The term ‘‘examination’’ or ‘‘test’ has been defined as an instrument or systematic procedure for measuring a sample of a person’s behaviour with a view to evaluating that behaviour against standards i.e. in comparism with a given domain of performance tasks (criterion-referenced) or against norms i.e in comparism with others in the group (norm-referenced) (Gage and Berliner, 1979, Gronlund,1985).
Geography’s role is specifically stated in Section 4(6A) where geography has been listed as one of the core subjects at the Senior secondary level (now section 5(25A)). Students are expected to select ;One of Literature-in-English, History, Geography or Religious Studies as the core subject. Geography has also been grouped as part of the body of elective subjects. Therefore, every student will be expected to select three of those subjects depending on the choice of career up to the end of the second year and may drop one of the non-compulsory subjects out of the nine subjects in the last year of the senior high school course. The geography curriculum has special feature which include:
a. The provision of a geography curriculum that is based on the choice of suitable and relevant themes,units, contents, teaching materials, sstudents’ activitiies, teaching aids and evaluation.
b. The reductionn in the scope and content of the subject matter of senior secondary school geography without loosing the high quality required at that level.
c. The inclusion of innovative elements into the teaching of syllabus through the emphasis placed on ther practical geography throughout the 3-year course and the introduction of geographic principles, concepts and skills that are relevant to current trends in the discipline and useful for solving environmental problems.
1.2BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Education is noted as an instrument of change by different experts and professionals in the field of education. Education has been defined in various ways to emphasize different aspect of this crucial concept. According to Obafemi Awolowo “education is that process of physical and mental culture whereby a man’s personality is developed to the fullest. Also, Alfred North White says that “education is not just the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge. This is the concept of education for functional living within one’s milieu, the art of utilizing knowledge for one’s benefit and for the betterment of the society.
Educational activities in Nigeria were first carried out informally. This was known as indigenous education where the aim was to transmit the cultural heritage of the society through generations). After which is the Islamic education which came to Nigeria around the 14th century following the arrival of Islamic Religion. The arrival of the Europeans in 1842 (the arrival of the Wesley Missionary Society) was the beginning of Western Education. The western education later-on metamorphosed or led to Nigeria developing her own educational system that suits it. This subsequently brought about the 6-3-3-4 system of education (though there were others before it i.e. 7-5-3 system) which was developed in 1969 (the 1969 National curriculum conference), which implies six (6) years of primary school, three (3) years of junior secondary, three (3) years of senior secondary’ and at least four (4) years of tertiary education.
Secondary education is defined as “education beyond the elementary grades or primary school”, it could also be said as the education provided by a high school or college preparatory school. In the 6-3-3-4 system, the emphasis for us here is of the second -3- level, which is the senior secondary level, in which geography is offered or taken during the 3 years duration. The subjects in the senior secondary are Maths, English, a major Nigerian language and other electives depending on the students area of interest or department (commercial, arts and sciences), in which geography is included.
According to the National Policy on Education (N.P.E, 2004:7a), one of the national objectives states.
“The training of the mind and understanding of the world around us”.
Therefore, it is believed that perhaps geography as a school subject can achieve this stated objective.
Geography is the physical – social science which describes, maps, and seeks to explain the inter-relationship between man and his physical environs. On the one hand, it deals with the natural setting or physical environs in which man live (some of the elements of the physical environs are the surface or the topography of the earth, soil, rocks and minerals climate, land and water bodies, native plant and animal life, and location on the earth’s surface).
From the afore mentioned it can be seen that the teaching and learning of Geography as a subject is alsobeing influenced by various factors in secondary schools and is faced with diverse problems. These factors could be external factors, cultural, social, political and economic etc which operate differentially from place to place and from time to time, which are relative and not absolute. Specifically, some of these factors include: inadequate staffing, lack of suitable texts, unqualified teachers, shortage of qualified teachers, lack of fund to schools, poor students perception of the subject and poor methods of teaching amongst others.
1.2 Statement of problem
Despite the nature and importance of geography to the society, there is still a persistent worrisome poor performance of students in geography. For this reason, this study attempts to identify the factors affecting students’ performance in geography examinations in Nigerian secondary schools.
1.3 Purpose of the study
This research work is basically to identify Geography teachers and students’ perception of factors affecting students’ performance in geography examinations. The purpose of the study will include:
(1) To access socio-economic background and its effect on performance of students in geography examinations in senior secondary schools.
(2) To evaluate the extent to which teacher qualification and training affect students’ performance in geography examinations in senior secondary schools.
(3) To access the extent to which students’ perception of geography affects their performance in geography examinations.
(4) To examine the extent to which inadequate teaching and learning materials affect students’ performance in geography examinations.
1.4 Research questions
1. Does the socio economic background of the students affect the performance of students in geography examinations in Secondary schools?
2. How do (To what extent) teacher qualification and training affect the performance of students in geography examinations in secondary schools?
3. How does students’ perception of geography affect their performance in geography examinations in secondary schools?
4. How does inadequate provision of textbooks affect students’ performance in geography examinations in senior secondary schools?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
1. There is no significant relationship between socio-economic background and performance of students in geography examinations in secondary schools.
2. There is no significant relationship between teachers qualification and training and the performance of students in geography examinations in secondary schools.
3. There is no significant relationship between students perception of geography and their performance in geography examinations in secondary schools .
1.6 Significance of the study
This study will contribute to the findings in the literature on the factors affecting students performance in geography examinations and benefit the students, teachers, parents, curriculum developers, government, and the society at large in the following ways: by informing the government on the need to provide schools with adequate infrastructure, enlighten the teachers on how to better appreciate their work and help in moulding their students understanding of the subject, the need for parents to provide books for their children/wards in helping to mould their knowledge of geography. And also informing the curriculum developers into looking into the actual period of teaching and learning of geography in order to bring it to a good standard, as well as coming up with adequate timing for the subject.
Also it will inform policy makers and geography teachers on the factors responsible for students’ performance in geography examinations in secondary schools. It may also provide a guide for students (as too the relevance of geography to future careers, and other relevant professions)
1.7 Scope of the study
This is limited to accessing geography teachers and students perception of factors that affect students’ poor performance in geography examinations in public secondary schools in Lagos Mainland (Yaba Local Government Area), in Lagos State
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