Background to the Study
A prerequisite for admission into higher education in Nigeria is meeting the criteria set by the National universities commission (NUC). Apart from obtaining acceptable score in the Unified matriculation, examination, candidates are also expected to obtain at least credit grades in some subjects at the end of secondary school education.
However, there have been debates in recent times as to the relevance of these prerequisite to students’ academic performance after admission. This has been necessitated by suggestions that universities students’ academic performance.
Higher education is very crucial for the socio-economic and technological development of any country. It provides the skilled manpower needed to transform the resources within that country into wealth. This is achieved when higher education provides the right quality of training and skills required at the right quantity. Over the years, the number of person applying to enter universities in Nigeria has been on the increase. However, just a fraction of these are admitted each year. Universities and colleges of education admission in Nigeria is very competitive due to the higher number of applicants envying of limited slots. It is thus expected that only of the best will be admitted since academic merit is the major criteria used for admission.
Initially, each universities and colleges handled its admission process autonomously used as each adopted what was considered most appropriate for it. However overtime, the need to harmonize admission processes across the country was realized. Consequently the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) was establish to coordinate and standardize universities admission processes in the country. The board conducted its first unified examination in 1978. Each course was given a cut-off mark which varied from one university to another. Meeting the prescribed cut-off mark for course in a particular university thus qualified a candidate to be provisionally admitted. Admissions were however confirmed on the candidate obtaining good grades in prescribed subject (which vary from course to course) at the end of their secondary school education. Results accepted are those organized by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO). The current practice now includes a post JAMB assessment of candidates by the universities where they have been given provisional admission.
Over the years there have been concerns about the correlated between the pre-admission qualification of students and their academic performance in the universities. This appears to be a global source of concern in view of the ongoing debates and studies on the issue in different countries (1, 2, 3, 4).
Statement of the Problem
There have been serious doubts on the integrity and validity of these two examinations, SSCE and UTME. Students, teachers and even agents of the examination bodies have caught in large scale examination malpractices during the conduct of the examinations. Consequent upon, which students have shown that student who scored high in both examinations had performed very poorly in the universities, final examinations.
The cumulative effect of low quality of graduates being produced by many universities was traceable to various sources including the mode of entrance into the universities, infrastructural decay, indiscipline, lack of inadequate of instructional facilities etc. Therefore, this study is investigating whether there is predictive validity between UTME scores at an entry examination into the universities and the success of those students at final degree examination grades.