FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENTS’ POOR PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION
Background of the Study
Knowledge is endless thing and teachers are among the important instrument required for the impacting of this knowledge to be acquired by the students. Many nations of the world including Nigeria have continued to invest heavily on education since knowledge is acquired through education.
The key role of a teacher is to teach, which can be understood as meaning to facilitate learning of some target curriculum. Teaching is therefore intimately tied to notions of learning, and there is a sense that if students do not learn, then whatever the teacher is doing does not deserve the label of ‘teaching’(Phelps 2009).
In the words of Awoyete (2014) Education is a weapon for combating ignorance, poverty and disease. It is a bride between confusion and comprehension. It is always dam for conserving man’s store ofcivilizationand a rocket for transporting man from intellectual subservience and sovereignty.
Nigeria on her part adopted economics as an instrument for excellent communication which promotesNational development. Thus it becomes imperative that these important ingredient for development of man. Man should plan and implement in way that ensures optimum output.
This concern has given rise to many concepts relating to the position outcome of the performance of students in teaching and learning of economics, such as teacher’s effectiveness, students’ seriousness to learning and parental interests to the educational development of the children in effect technique of teaching and learning especially in Enugu North.
Education in the wider sense is a life-long process. It begins with the birth of a child and ends with his death. It is a continuous process. Continuity is the law of life. Education is not limited to the classroom only; it is also not limited to a particular period of life. Education is a lifelong process and goes on from birth to death. Throughout life one goes on learning to adjust oneself to the changing patterns of life. Change it’s the fundamental law of human existence. Life is a continuous process of growth and development and so education is also a continuous process (Dumvile 2014).
Teaching-learning process is the heart of education. On it depends the fulfilment of the aims and objectives of education. It is the most powerful instrument of education to bring about desired changes in the students. Teaching and learning are related terms. In teaching - learning process, the teacher, the learner, the curriculum and other variables are organized in a systematic way to attain some pre-determined goal (Bruner cited in Siaw, 2009).
It is informative to examine the ideal teaching-learning process, as proposed by Laurillard (2014) who argues that there are four aspects of the teaching-learning process namely: discussion, interaction, adaptation and reflection. Discussion according to Laurillard is between the teacher and the learner. Interaction is between the learner and some aspect of the world defined by the teacher. Adaptation is of the world by the teacher and action by the learner. Reflection is on the learner’s performance by both teacher and learner. Laurillard considers how different educational media and styles can be described in these terms. For example, a textbook represents a one-way flow of knowledge from the teacher’s conceptual knowledge to the student’s conceptual knowledge. A lecture or tutorial may be seen the same way, but there is a possibility of meaningful discussion between teacher and learner.
An individual learns through his experiences, which are acquired throughout his life. Education is not merely collection of some information. It is acquisition of experiences through life in the social and natural environment. It includes all the knowledge and experiences, acquired during infancy, childhood, boyhood, adolescence, youth, manhood or old age through any agency of education- the press, the travels, the club, the nature- formally and informally. Thus, education becomes the sum-total of all experiences that the student’s receives either in the school or outside. In this wider sense, life is education and education is life. Whatever broadens our horizon, deepens our insight, refines our reactions and stimulates thought and feeling, educates us.” In other words, education is the process whereby a human being gradually adopts himself in various ways to his physical, social, and spiritual environments. It is the development of all those capacities in the individual, which will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities. Education, in the broader sense, is transmission of life by the living, to the living, through living and for living”. Education is a means for the development of balanced all- round harmonious development of personality. Personality includes not only body and mind but also spirit Gulati (2016).
Secondary school is the stage of education following primary education. Except in countries where only primary or basic education is compulsory, secondary school includes the final stage of compulsory education, and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university. Secondary school is characterized by transition from primary education for minors to tertiary, "post-secondary", or "higher" education for adults. Depending on the system, schools for this period or a part of it may be called secondary schools, high schools, gymnasia, lyceums, middle schools, sixth-form, sixth-form colleges, vocational schools and preparatory schools, and the exact meaning of any of these varies between the systems.
Economics is one of a precise subject taught in the higher secondary school level. It is important to both students and the civilization as great for the reason that it wounds transversely all compasses of human effort as it can be understood in its simplest definition by Robbins (1935) revised by Flynn (2009), “…thus economics as a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses….” By this definition, Robbins (1935) revised by Flynn (2009) lay emphasis on economics as a science and that economic investigation would be based on positive and logical method rather than normative with vague judgments. The important ideas of teaching and learning economics in classroom are to help the basic stage of student masters the principles vital for understanding the financial problem, precise economic issues. The policy alternatives, help to the students understanding, then apply the economic perspective also reason accurately and empirically with economic matters. This promotes a lasting student interest in economics and the economy. (McConnell, 2009) divided economics into three parts; positive economics, normative economics, and applied economics. The science and art of economics relating the lessons learned in positive economics to the normative goals determined in normative economics.
Ahanotu (2009) observed that the factors affecting student’s performance in Economics could be attributed to the following:
(i) The level of teachers’ qualifications
(ii) The motivational approach of the teachers and students.
(iii) The availabilities of facilities
(iv) The influence of population explosion on classroom management and organization
(v) The level of supervision of instruction
(vi) Class discipline can enhance effective teaching.
Adesina (2011) opined that teachers are and will continue to be both the major indicators as well as the major determinant for quality instructions. Teachers are the hub of any effective teaching and learning system since students cannot achieve anything without their teachers. Learning is judged to be effective when the recipients are seen to be product and capable of contributing to himself and the society at large especially in Economics.
Effective teaching of Economics is a great importance in the promotion of educational and communication standard. Thus, as observed in the National Policy on Education (2004) “No educational system can rise above the quantity of it’s teachers”.
Effective teaching-learning promotes positive solution of educational standard. Educationists all over the world have worked out numerous accepted models in teaching and learning of Economics. Yet there are still problems of poor performance of students in teaching of Economics in the classroom. There are certain factors the teachers perceive as the constraints for the effective performance of students in Economics among secondary schools students. They include low morals to study, lack of facilities, population explosion, class discipline, inadequate supervision of instructions etc. In line with this view also constitute to the factors affecting students performance in economics in senior secondary school certificate examination in Enugu North.
Everyday, one form of value judgment or the other are passed on institution of learning especially in secondary schools. Teachers in schools do not inculcate the eloquence principles to the students and teachers skills.
Teachers pin-down the reasons as lack of adequate facilities un-conducive environment for studies, lack of learning materials and poor qualification. What constitute the use of Mass failure in Economics in Secondary School of teaching and learning of Economics is not teachers only. It also includes attitude of the learners, the infrastructural provision by the school and the attitude of the society to learning.
These variables lead the researcher to examine the factors affecting student’s poor performance in economics in secondary school examination, in Enugu North.
Statement of the Problem
Academic performance has been chronically poor in some public secondary schools in Nigeria particular in Enugu North, despite the Government’s effort to improve quality of education. Many stakeholders have tried to attribute the wanting academic performance to the socio-economic factors. Very little has been done to look into these problems, therefore, it is against this background that the researcher was prompted to find out factors affecting student’s poor performance in economics in senior secondary school certificate examination, in Enugu North.
In view of these difficulties, most teachers of economics still resort to the theoretical method of teaching the subject. This undoubtedly, is contrary to the improvement of economics education, which is greatly needed at this period of our development with emphasis on practical oriented learning (Mammudu, 2010). The researcher has taught for a number of years in some secondary schools and had visited a number of secondary schools as a resource person. Through these experiences, the researcher observed that most teachers in secondary schools did not fully make use of instructional materials in the teaching of economics to their students. This negligence of the effective use of the instructional facilities and materials in teaching and learning of economics common to both the trained and untrained teachers affected the academic performance of students in economics in secondary schools in Enugu North.
A good teacher is one who knows the capabilities of his learners and has understanding of what his or her students need to learn. This implies that the skill of teaching lies in knowing who, what and how to teach and above all to be able to judge. Good teaching demands great skill irrespective of the level of teaching. It does not depend on the learner any more as Amissah (2012) indicate. Thus teaching has become complicated due to the increasingly intricate phase of human personality and society. The idea is that a teacher must bear in mind certain principles of good teaching whiles dealing with the students.
Hence, the question of academic performance and students‟ poor performance in SSCE is therefore usually discussed both in and outside the academic circles. In the last few years, it has been observed in most secondary schools that a high percentage of students are performing very poorly in Economics in National Examinations for example, WAEC and NECO (Examiner’s Report, 2009) due to ill motivated behaviour of the students towards the Education, lack of professional teachers, existence of lazy teachers and lack of teaching facilities and equipment (David, 2014). Some of these reports have shown that there are poor academic activities in secondary schools which obviously leads to rampant failure in external examinations among secondary schools students. It is also observed that students poor performance in Economics in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) has continue to be low over the years. Otanyemi (2010), in Mohammed (2003), states that there has been General outcry about poor students‟ performance in the Senior Secondary School Examination.
Students’ poor performance in the subject is probably due to teachers’ attitudes of non-usage of effective instructional materials, poor communication and poor teaching methods in the class room, and also student low interest in the subject. Also the student background affect their performance in the study of economics because most of them do not come from well to do family background.
The factors affecting economics includes the extent to which teachers attitude of non-usage of instructional materials in teaching Economics affectsstudents performance, the extent to which the students low interest in the Economics subjects affect their performance, environmental factors and the levels of qualifications of teachers (Aina 2012).
This paved way for the researcher to examine the factors affecting student’s performance in economics in senior secondary school certificate examination, in Enugu North.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to find out the factors affecting student’s poor performance in economics in senior secondary school certificate examination, in Enugu North.
Specifically, this study is set to find out:
i. to find out students’ related factors contributing to poor performance in economics in senior secondary school Examination.
ii. to find out teachers related factors contributing to poor performance of students in economics in senior secondary school examination.
iii. to find out the school related factors contributing to students poor performance in economics in senior secondary school examination.
Significance of the Study
The outcome of this study will be of great benefit to teachers and students of economics because the information from this research work will review some important data such as advise the teachers to further their education and get more knowledge on the study of economics because they are the only way to students future, bring to the knowledge of government to organize seminars and workshops in order to expose teachers of economics to some many academic activities which will in turn help in student performance.
Students will also benefit because they will be motivated by the information from this research work which will go a long way in making them to see Economics as a compulsory subject. Teachers should devise every means possible to teach this subject and make sure that students grasp everything they should know in economics before examination. This could be done by making sure that they cover their scheme of work every term.
The finding of the study will provide training information which will be incorporated to the curriculum. The curriculum planners will integrate the information into the training model or packages of the economics students and provide a better instructional material that helps to make it easy for students to understand and find economics easy in secondary level.
The educational administrators will benefit from this study because there will be room for them to includes economics in curriculum as a compulsory subject in other to help the nation’s economy grow by making admission into the higher institution available based on a credit in economics among others. Students should be serious with this subject and become friend with it. They could do this by reading Economics every day attaining classes and by studying their Economics dictionaries and textbooks.
The principals should make sure that they have enough Economics teachers for their students. They should encourage their economics teachers to attend workshops organized for them. The principals in collaboration with the government, and PTA should make sure that every material needed for teaching and learning of economics is provided.
Scope of the Study
This study is designed to find out the factors affecting student’s poor performance in economics in senior secondary school certificate examination in Enugu North. The study aims at finding whether variable like; what lead to student poor performance in senior school examination like instructional materials, unqualified teachers and use of instructional materials are related to students‟ academic performance. Hence, the study shall be delimited to economics teachers and students in Senior Secondary School in Enugu.