Background of the Study
Owolabi (2004) sees Education as the primary agent of transformation towards sustainable development. It increases people’s capacities to transform their visions for society into reality. All countries strive for quality education for their sustainable development. The federal government of Nigeria had adopted education as an instrument per excellence for effecting national development. If education has be adopted as the only tool that can solve the socio-economic problems of Nigeria, then the adequate supply of effective teaching becomes the core of the educational and the quality of teachers.
This view is adequately reflected in the national policy on education in section 9.59 on the purpose of teacher education on that, teacher education will continue to be given a major emphasis in all educational planning because no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers. Oyebode, M.O.T. (2006).
Christian Religious Studies refers to the systematic study of Christian faith as contained in the Old Testament and New Testament of the Holy Bible (Baiyeri, 2010). It is a field of study that is taught at primary, post-primary and tertiary institutions of learning in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria stipulates that “instruction at all levels has to be oriented towards inculcating moral and spiritual principle in interpersonal and human relations” (FRN, 2004).
Christian religious studies is one of the subjects in the schools curriculum and it is offered in the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE). It is one of the Social Subject subjects. Christian religious studies is a subject because its an approach to problems in other subjects
Christian religious studies like other Subject subjects has no specific definition. As there are many Schloars, so there are many definitions of the subject Christian religious studies.
These inevitable variations in the definition of Christian religious studies arise because of the fact that the subject studies human beings and their behaviour can never be the same. As earlier said, that Christian religious studies has many definitions. For example, Smith (1776) sees Christian religious studies as an inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nation”. Mill (1843) “Defined Christian religious studies as the Practical Subject of the production and distribution of wealth”. Marshall (1890), “Sees Christian religious studies as a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life”.
However, of all the definitions of Christian religious studies, the one that is more widely acceptable by the generality of economists is the one put forward by Professor Robbins (1932). According to Robbins, Christian religious studies is defined as a Social Subject which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.
As earlier said, Christian religious studies is a Social Subject that predicts as the other subject. The only difference is that it predicts human behaviour. It quantitative techniques through data collections, observation and interpretation. Christian religious studies have theories and laws like other subjects e.g. law of supply. It adopts the scientific method of investigation, observation and analysis as other subjects. Other Social Subjects include Geography, civics, anthropology, psychology, social studies. It is however not a compulsory paper for all candidates but all candidates used to offer the subject, both subject, commercial and social subject classes.
Christian religious studies is such a very popular subject to students. Looking at enrolment for Christian religious studies in the schools certificate examinations, one would see that there has been a great increase in the study of Christian religious studies as a discipline. Students offer Christian religious studies as a subject because it guides us in rational thinking. It makes us to understand Economic problems, which face man. It makes us to identify and make choice since resources are limited. It makes us to arrange our needs in order of preference. The past performance of students in Ikere local Government Area in Christian religious studies is too deteriorating and not impressive. The record shows that while a few school show good performance in the subject others have not performed so-well. While a few schools recorded as high as an average of 80% over a period of many years.
The majorities fall below 40% over many years. The majority of the schools performance in Christian religious studies is very poor. The question is what are the causes of mass failure in Christian religious studies in Senior Secondary Schools? It is likely that among the reasons, the following are noticeable, Lack of textbooks for students, Lack of instructional materials, Inadequate qualified teachers to teach the students, the libraries are not well equipped, students attitude towards the subject.
Through assessment the teachers exert a positive force on curriculum of religious education. They use it as an effective basis for communication with parents and other partners. Through assessment teachers clearly reflect the achievement of student both in cognitive and affective domains and thus achieve proper certification of students. Assessment helps the teachers to check the achievement of stated objective and thus give students feedback which helps the students to identify the next step to take to improve their learning in the subject. These therefore fall in line with the postulates of Curriculum online (2000), all calling for effective employment of assessment to achieve the required goal in Religious Education teaching. The survey also gives hint on how assessment helps in the learning of Religious Education. The respondents accepted that through assessment students identify relevant information to the questionnaire and assignment; recall relevant information in religious education and express it in a coherent form; and link different element of religious education curriculum in their studies. The respondent agreed also that assessment helps students to identify and label characteristic in familiar context in religious education; read and comprehend relevant materials, describe problems, propose solution and evaluate the solutions, and differentiate disparate elements in religious education. The respondents favoured also the facts that assessment helps students to judge the success of their own work and set target for improvement, and that it help them to achieve self assessment which lead them to improvement in the Summary / Conclusion Assessment has been a veritable tool in education process. By the evidence of this research, it is no more in doubt as to whether assessment can be used to improve the performance of students in religious education. Teaching and learning without assessment is not useful for the educational progress of the students. When there is no assessment students cannot be promoted and certification becomes an illusion. The improvement and renovation of the religious education curriculum becomes hard is not impossible. Through assessment accurate and sound statements on students’ proficiency is provided.
Students academic gain and learning performance is affected by numerous factor including gender, age, teaching faculty, students schooling, father/guardian social economic status, residential area of students, medium of instructions in schools, tuition trend, daily study hour and accommodation as hostelries or day scholar. Many researchers conducted detailed studies about the factors contributing student performance at different study levels. Graetz (1995) suggested “A student educational success contingent heavily on social status of student’s parents/ guardians in the society. Considine and Zappala (2002) noticed the same that parent’s income or social status positively affects the student test score in examination.
According to Minnesota (2007) “the higher education performance is depending upon the academic performance of graduate students. Durden and Ellis quoted Staffolani and Bratti, (2002) observed that “the measurement of students previous educational outcomes are the most important indicators of students future achievement, this refers that as the higher previous appearance, better the student’s academic performance in future endeavours.
Lot of studies have been conducted in the area of students achievement and these studies identify and analyze the number of factors that affect the academic performance of the student at school, college and even at university level. Their finding identify students’ effort, previous schooling, parent’s educational background, family income, self motivation of students, age of student, learning preferences and entry qualification of students as important factors that have effect on student’s academic performance in different setting.
The utility of these studies lies in the need to undertake corrective measures that improve the academic performance of graduate students.
It is generally assumed that the students who showed better or higher performance in the starting classes of their studies also performed better in future academic years at degree level. Everyone can be surprised with this assumption if it could be proved scientifically. From the last two decades it has been noticed significantly that there is great addition in research literature and review material relating to indicators of academic achievement with much emphasis on this dialogue, whether traditional achievement measures of academic performance are best determinants of future academic gain at university or higher level or innovative measures. However, it is also observed that many of the researchers are not agree with this view point or statement.
Reddy and Talcott (2006) looks disagree with these assumptions that future academic gains are resolute by preceding performance. In their research on the relationship between previous academic performance and subsequent achievement at university level, they found that students learning or studying at graduate level and the score secured did not predict any academic achievement at university level. They also cited Pearson and Johnson (1978) who observed that on the whole grade association of only 0.28 between graduate level marks and university degree achievement.
It is also confirmed in the study of Oregon State University (2003) on graduate admissions that normal measures of educational potential and academic performance such as high school GPA (Grade Point Average) scores showed only 30% of the deviation in initial or starting (first) year at college. It is important to note that even these studies do not agree with the former studies who explored that previous achievement affect the future performance of the students in studies, they confirmed that the admission scores are related to academic performance at university level but to a very minimal extent. McDonald et.al (2001) also suggested that the scores of graduate level studies still out perform any other single measure of cognitive aptitude in predicting success at university level.
Parent’s socio-economic condition, which includes parents’ academic and professional qualification, revenue and occupational affiliation, is also associated with academic gain of students. The results of many studies confirmed that academic achievement of students is contingent upon parent’s socio-economic condition. So the students belonging from higher social economical backgrounds will perform better than other students associated with low social economic backgrounds. “Social and economical status of student is generally determined by combining parents’ qualification, occupation and income standard” (Jeynes, 2002). Among many research studies conducted on academic achievement, it is not very surprising to observe that Socio-economic status is one of the main elements studied while predicting academic performance.
Graetz (1995) conducted a study on socio-economic status of the parents of students and concluded that the socio economic background has a great impact on student’s academic performance, main source of educational imbalance among students and student’s academic success contingent very strongly on parent’s socio economic standard. Considine and Zappala (2002) also having the same views as Graetz (1995), in their study on the influence of social and economic disadvantage in the academic performance of school students noticed, where the parents or guardians have social, educational and economical advantage definitely strengthen the higher level success in future. But it is also noted that these parents make available sufficient psychological and emotional shore up to their children by providing good educational and learning environment that produce confidence and the improvement of skills needed for success.
On other hand Pedrosa et.al (2006) in their study on social and educational background pointed out those students who mostly come from deprived socio-economic and educational background performed relatively better than others coming from higher socio-economic and educational area. They named this phenomena educational elasticity. It is obvious and true that the criteria for categorizing socio-economic standard in different countries are different depending of their norms and values. The criteria for low socio-economic status for developed country will be different from the criteria of developing nations and same will be in the case of developing and under developing countries. “The total income of families, monthly or annually and their expenditures also put a great effect on the learning and academic opportunities accessible to youngsters and their chances of educational success. Furthermore, he also pointed that due to residential stratification and segregation, the students belonging to low-income backgrounds usually attend schools with lower funding levels, and this situation reduced achievement motivation of the students and high risk of educational malfunction in future life endeavors” (Escarce, 2003).
Considine & Zappala (2002) observed that children comes from those families having low income make known more subsequent models in terms of learning outcomes; low literacy level, low retention rate, problems in school behaviour and more difficulty in their studies and mostly display negative attitude towards studies and school. The view point of Considine and Zappala is more strengthen by this statement of Eamon, According to Eamon (2005) “Those students usually come out from low socio-economic status or area show low performance in studies and obtained low scores as compared to the other students or their counter parts”.
It is also assumed that children learning outcome and educational performance are strongly affected by the standard and type of educational institution in which students get their education. The educational environment of the school one attends sets the parameters of students’ learning outcomes. Considine and Zappala (2002) quoted Sparkles (1999) showed that schools environment and teachers expectations from their students also have strong influence on student performance.
Most of the teachers working in poor schools or schools having run short of basic facilities often have low performance expectations from their students and when students know that their teachers have low performance expectations from them, hence it leads to poor performance by the students. Kwesiga (2002) approved that performance of the students is also influenced by the school in which they studied but he also said that number of facilities a school offers usually determine the quality of the school, which in turn affect the performance and accomplishment of its students. Sentamu (2003) argue that schools influence educational process in content organization, teacher and teaching learning and in the end evaluation of the all. All these educationists and researchers agreed with this principle that schools put strong effect on academic performance and educational attainment of students.
Students from elite schools are expected to perform good because they attend these elite schools and the main reason behind is that these schools are usually very rich in resources and facilities. Some researchers have the view that school ownership and the funds available in schools do indeed influenced the performance of the student. Crosne and Elder (2004) noticed that school ownership, provision of facilities and availability of resources in school is an important structural component of the school. Private schools due to the better funding, small sizes, serious ownership, motivated faculty and access to resources such as computers perform better than public schools. These additional funding resources and facilities found in private schools enhance academic performance and educational attainment of their students. It is also very pleasing that students from Govt schools colleges and universities in Punjab Pakistan are providing the laptops by the Punjab Government, so that the students could interact with the whole world and know about the latest developments and innovations.
It is concluded that the type of schools in which students studies greatly influence the educational performance and academic achievement of the students. Miller and Birch (2007) summarized the views of many researcher and educationist in their study on the influence of high school attended on university performance. This study let the research scholars to hypothesize that the background to the students positively correlates with the academic attainment of graduate students.
Statement of the Problem
It has been observed that in most schools, students fail in their SSCE in Christian religious studies. A lot of reasons have been adduced to this, which is the focus of this project.
Why do students fail Christian religious studies? Is it because there are no qualified teachers or the examination body is not competent enough?