VALIDITY OF CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT SCORES AS PREDICTORS OF STUDENTS' PERFORMANCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY EXAMINATIONS IN NIGERIA

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1 VALIDITY OF CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT SCORES AS PREDICTORS OF STUDENTS' PERFORMANCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY EXAMINATIONS IN NIGERIA Dr. O.A. Oyedeji ABSTRACT The National Policy on Education (WPE) clearly specified that continuous assessment Mould henceforth be used to evaluate pupils in both primary and secondary schools. Furthermore, as a matter oft policy, continuous assessment scores would contribute 60% to the final assessment in JS examinations. The problem of the present study was to investigate whether the CA scores contribute significantly in predicting the students' performance at JS examinations. Hence the hypothesis of the study: Ho: The percentage of variance of student's performance in JS examination that is predictable from the variance of CA scores will not be statistically significant. Materials for the study included CA scores and JS examination scores in five selected subjects of 300 post-js candidates sampled 12 selected secondary schools in Ogun State, Nigeria. To analyse the data, the JS examination scores were regressed over the CA scores for the different subject. Results of the regression give the equations: Mathematics: JS' = CA Eng. Language: JS = CA Int. Science: JS' = CA Soc. Studies: JS = CA Intr. Techn.: JS' = CA Results of ANOVA of the regressions of JS scores on the CA scores show that the regressions are statistically significant with

2 F-ratios of 13.75, 27.36, and for Mathematics, ENG. Int. Science and Social Studies respectively (all significant at p < 0.01). Also, CA scores in Maths, Eng. Inte. Science, and Soc. Studies contribute significantly to the variances of JS performance in respective subjects with R 2 values of , , , and INTRODUCTION One of the most important and significant developments in Nigerian educational system of recent is the introduction of the use of continuous assessment In evaluation of pupils in both primary and secondary education. The implication of this is that every teacher from primary to secondary level of education should understand and practise continuous assessment. The emphasis on continuous assessment is not limited to Nigeria alone, several other African countries notably Kenya, Zambia, Ghana and Liberia have adopted the same policy. What is continuous Assessment? Continuous assessment is a method of evaluating the progress and achievement of students in educational institutions. According to Yoloye (1984), continuous assessment aims at getting the truest possible picture of each student's ability and at the same time helping each student to develop his or her abilities to the fullest. The method or process of continuous assessment takes into account in a systematic view of the whole performance of the students during a given period of schooling. Apart from all these, continuous assessment has the characteristics of being: Comprehensive by making use of many evaluation instruments; Cumulative by putting into consideration all the past records to compute the final grades of the students (Ward, 1980). One of the innovations in the new educational policy is the adoption of the four-tier educational system tagged '. This means a pupil is to spend six years in primary level, three years each at Junior and Senior Secondary levels and finally four years at tertiary level. According to the Nigerian educational policy statements, Ultimately, there will be no formal examination at the end of the first six years of

3 primary education. Certificates will be based on continuous assessment, and will be issued by the headmaster of the school. Junior secondary school leaving certificate will be based on a combination of continuous assessment and final examination conducted by the individual state Ministry of Education. Continuous assessment will constitute 60% of the final grade. Senior secondary school leaving certificate will be based on a combination of continuous assessment and a final formal examination conducted by West African Examinations Council (WAEC) (NPE, 1981) Domains of Continuous Assessment Continuous assessment evaluates the students in all the three domains of objectives: cognitive, affective and psychomotor. So, teachers are supposed to assess the students on cognitive development, acquisition of practical skill, and finally on the erstwhile neglected domain-affective objectives which include all variables of personality. Of the three domains, the affective objective would appear to be the most difficult to assess. It requires the use of good and valid instruments, and the process of assessment may be complex and sometimes subjective (Bloom, 1959). Teachers therefore face difficult tasks of carrying out proper and valid assessment of these variables, which should contribute sixtypercent to final grading in Junior Secondary examination. The government realized, before the introduction of the use of continuous assessment, the enormous tasks that would be involved in the implementation of the policy, therefore the need to give the teachers the necessary training was recognised. The first step, a long term measure, was to introduce courses in Measurement and Evaluation into the curricula of teacher education programmes in the nations Universities and colleges of Education. The contents of the courses include: Construction, validation and use of evaluation instruments. Assessment, Transformation and Interpretation of scores, and Record-keeping and Reporting. In order to cater for the serving teachers, as a short-term measure, workshops and conferences were organised for them on subject basis to enable them acquire the necessary skills in the operation of continuous assessment in schools. Organisation of such workshops, as a matter of policy, has become part

4 of the system for effective implementation and monitoring of the operation. Administration of Continuous Assessment The policy recognizes the fact that thorough and meticulous recordkeeping and reporting are at the heart of continuous assessment, and that this must be supported by an efficient system of storage and retrieval of the records kept. It is therefore recommended that three types of record should be kept by school: Teacher's class/school Record, which contains detailed school activities, and progress reports of the student. Pupil Cumulative Record card, which contains personal information of the student, periodic report of academic achievement, report of social and physical development, and yearly summary of progress. The Transcript, which is a report prepared for and sent to other institutions to which a student may wish to transfer, or to employers. In order to facilitate effective monitoring and coordination of the operation of continuous assessment in Nigerian schools, a committee system is adopted. The monitoring and coordination is carried out at four different committee levels. (a) School Level (b) Local government level (c) State level, and (d) National Level. The committee at each level is to ensure proper operation of continuous assessment at that level. Among other functions, the committee monitors and coordinates: - development of assessment instruments. - proper use of the assessment instruments. - assessment and record-keeping. - identification of levels of ability, achievement and Effective development for various individuals and groups. In order to ensure that valid records are kept for continuous assessment on cognitive and non-cognitive domains of the students, teachers are exposed to, the use of some assessment techniques. Some of the common techniques being used in schools include:

5 (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Achievement and Aptitude testing Observation technique Anectotal Report Questionnairing, and Rating scale. Many of these instruments are made available in established Resource centres and Higher Institutions where the schools and teachers can go to seek expertise advice or assistance. Problems of Continuous Assessment Continuous assessment is no doubt a good innovation in Nigerian educational system. However, its operation is not without some problem. One of the most important problems identified by experts, despite the effort of the government, is the limited skill and expertise of the teachers to operate continuous assessment, that is: (i) Lack of skill to construct good assessment instruments that are comparable in standard; (ii) Lack of skill to use and to interpret the results in all the domains of objectives. (Falayajo & Ojerinde, 1984; Yoloye, 1984; Ezewu et al, 1981). This particular problem is significant since the success of the whole assessment process depends on the validity of the grades kept for the students as continuous assessment. The situation deserves attention especially when it is realised that the record kept would contribute at least 60% to the final grades of the students. Problem of present study Continuous Assessment should aim at getting a valid assessment of the students at Junior secondary education. Results of continuous assessment should help the system to give a good prediction of the student's performance considering the various strategies and instruments the teachers use for the assessment. Therefore, the study attempted to determine whether scores submitted by teachers as continuous assessment grades are good and valid indices of the performance of the students in Junior secondary examinations. Specifically, the study was set to answer the following questions:

6 Do the continuous assessment scores submitted by teacher predict the JS examination performance of students in some selected subjects? How accurate are the predictions of JS Examination Performances from the continuous assessment scores? Consideration of the questions led to the formulation of the hypothesis for the study: Hypothesis (Ho): The percentage of variance of student's performance in Junior Secondary Examination that is predictable from the variance of continuous assessment scores will not be statistically significant. DESIGN AND PROCEDURE The study used a descriptive survey method to collect data from the subjects. Subjects and Materials: Subjects for the study included 300 post-jss candidates sampled from 12 selected.junior Secondary Schools in Ogun State, Nigeria. The materials used for the study included the continuous assessment scores and JS examination results of the candidates in five selected subjects from the JS curriculum. The five subjects-mathematics, English Language, Integrated Science, Social Studies and Introductory Technology - are part of the core subjects in the JS curriculum. Method Formats were prepared and sent to selected schools to collect scores of post - JS candidates in the final continuous assessment returned by the schools, and in the JS examination results. To analyse the data, the scores of the candidates in the JS examination were regressed on the continuous assessment scores for the separate subjects. Anova of the regressions were carried out, and the significance of the regression coefficients determined. Analysis and Findings Results of the regression of JS examination scores on continuous assessment scores give the beta values, the intercepts, means and standard deviation values as presented on Table I. Table 1

7 Results of Regression lines of JS scores on CA scores in the selected school subjects Subject. X S X Y S y by.x ay.x Subjected (CA) (JS) Maths Eng. Lang Int. Sc Soc. St Intr. Techn By using the values on Table 1, the regression lines for predicting JS examination performance from continuous assessment scores are then described by the equations: Maths : JS' = CA English : JS' = CA Int. Science : JS = CA Soc. Studies : JS = CA Intr. Techn. : JS = CA An attempt was made to test whether the contributions of the variances of the CA scores in the various subjects to the variances of the performance in JS examination are statistically significant. Results of the ANOVA of the regressions are presented on Table 2 Table 2 Significance of Prediction of JS scores from Continuous Assessment Scores. Source R 2 F p-value S.E Mathematics Eng. Language Int. Science Soc. Studies Intr. Techn n.s Results on Table 2 show that CA scores variances contribute significantly to the variances of JS scores in English Language, Integrated

8 Science, Mathematics, and Social Studies. The null hypothesis was therefore rejected in the four cases with F-values of 27.36; 94.16, 13.75, respectively and all at p < However, the contribution of the variances of CA scores in predicting the JS performance in Introductory Technology is not significant with F = Therefore the null hypothesis is not rejected. So, the percentages of variances of student's performance in JS examinations that are predictable from the variance of CA scores for the school subjects are; 4.41% (Maths); 8.41% (Eng); 24.01% (Int. Science); 37.21% (SOS) and 0.85% (Intr. Techn.). Though some of the percentage variances are significant, results on Table 2 show that the standard Error of estimates are generally high, indicating that the points are scattered away from the regression lines in all the cases. This situation reduces the accuracy of the predictions. CONCLUSION Generally, results here have shown that CA scores can be used to predict, to a reasonable degree of accurary, the JS examination performances in some school subjects (English Language, Social Studies, Integrated Science and Mathematics). Introductory Technology is considered as practical subject, and assessment of cognitive and psychomotor objectives should be more valid than in social studies or English Language, but results here have shown insignificant contribution of the CA scores in predicting JS performance in the subject. It looks incrediable! However, it has been recognized earlier that the reliability of record kept by the teachers depends greatly on the ability and expertise of the teacher to construct and use valid assessment instruments. Apart from this, the records could be subjective with scores from personality development added. Results of this study have implication to the Nigerian educational system. Objective and adequate keeping of continuous assessment records is essential, scores from continuous assessment should be indicative of students' performance in JS examination. Nigerian educational system requires to keep and deal with valid records, and this can only be made possible when teachers possess the necessary skills in testing and measurement. The various governments, and institutions should not relent in their efforts to train and re-train the.teachers in the acquisition of the necessary skills, and to equip the schools with necessary resources that will facilitate adequate record keeping. At this point, it is believed that with improved assessment techniques, and objective recording by the teacher, it should be possible to determine the

9 performance of the students without a final formal examination which attract major critian for sane time now. Continuous assessment, if properly kept could give a more indicative achievement of a student in terms of cognitive and noncognitive objectives. Continuous assessment presents assessment as part of teaching. Above all, it gives the teachers the opportunity to participate in the final assessment of their products. One of the consequences of this act is that teachers will be ready to introduce innovations that will improve their teaching effectiveness. For several years, Nigeria and indeed many West African countries have been plagued with the occurrence of examination leakages and other malpractices especially in West African School Certificate Examinations. Like Falayajo et al. (1984) pointed out, one reason for such a high incidence of examination malpractices could be the fact that the single final and external examination is so crucial in deciding the future of the candidate that the temptation to ensure success by all means is very high. The practice of continuous assessment could be a way of reducing.this temptation since the final examination will constitute a small percentage of the final grade. REFERENCES Bloom, B.S. (Ed.) (1956) Texonomy of Educational Objectives Handbook 1; Cognitive Domain, New York: David Mckay Co. Inc. Ezewu, E. E. & Okoye, N.W. (1981). Principles and practice of Continuous Assessment. Ibadan Evans Brothers (Nig) Ltd. Falayajo, Wole & Ojerinde, Dibu (1984) Continuous Assessment. A New Approach Ibadan: University Press Ltd. Federal Ministry of Education (1981) National Policy of Education. Lagos: NERC. Ward, C. (1980) Designing a Scheme of Assessment. London: Stanley Thornes (Pub.) Ltd. Yoloye, E. A. (1984) Continuous Assessment; A Simple guide for teachers. London: Cassell.

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