The study was undertaken to investigate the impact of Continuous Assessment on academic performance of chemistry students in NCE, Kaduna state. The population of the study comprises of all chemistry students in colleges of education in Kaduna state. The sample consisted of 90 chemistry students drawn from the colleges of Education in Kaduna state. A pre-test post-test experimental control group design was used. The experimental group was further divided into two groups, E1 and E2, while only one group serves as control group. The experimental group EI was subjected to two sets of Continuous Assessment while E2, the second experimental group was subjected to four sets of Continuous Assessment and finally the control group C was left without any Continuous Assessment.

Pre-test and post-test were administered to the three groups. Five hypotheses were stated. Two instruments, teacher made test (T.M.T) was used for the Continuous Assessment and Organic Chemistry Test (OCT) was used as both pretest and post test. The data obtained were analyzed using F-test, ANOVA, t-test, and Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (r) statistics at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study revealed that:-

⦁ Continuous Assessment has significant impact on academic performance of NCE students.

⦁ There is no significant difference in the performance of male and female students when exposed to fewer C.A's.

⦁ There is significant difference in the performance of male and female students when exposed to many C.A's.

⦁ There is no significant correlation between C.A scores and final examination scores of chemistry students in NCE.

In the light of the findings from this study, it was recommended that chemistry teachers should strive to see that at least four C.A's are given to students per semester in order to improve their academic performanceand that teachers should also be properly trained on the methods and techniques of Continuous Assessment construction and administration for the system to be effective.


Title page i

Declaration ii

Certification iii

Dedication iv

Acknowledgement v

Abstract vii

List of Tables xi

List of Appendices xii

Abbreviations xiii

Chapter One: The Problem


Statement of Problem6

Research Questions7


Objective of the Study8

Significance of the Study9

Scope of the Study10

Chapter Two: Review of Related Literature


The Concept of Assessment in Education11

Philosophy, Principles and Practice of Continuous Assessment14

Continuous Assessment and Academic Performance16

Characteristic Features of Continuous Assessment18

Methods and Techniques used in the Administration of Continuous Assessment22

Summative System of Assessment27

Teacher’s role in the administration of Continuous Assessment29

Gender related differences in performance in science32

Continuous Assessment in other countries32

Reviewof    Related   Studies   on   Continous   Assessment   andAcademic Performance36

Implication of the literature reviewed on the present study38

Chapter Three: Method of Study


Research design40

Population of the study43

Sample and sampling procedure44


Pilot study46

Item characteristic of the Instrument46

Item analysis46

Validation of the Instrument47

Reliability of the Instrument48

Data collection and administration of the treatment48

Administration of the Treatment49

Data analysis technique49

Chapter Four: Data Analysis and Discussion


Presentation of the results50

Summary of Analysis (Findings or Results)54

Discussion of the results55

Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations






Suggestions for further study61

References 62

Appendices 70



Population of the Study

Sample of the Study

Organic Chemistry Test (OCT) Showing Area of Specification

Comparison of scores in experimental group E1, E2 and control group C

Comparison of scores male and female scores in the first experimental Group E1

Comparison of scores of male and female in the second experimental group E2

Comparison of C.A scores and examination scores in the first experimental group E1

Comparison of C.A scores and examination scores in the second experimental group E2


Appendix A - validating research  instrument by specialists in  mathematics education.

Appendix B - validating a research instrument by specialists in science education and chemistry.

Appendix C - validating a research instrument by specialists in English language education. Appendix D - (OCT) organic chemistry test item for pretest and post - test.

Appendix E - marking scheme for (OCT)

Appendix F - (T.M.T) Teacher made test for first C.A. Appendix G - marking scheme for (TMT) first C.A. Appendix H - (T.M.T) teacher made test for 2nd C.A. Appendix I - marking scheme for (TMT) 2nd C.A. Appendix J - (T.M.T) Teacher made test for 3rd C.A. Appendix K - Marking scheme for (T.M.T) 3rd C.A. Appendix L - (T.M.T) teacher made test for the 4th C.A.

Appendix M - marking scheme for teacher made test 4th C.A.

Appendix N - Pre-test - Anova to determine the equivalence of the four groups. Appendix O - List of items and difficulty index

Appendix P - Post - test scores for E1, E2 and C

Appendix Q - Post -test scores for males and females in the 1st experiment group E1 Appendix R - Post - test scores for Males and Females in the 2nd experiment group E2 Appendix S - C.A and Exam scores for the 1st experimental group E1

Appendix T - C.A and exams scores for the 2nd experimental group E2. Appendix U - Pre - test for the four groups


In the course of this study some words have been abbreviated and frequently used in the text. The abbreviated words are outlined as follows:

T.M.T - Teacher Made Test

OCT - Organic Chemistry Test

W.A.E.C - West African Examination Council

C.A - Continuous Assessment

N.T.I - National Teachers Institute

G.C.E - General Certificate of Education

C.S.E - Certificate of Secondary Education

G.C.S.E - General Certificate of Secondary Education

U.S.A - United States of America

S.S.C.E - Senior Secondary School Certificate

J.A.M.B - Joint Admission and Matriculation Board

N.C.E - National Certificate in Education

W.A.S.C - West African School Certificate



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:-

Ø Assess students' attainment at the end of a course or study programme.

Ø Evaluate diagnostically students' academic performance, progress and/or learning difficulties.

Ø Evaluate students' aptitude, possibly for the purpose of assigning them to different courses or teaching set.

Ø Evaluate the effectiveness of an educational programme or curriculum.

(Richard, 1999)

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).

In 1977, an implementation task force was set up to prepare a blue print for the implementation of the new policy. Input into the Federal Task came from various state task forces set up for the purpose. The Federal Government White Paper on the implementation task force came out in 1979 and constitutes the basis of what is now the new National Policy on Education (FME, 1998). One of the distinct features of the new National Policy on Education is its emphasis on Continuous Assessment. According to an extract from the National Policy on Education (FME, 1998) "Educational assessment and evaluation will be liberalized by basing them in whole or in parts on Continuous Assessment of the progress of the individual." The clearest statement as to how the desired 'liberalization' was to be achieved was stated in the National Policy on Education. And the type of education that will bring about self realization, better human relationship, national consciousness and technological progress in Nigeria (FME, 1998).

The new National Policy on Education in Nigeria has directed that Continuous

Assessment should be used at all educational levels for the evaluation of student performance. This means that every teacher from primary school to university should understand and practice it. Before the implementation of Continuous Assessment, the summative system of assessment was used where students will be assessed at the end of the term without including any other form of assessment, and this form of assessment is used to evaluate students performance for placement and promotions to upper class. Mock examination was conducted prior to WAEC examinations. This result was often used to determine those students that qualify to write the final examination (WAEC) and also to secure provisional admission into higher institution before the release of WAEC result (Ango,1997). Carew(1985), stated that irrespective of how well a student's performance is during his/her years of schooling, if his/her performance in the summative type of examination is not good, he/she is considered incapable of advancing further in education.

Dodo (1985) maintained that "there are even few cases of suicide from failure in final examination". In view of the above reasons, schools and colleges adopted the Continuous Assessment system. The Federal Government of Nigeria stressed the need and importance of Continuous Assessment in relation to examination. It was stated in the National Policy on Education (FME, 1998) that there is the need for Continuous Assessment for the integration of all types of evaluations. Continuous Assessment therefore, represents a continuing awareness of the development of the pupil over a period of time and the general building of cumulative judgment. Continuous Assessment also referred to as "process evaluation" does not only measure advancement but also indicates the progress towards it. In science, especially chemistry, assessments should seek to measure

the particular qualities that a curriculum or course seeks to foster in students. In the context of science (chemistry), such qualities may be divided into three broad categories outlined below according to Richard (1999):-

1. Intellectual abilities and skills that include the student's ability to recall, apply, evaluate scientific information and to plan and device experimental investigations for the solution of scientific problems frequently. Abilities of this nature are referred to as cognitive abilities.

2. Manipulative skills and abilities that include skills in the handling and manipulation of materials and apparatus in the context of scientific investigations, as well as ability to follow instructions and to make accurate observations. Generally these and related skills are referred to as psychomotor skills.

3. Qualities that concerns students attitude and interest in science and the study of science and science related beliefs and values, as well as ethical judgments and interpersonal relationships. Qualities of this nature are generally referred to as affective characteristics: The influence of gender on the learning ability, interest and performance of students cannot be overemphasized. Results of several researches conducted over the years revealed that there is significant difference in students’ choice of subject as well as their performance in science and non-science subjects. Olarewaju (2004) reported a significant difference between boys and girls performance in the knowledge of biology concepts. Boys in this report were found to achieve better than girls. Dahiru (2004) also conducted a research to determine if gender is a factor in the selection of science subjects in Katsina Local Government Area. His result revealed that gender is not a factor in the selection of science subject in Katsina local


Adeqive (2000) attributes difference in learning ability of boys and girls to socialization process as girls are denied out of school and pre-school experience in problem solving especially those involving visual activity behaviour that inhibits the development of mathematics and science capability in girls. This research therefore, intends to provide equal opportunities for both boys and girls in the teaching and conduct of Continuous Assessment.

Academic performance in science (Chemistry) is viewed in different ways by different authors; depending on the context in which it is viewed. Generally, performances means accomplishment or exhibition of proficiency in a given skill or body of knowledge. Amuset (1994) viewed academic performanceas the knowledge obtained or skill developed in the school subject usually designated by test score or by means assigned by the teacher.

However, Okebukola and Jegede (1986) subdivided performance into three categories. These are:

a. High achievers (top 75%)

b. Medium achievers (middle 55%)

c. Low achievers (bottom 25%)

Academic performance, according to Musa (2000), refers to the quality of results produced by students as reflected in the quality of their examination scores. If more C.A is given, it means more motivation on the part of the students and it is hoped that the performance will increase. Continuous Assessment is often used to motivate students to learn. According to Beard and Seniour (1980), motivation is understood by the teacher as "the urge to work independently either applying one self to his work, interest in ones task or course he has chosen, the desire for a good

qualification and good employment, determination to pass examination or a defined goal which one has set for himself and sustenance of enthusiasm".

This study therefore, intends to find out if students given more number of Continuous Assessment per semester will perform better in the final examination than those who are not given. The study also investigates whether there is any difference in the performances of male and female students exposed to Continuous Assessment. And finally, the study intends to finds out if there is any relationship between Continuous Assessment scores and final examination scores of chemistry students in NCE.

Statement of the Problem

Science educators have advocated the need for Continuous Assessment as an integral part of science evaluation programme (Hambury, 1995). However, there is no empirical data to support the effectiveness of the Continuous Assessment system in promoting learning and to show whether or not the performance of students will increase on exposure to more C.A. As C.A has potency to motivate learners to learn. Vroom (1984) defined performance as a product of motivation and ability. According to him behaviour is not only just influenced by ability but also by how much the individual wants to do certain events and by how much they expect they will do it. So when students are being examined they are motivated to work hard. Therefore, the problem of this study is to find out if exposure of students to many Continuous Assessments has significant impact on the final examination. More assessment means more motivation and thus better performance, but sometimes human behaviour may change. Many assessments may mean more stress on the part of the student.

In some studies it is shown that there are gender-related differences in learning (Jegede, 1989 Mari, 1991 and Ajagun, 1998). This research uses the two

gender and gave them same teaching and assessment techniques, so adequate step is taken to remove any gender difference in the administration of the treatments. This research work also tries to find out if gender has any impact in the administration of Continuous Assessment to students.

What is not known conclusively is the consistency of Continuous Assessment scores to examination scores. Odili(1995), in his study, asserts that some Continuous Assessment scores are not consistent with examination scores since they show little or no significant correlations. Ihiegbulem(1994), however, found out that a substantially high and significant degree of positive relationship exists between Continuous Assessment and examination scores. One of the purposes of this study therefore, is to determine whether there exists a relationship between Continuous Assessment and examination scores. There is the problem of correlating Continuous Assessment with actual examination scores for instance; it is not uncommon to find a student having very high score in continuous assessment and extremely low score in the final examination (Hassan, 1987). It is hoped that the results from this study will clarify all the stated problems.

Research Questions

In view of the above, the following research questions were formulated to guide the conduct of the study.

(1) What is the impact of frequent administration of Continuous Assessment on academic performance of N.C.E chemistry students?

(2) To what extent do male and female students exposed to two sets of Continuous Assessment differ in performance in the first experimental group?

(3) To what extent do male and female students exposed to four sets of Continuous

Assessment differ in performance in the second experimental group.

(4) Is there any relationship between Continuous Assessment and final examination scores of NCE chemistry students exposed to two sets of Continuous Assessment in the first experimental group?

(5) Is there any relationship between Continuous Assessment and final examination scores of NCE chemistry students exposed to four sets of Continuous Assessment in the second experimental group?

Null Hypothesis

The null hypotheses formulated for the study are:

HO: 1 There is no significant difference in the mean academic performancescores of students exposed to Continuous Assessment and those assessed using final examination only in chemistry.

HO: 2 There is no significant difference between the mean academic performancescores of male and female students exposed to two sets of Continuous Assessments in chemistry (that is the first experimental group E1).

HO: 3 There is no significant difference between the mean academic performancescores of male and female students exposed to four sets of Continuous Assessments in chemistry (that is the second experimental group E2).

HO:4 There is no significant relationship between the mean Continuous Assessment scores of N. C.E. students exposed to two sets of Continuous Assessment in chemistry (that is the first experimental group E1).

HO: 5 There is no significant relationship between the mean Continuous Assessment scores and final examination scores of N.C.E. students exposed to four sets of Continuous Assessment in chemistry (that is the second experimental group 2).

Objectives of the Study

In view of the above, the study is geared towards achieving the following objectives:

1. To determine the impact Continuous Assessment has on final examination   scores of N. C. E. Chemistry students.

2. To find out if male and female students exposed to Continuous Assessment differ significantly in academic performance.

3. To investigate if there is any relationship between Continuous Assessment scores and final examination scores of N. C. E. Chemistry students.

Significance of the Study

The main aim of an academic research is to add to the existing knowledge due to the fact that problems are identified and solutions are provided, hence improvement is always expected. The result of this research therefore, is expected to provide an insight on the sustainability, applicability and effectiveness of Continuous Assessment in colleges of education N.C.E programmes. Continuous Assessment is administered at every level of education from primary schools to university; however there is no empirical data to support its impact in enhancing performance. This research is of significance to the teachers, as it will provide empirical data that would show the number of Continuous Assessment that could be administered in a semester to give optimum performance by students. It will also provide teachers with skills and techniques in organization and administration of Continuous Assessment. There are sampled C.A questions which would serve as a guide for further questions.

Teachers always seek for a Continuous Assessment score that correlate very high with final examination so that the performance of the students in the final examination can be predicted. This will enable them to identify C.A mean score that would provide a more reliable feed back that could be used to predict students’ grades

in the final examination. The teacher would also be better positioned to provide parents with a very reliable feedback of the students’ performance in school. The C.A that correlates more is the most reliable and will predict the final performance of the students and when passed to parents it gives more reliable feedback. To curriculum planners this research will help to determine the number of C.A to be inserted when designing the curriculum.

Undoubtedly, the study findings will help lecturers, policy makers and educationist to decide on the impact of the Continuous Assessment process furthermore, it is hoped that the result of this study will make an enormous

Contribution to the existing literature in the area of Continuous Assessment.

Scope of the Study

The study is delimited to Colleges of Education in Kaduna state namely F.C.E, Zaria and F.C.E Kafanchan. The two colleges were chosen

Due to the fact that they are the only two Colleges of Education in Kaduna state, and they are all affiliated to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as the moderating institution. Thus, the standardization and quality of their programmes are under control. The findings of this study are generalizable only in these colleges.



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