serious concern is that the graduated
students could not get admission into their desired selected courses in Nigeria
Universities. There by becoming frustrated. Parents and ministry of education
blamed the teachers for their lack of competence in the areas of effective
teaching of Biology. There may be many reasons for this inconsistency and
indirect relationship of scores in both examinations. Many people have given
reasons which cannot be supported empathically though they seemed reasonable.
Such
reasons are: Setting sampler or one word question by Biology teachers unlike
senior secondary certificate examination question that require deep thinking’s
and applications, manipulation or inflation of marks by school record officers,
relaxation in reading for SSCE after Continuous Assessment tests students
reading the topics taught in class for continuous assessment while they cannot
cover the topics outlined in the curriculum for SSCE before the time of
commencement of SSCE examinations, teacher teaching methods knowledge of the
subject matter and the disposition of the teacher towards is teaching
profession.
The
researchers was motivated by the concerns of parents in ministry of education
and 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 Ekiti
South West Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
1.2     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 Ekiti South West Local
Government of Ekiti State.
Specifically
the subject will seek to:
(1) Determine
the performance level of the students SSCE continuous assessment in Biology
(2)      
Determine the performance level of students in SSCE
(WAEC) in Biology.
(3)      
Find out the relationship between the performance of
Continuous Assessment and SSCE Biology in Ekiti South West Local Government
Area of Ekiti State.
1.3     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 and SSCE (WAEC) Biology. The commission could use the information to
organize a seminar 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.
The
principals could also organize a 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 the areas of weakness they would be encourage to work and in
order to have better grades in Biology and to maintain consistency in their
Continuous Assessment and SSCE (WAEC) scores.
1.4     Research Questions
The
study will answer the following research questions:
(1)      
What is the level of performance of student in
Continuous Assessment Biology?
(2)      
What is the level of performance of student in SSCE (WAEC)
Biology?
(3)      
Find out the relationship between the performance of
students in Continuous Assessment and SSCE Biology in Ekiti South West Local
Government Area of Ekiti State
1.5     Hypotheses
The
following hypotheses is formulated and will be tested at P<0.05 Level of
significant and relevant degrees of freedom.
HO1. There is no
significant difference in the mean ratings of the responses of Male and Female
Biology student in Continuous Assessment.
HO2. There is no
significant difference in the mean ratings of the responses of Male and Female
Biology student in SSCE(WAEC)
1.6     Delimitation or 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 Ekiti South West 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.
  
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