Education is the total process of human learning by which knowledge is imparted, faculties trained and skills developed. Secondary schools not only occupy a strategic place in the educational system in Nigeria, it is also the link between the primary and the university levels of education. According to Asikhai (2010), education at secondary school level is supposed to be the bedrock and the foundation towards higher knowledge in tertiary institutions. It is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in a country. It is rather unfortunate that the secondary schools today are not measuring up to the standards expected of them. There have been public outcries over the persistently poor performance of secondary school students in public examinations especially in physics.
According to Nwokocha and Amadike (2005), academic performance of students is the yardstick for testing the educational quality of a nation. Hence, it is expedient to maintain a high performance in internal and mostly external examinations. For some years now, reports on the pages of newspapers and research findings have shown the abysmal performance of students of secondary schools in in physics in public examinations. Ajayi (2002), Nwokocha and Amadike (2005), WAEC (2007), Adeyemi (2008) and Asikhia (2010) have all shown the extent of poor performance of students in public examinations. The persistent decline in students’ performance in public examinations is not only frustrating to the students and the parents, its effects are equally grievous on the society. One of the most potent barometers so far, if not the strongest, of measuring school performance of students is through public examinations. The use of examinations to carry out assessment according to Alonge (2013) has been on the increase worldwide with the establishment of examination bodies like: West African Examinations Council (WAEC, 1953), National Teachers Institute (NTI, 1975), National Board of Educational Measurement (NBEM, 1992), National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB, 1992), and National Examinations Council (NECO, 1998). These examination bodies were established to replace the activities of the colonial examination bodies. These examinations are externally moderated and enjoy a lot of public confidence. The form of education children receive after primary and before tertiary stage is called secondary education. Without secondary school products, it is obvious that the basis for any future academic study cannot be laid. From the aims and objectives of the setting up of schools, one would expect that day and boarding senior secondary school students’ performance in Edo State would greatly improve. Admittedly, no educational system is problem free. However, the decay in Nigerian educational system is becoming embarrassing. Though, brilliant students can be found even in public schools, the high percentage of failure in WASSCE tends to rubbish the good ones among them.
The schools can no longer justify the faith the government and the public have in them or the huge budgetary allocations they consume yearly. Nevertheless, students have not been doing well, and the situation is not improving. For example, in the S.S.C.E of May/June 2012, Physics recorded only 13.8% passes with Distinction and Credit grades, while 59.6% of the total 381,506 candidates failed (Musa and Dauda, 2014). In the examinations taken in June 2014 by 618,119 students, 14.2% and 13.7% passed with Distinction and Credit levels in Physics and Chemistry respectively. The failure rates for the two subjects were 56.3% for Physics and 67.4% for Chemistry (WAEC, 2014). Results in other core-subjects were equally poor with students doing much worse in subjects with practical work. In WASSCE of December 2006, for example, failure rates were 64.6% for English and Biology 58%. Therefore, if education is going to continue to hold on to its old image as an instrument par excellence for achieving national development, it has to be salvaged or resuscitated. The popular practices of changing the curriculum or adding more subjects, changing the duration of schooling or voting more money are not yielding the expected results. A lot more has to be done. Nigerians are quick at pointing accusing fingers at poor teaching facilities, inadequate and poorly trained teachers, parental laxity, under funding and so on. While all these are possibilities, there is an urgent need now to reappraise the schools vis-à-vis all these factors since situations are not static. For instance, the government continues to vote more money into the education sector annually without corresponding improvement in the schools. This study is therefore, designed to assess the trend in the performance in Physics in WASSCE from 2011 to 2015 in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.
The phenomenon of poor academic performance among Nigerian students, especially those in senior secondary schools is a matter that has become a source of worry to successive governments and major stakeholders in the education sector in the country. Over the years, the majority of students that sat for the May/June West African Examinations Council (WAEC) have been recording mass failure especially in physics. Characteristically, statistics reeled out by the West African Examination Council, each time the results are released, point to the fact that students have not been performing up to the required standards despite the high investment which the government and parents have been making in the sector. This, therefore, has been a source of concern to the researcher; hence the decision to conduct an investigation on the trend in the performance in Physics in WASCE from 2011 to 2015.
The purpose of this study is to assess the trend in the performance in Physics in WASCE from 2011 to 2015. The study will specifically:
The following research questions has been raised to guide the study:
The findings of this study will provide the state’s government and officials of Ministry of Education information on the need to take the right decision on the provision of infrastructural facilities to aid teaching and learning process which will help improve the academic performance of students.
The recommendations of the study if properly implemented may provide school authorities with information on the need to corrective measures through adequate planning of resources to meet the demands and guide their actions for successful learning process in the schools.
Parents may be encouraged to pay more attention to the student‘s work and hence help in the improvement of the students’ performance.
This study will focus on the trend in the performance in Physics in WASCE from 2011 to 2015. The scope of the study is restricted to the schools within the local government area that have presented students for WASCE for at least five years in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State
Trends: This is a general tendency or course of events over a long period of time
Academic Performance: This is the outcome of education, the extent to which a student has performed in physics examination.