STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT SCORES IN PRE-NCE SCIENCE SUBJECTS AS PREDICTOR OF THEIR ACHIEVEMENT IN NCE INTEGRATED SCIENCE
Integrated Science is the bedrock on which science subjects at the senior secondary schools are laid. Therefore, emphasis is laid on it to give the students the right foundation for higher endeavour in science and technology. Improving the quality of science teachers who are to lay this foundation is of utmost importance. Pre-NCE programme were mounted to improve the quality of NCE teachers but the extent to which it is doing this is not clear. This study was therefore carried out to determine whether students’ achievement scores in Pre-NCE science subjects (chemistry, physics and Biology) could predict their achievement in NCE Integrated Science. In carrying out this research, a correlation research design was employed. The Pre-NCE scores was the predictor variable while the criterion was the NCE Integrated science scores. The sample of the study was 171 NCE Integrated science graduates who passed through Pre-NCE sciences in NCE awarding institutions in Enugu state between the years 2003-2009. This study was guided by three research questions and three research hypotheses. The analysis of data was carried out using the Pearson’s ‘r’ and the SPSS version 16.0 for the test of significance. The findings of the study revealed that students’ achievement scores in Pre-NCE Chemistry, physics and Biology, relates positively though low to their achievement in NCE Integrated science. This implies that the Pre-NCE programme achieves its desired aim and so the researcher recommends that Pre-NCE programmes especially in sciences should be encouraged in NCE awarding institutions. Finally, the researcher suggested that similar studies be extended to other institutions of higher learning like universities and polytechnics to determine the extent to which this remedial programme achieves its aim
Background of the Study
The teaching and learning of science world over, has undergone many stages. The period between 1957 and 1965 was characterized by activities in many parts of the world to develop new and suitable science curricula for the primary schools and the junior classes of the post primary schools (Jegede, 1978). These Science curricula in America, for instance, include Science- A Process Approach (SAPA), Elementary Science Study (ESS) and Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS). These changes in Science Education eventually got to Africa.
Generally, Primary Science is taught at the Primary schools while Integrated Science is taught at junior secondary schools and the tertiary teacher training institutions in Nigeria. Over the last three decades, there have been intensive activities at producing viable science programmes for these schools in Nigeria. At the Primary School level, many Nigerian States had attempted, through their various Ministries of Education to develop new Science curricula for their schools. Some of such curricula include the Lagos State Primary Science, Anambra State Primary Science Curricula, Oyo State Primary Science Curricula and so on (Federal Ministry of Education, FME, 1978). But lately, the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) developed core curriculum for primary science, which became the Core curriculum for Primary Science, used in all Nigerian primary schools (Daudu, 1998). At the Junior Secondary school level, the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) developed the curriculum of Integrated Science (Vardabhatta, 1983; Daudu, 1998). It produced curriculum materials for Nigerian Junior Secondary Schools through its well-known Nigeria Integrated Science Project (NISP). However, the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) has since adopted STAN’s revised Integrated Science syllabus for the whole country. There is also another project; but this time for the tertiary level, referred to as the Nigerian Integrated Science Teacher Education Project (NISTEP) (Balogun, 1995 in Daudu, 1998). NISTEP is a teacher trainer’s programme for staff of the Colleges of Education and secondary schools in Integrated Science.
There have been several efforts by Government to promote science education at all levels. Some of these efforts include integration of science, the teaching of science, technology and mathematics at all levels of education as stipulated in the national policy on education (NPE, 2004) and national policy on science and technology (NPST, 1986). Also, the establishment of universities of science and technology and the 60:40 science/arts admission policy. In spite of all these, they seem not to be producing the desired result. For instance, there is low level of scientific literacy in our country as decried by Ali, (1994) and Okeke, (1995). Maduabum (1990) lamented the low level of enrolment of students in science-based subjects both in secondary school and tertiary institutions in spite of the core nature of Integrated Science at JSS level. In other words, admissions of students into tertiary institutions in Nigeria hardly meet the 60:40 ratio of science to arts admission policy (Maduabum, 1995).
There are three main tertiary institutions in Nigeria – Universities, Monotechnics/ polytechnics and Colleges of Education. The Colleges of Education award the Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE). The NCE is obtained after a three-year post-secondary school pre-service teacher education programme in a College of Education (COE). There are at present 83 of such institutions running the NCE programmes in the country, including some polytechnics, enrolling 400,000 students and graduating about 60,000 yearly (Ajeyalemi, 2009). The establishment of the COE was recommended by the Ashby commission in 1959 in order to increase supply and improve on the quality of teachers especially for the lower forms of secondary schools (Ezugwu, 2006). A National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) was later set up to supervise, monitor and accredit the COEs to ensure some uniformity in standards of curriculum and implementation. The NCE programme was intended for the production of well-qualified, non-graduate teachers for the lower forms of secondary schools and the primary schools – basic education (Ezugwu, 2006).
Of the three main tertiary institutions in Nigeria, Colleges of Education have the lowest entry requirement, which is four credit level passes at the school certificate, that is, Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE). In spite of this, there is paucity of applicants to read sciences in particular and the other courses in general at the NCE level (NCCE, 2002) It is this unhealthy trend of persistent low enrolment into Colleges of Education that made preliminary Nigerian certificate in Education (Pre-NCE) programme imperative, especially in sciences.
The Pre-NCE is a remedial programme for students who do not make the required points for admission into the Colleges of Education in Nigeria through the monotechnics/polytechnics and Colleges of Education matriculation examinations (MPCE) and those who did not make up to 4 credits at ordinary level. The pre-NCE course programme is designed to run for one academic session. By going through the one-year programme, the students take the internal examinations of their respective Colleges of Education, which qualify them for admission without recourse to the MPCE. This internally simulated ordinary level equivalent examinations are therefore meant to keep the students abreast of learning experiences necessary for entry into the NCE I. In other words, it is to make up for O’ level deficiency.
The Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), surprised and upsetted Tertiary institutions administrators. This was due to the announcement by the board that from the 2009/2010 academic session, tertiary institutions in the country would no longer enroll pre-degree, pre-National diploma or Pre-NCE students directly into full programmes. It was noted that except such preliminary students registered for and passed the UME or MPCE, now, unified tertiary matriculations examination (UTME), they would be running such programmes at a risk (Olarenwaju, 2009). It is important to note that one of the objectives of pre-NCE programme is to enhance students’ academic performance through adequate teaching by experienced lecturers in the Colleges of Education. It is therefore projected that consequent upon completion of such preliminary programme, the students’ academic attainment would be improved.
Academic attainment is determined by the students test achievement scores and since many teachers believe that the achievement scores of their students is an index of their teaching effectiveness, it has been found that some teachers not only set easy test items but also award marks indiscriminately sometimes in advance, of examinations (Mkpa, 1989). These tests given are teacher-made-tests and sometimes may not have been validated. Results from using such tests compare students only within the same class. Therefore, the grades could suffer from teacher’s bias, subjectivity and favoritisms.
The teachers who handle the pre-NCE students are, in some cases, not the same teachers who handle them in NCE I – III. As the teacher is the centre of focus in the achievement of students, Stake, (1978) noted that whatever the science student will be is directly dependent on the teacher because the teacher is the enabler, the inspiration and the constraint. This therefore underscores the need to determine whether or not pre-NCE programme has achieved its purpose of improving the quality of Integrated science students (teachers of tomorrow).
Biology, Physics and chemistry which are studied separately in Pre-NCE are the core science subjects that really make up Integrated Science. In other words, Integrates Science and these three science subjects are closely related. They have some elements in common. Therefore, performance in one could be used to predict the other. This also underscores the need to carry out this research.
Statement of Problem
Integrated Science is the bedrock on which the science subjects at the senior secondary schools are laid. Emphasis is therefore placed on it to give the students the right foundation for higher endeavour in science and technology. The quality of Integrated science teachers who are to lay this proper foundation is of utmost importance. Improving the quality of teachers of Integrated Science is therefore very important. It should be noted that admission into our teacher training institutions could be direct through MPCE, now UTME or through the preliminary programme (Pre-NCE).This Pre-NCE Science programme is one of the measures taken so far to improve students’ academic performance. However, the extent to which the programme achieves what it was designed for is not clear. The problem of this study therefore is to determine whether or not students’ achievement scores in Pre-NCE Science subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) will predict their achievement in NCE Integrated Science.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to find out the extent to which students’ achievement scores in Pre-NCE science subjects would predict their achievement in NCE Integrated Science.
Specifically, the study is intended to determine the extent to which:
- Students’ achievement scores in Pre-NCE chemistry would predict the students achievement in NCE Integrated science.
- Student’s achievement scores in Pre-NCE physics would predict their achievement scores in NCE Integrated science.
- Student’s achievement scores in Pre-NCE Biology would predict the students achievement scores in NCE Integrated Science.
Significance of the Study
This study is correlational, set to determine whether students’ achievement scores in pre-NCE science subjects would predict their achievement in NCE Integrated science. It is therefore, expected that the result of this study; may be of help to administrators/policy makers in knowing whether to emphasize Pre-NCE admission or direct JAMB admission especially in sciences.
It is hoped that the result of this study, if published would create awareness of the importance or otherwise of preliminary programmes in our higher institutions of learning. It is also intended to guide parents on how best to advice their children on the need to embrace preliminary programme especially in sciences.
The result of this study if published would also guide curriculum planners on how to improve upon the existing preliminary programmes in Colleges of Education and other NCE-awarding institutions. This is because positive correlation would mean to consolidate the existing programme, otherwise, the curriculum will be revisited to see how the programme would be improved.
The result if published is also expected to furnish JAMB with information/data they would need to enable them step up either their struggle for only JAMB admission or other wise.
It will also be of immense benefit to researchers, as it will add on to research efforts geared towards the improvement of science education.
Scope of the Study
This study was carried out in the Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, and Institute of Management and Technology both in Enugu State.
The study will be restricted to the students’ Pre-NCE results (GPA) in Chemistry, Physics and Biology for the 2003/2004, 2004/2005 and2005/2006 academic sessions and their corresponding NCE Integrated science result (GPA) for the 2006/2007, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 sessions respectively.
These Research questions were posed to guide this study:
- To what extent does Pre-NCE final GPA in chemistry predict achievement in NCE Integrated science?
- To what extent does Pre-NCE final GPA in Physics predict achievement in NCE Integrated science?
- To what extent does Pre-NCE final GPA in Biology predict achievement in NCE Integrated science?
In order to facilitate the attainment of the main objectives of this study, three null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. They are as follows:
- The students’ achievement scores in Pre-NCE Chemistry do not significantly predict their achievement in NCE Integrated Science.
- The students’ achievement scores in Pre-NCE physics does not significantly predict their achievement in NCE Integrated Science
- The students’ achievement scores in Pre-NCE Biology does not significantly predict their achievement in NCE Integrated Science.