Background to the Study
One of the functions of a school is the certification of the individual learner under its embrace (Idowu & Esere, 2009). To effectively carry out this role, assessment of one kind or the other is a prerequisite. Assessment is a means whereby the teacher obtains information about knowledge gained, behavioural changes and other aspects of the development of learners (Oguneye, 2002). It involves the deliberate effort of the teacher to measure the effect of the instructional process as well as the overall effect of school learning on the behaviour of pupils. Assessment covers all aspects of school experience both within and outside the classroom. It covers the cognitive as well as the affective and psychomotor aspects of learning.
In Nigeria, Educational Planners and Administrators are now more conscious than ever before of their role in the nationwide scheme of curriculum innovation. Not only have new courses been introduced and new contents injected into existing subjects, a fundamental change in the system of assessment of pupils’ performance has also emerged through the formalization of continuous assessment as a major component of evaluation process (Idowu and Esere, 2009).
Assessment is one of the new concepts introduced in the Nigeria educational system with the new national policy on education in short it is an interval part of the new system of education otherwise known as the 9-3-3-4 system. Assessment is an essential element in the educational process. A teacher must make some measurements of the extent to which the learning experiences of pupils have enabled them, achieve the stated objectives of the course of study.
Ohunche and Odili (2001) defines assessment as an involving the determination for the value and work of a thing implies making decision. The changing needs and attitude of individual children call for a continuous evaluation of such needs and trials in order to enable the children understand themselves better. Their teachers to improve on their teaching methods, the parents and guidance understood the children, so that educational vocational and personal social decision can be realistically made on them. Scholars have looked at the issues of the attitude of pupils towards assessment in educational system and have seen that the success education will ever offer is seriously tied to the facilities relevant to it.
Abia (2002) said assessment are the pivot on which the wheel of teaching and learning process rotates. As cited by Abia (2004) the use of assessment is the most significant aspect of influence for pupils effective performance. According to Bayo (2005) the availability of assessment in learning process have the potency for motivating and focusing learners attention on the lesson being presented.
According to Obi (2003), a good assessment can make the following contributions. Promote the development of ready skills and encourage long term habits through ready, listening and etc those learning habits from the key to continuous success in school and to the personal encouragement of leisure this throughout line. Assessment is not merely testing. Osokoya, (2006), it is a process through which the quality of an individual work or performance is judged. Mwebaza (2010). In relation to school setting. Greaney (2001) defines assessment as any procedure or activity that is designed to collect information about the knowledge, attitude, or skills of the learner or group of learners. Thus, in the context of education, assessment can be defined as a predetermined process through which the quality of a pupil’s performance in the three domains of educational objectives (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor) is judged. Assessment of pupils learning of curriculum contents in the area of knowledge, skills, and values is a major pre-occupation of many educational reforms. This is because results from such assessment not only provide feedbacks regarding the educational progress of pupils but remain the authentic yardstick for gaining the effectiveness of the teacher, the quality of instruction and in part the functionality of any curriculum reform. Assessment as an assessment carried out in an ongoing process. Mwebaza (2010) is an objective judgment considered an important part of structured assessment purposely designed and administered to enable the teacher to evaluate some aspect of a pupils learning of a specific time.
Peretomode (2007) said stock of educational facilities in public school system in Nigeria is enormous even at the present state of their insufficient and inadequacy. They represent substantial financial outlay to the tax payer. Establishing new educational facilities is no longer that easy because of the current state of economic depression and constantly raising costs. Edem (2008) seeing the importance and position influence of school facilities to educational achievement of pupils said. It is the duty of the ministry or the board of education to make furniture’s, equipment, books and expendable materials available to schools. Their inadequacy constitutes another source of frustration and disillusion among teachers. African leaders earnestly desire good education programmes for their people, but in many cases the resources are so merger that little progress can be made.
The repeated emphasis being placed on assessment is a clear evidence of its importance. The National Steering Committee on Assessment in Nigeria Schools led by Yoloye (2002) regards assessment as a method of ascertaining what a child gains from schooling in terms of knowledge, industry and character development, taking into account all his/her performances in tests, assignments, projects and other educational activities during a given period of term, year, or during the entire period of an educational level (Ipaye, 2005). It is also a method of using the recorded performances of each pupil to help him or her improve on his or her achievement through guidance. According to Ezewu and Okoye (2006), assessment refers to a systematic and objective process of determining the extent of pupils performance in all the expected changes in his behaviour, from the day he enters upon a course of study and a judicious accumulation of all pieces of information derived from this purpose with a view to using them to guide and shape the pupil and to serve as basis for making important decisions about the child. In other words, assessment should be systematic, comprehensive, cumulative, and guidance oriented.
Public primary schools are supported and controlled by the government of the state. Adeyinka (2010) stated that public schools are those schools that were established, managed, financed, as well as supervised by the government. He further opined that those schools were established with the tax payer’s money in order to educate the generality of the people irrespective of their economic, social or political status in the society. Public primary schools are neither controlled by individuals, private interest groups, or agencies but by the government. After the creation of Nigeria, all the schools that were established were under the management and control of either the federal and state government. All subjects were taught at the schools. But after some years most public schools started suffering repercussion of neglecting the teaching of some subjects in public secondary schools, subjects like French, history, computer science among others. Mojeeb Alabi in National mirror of September 23rd 2012 opined that History as a subject seems to be receiving less attention; he attributed the problem to constant changes in government policy. Assessments are used on daily basis to support the learning process. According to Airsian (2001), state that assessment is the process of collecting, interpreting and synthesizing information, to help teachers understand their pupils, plan and monitor instruction and establish a conducive atmosphere. In Kenya, continuous assessments are used in formative evaluation. They are used to test whether not the skills and competencies have been mastered by the learners. Feedback from continuous assessments informs the teacher on the effectiveness of instruction strategy.
Hassen (2008) pointed out that classroom assessment has now become the most crucial, frequent and pervasive issue in educational systems to determine; the quality of learning, what pupils know, how efficiently and what attitudes they have developed for future learning. As leaners interact with these important tools, they develop attitude towards them and mathematics. Allport (2005) state that the experiences of and individual lead to formation of mindsets which determine how the individual respond to related stimuli. The attitudes which leaners form towards continuous assessments impact positively or negatively on further acquisition of knowledge in the subject.
Assessment in public primary school is systematic in the sense that it is planned, graded to suit the age and experience of the children and is given at suitable intervals during the school year. Appropriate timing saves pupils from being tested to death or becoming bored with too frequent assessments. Comprehensiveness of assessment means that it is not focused on academic skills alone. It embraces the cognitive, the psychomotor and the affective domains. A child is assessed as a total entity using all the psychometric devises such as test and non test techniques. Cumulative characteristics of assessment means that all information gathered on the individual has to be pooled together before a decision can be taken. To say that assessment is guidance oriented means that the information so collected is to be used for educational, vocational and personal- social decision-making for the child. Guidance and counseling activities thrive better on valid, sequential, systematic, continuous, cumulative and comprehensive information. (Denga, 2006).
Conceptually as well as in practice, assessment provides feedback to children and teachers. Such feedback provides information which is used for purposes of improving on the child’s performance or modifying the content, context and methods of teaching, as well as in making a variety of other decisions. The National Policy on Education (2004) defined assessment as a mechanism whereby the final grading of a pupil in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain takes account, in a systematic way of all is performances, during a given period of schooling.
Assessment of pupil ensures assessment of their overall abilities and provides the basis for making appropriate educational certification, placement and selection decision about them. However, such an assessment according to national policy on education (2004) involves the use of great variety of instruments. In the context of this study, Assessment is a system of assessment which is carried out in primary schools at pre-determined intervals for the purpose of monitoring and improving the overall performance of pupil. In order to assist the pupils, teachers should improve the teaching/learning situation for better and consistent performance of pupils in public primary schools in Ikere Local Government area of Ekiti state, it is therefore necessary to find out the assessment of public primary school academic performance in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Statement of the Problem
Academic performance of public primary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State has received much attention of late in the Ekiti educational system. It is pertinent to understand that the so called academic performance of public primary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State is a Cankar worm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State public primary schools today. However, in environment where such an ugly situation is found, tention, conflict and anarchy dictate the tone of relationship between pupils, the teachers for a smooth and effective school management. This appears to be more pronounced in the public primary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. Poor academic performance has constituted a big problem not only for schools but the dynamic Nigeria society. The public primary schools in Ikere Ekiti have been faced with the problem, which is mostly reflected in common Entrance Examination Results. Millions of Naira being pumped into education in Nigeria in general and in Ikere Ekiti of Ekiti State in particular not withstanding this issue of poor performance in education has continued to persist.
The question therefore is what is the factor that is responsible for fallen standard and poor academic performance of public primary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Is the fault entirely that of teachers or pupils or both of the, Is it that pupils of today are non-achievers because they have low intelligent quotient and a good neutral mechanism to be able to act purposefully, think rationally and deal effectively with academic tasks Or is it because teachers are no longer putting in much commitment as before, Or is it in teachers’ method of teaching and interaction with pupils Or is the poor performance of students caused by parents’ neglect, separation and poverty. The present study therefore sought in assessing the academic performance of pupils in public primary schools in Ikere Local government Area of Ekiti State.
Differential scholastic achievement of pupils in Ikere Local government Area of Ekiti State has been and still a source of concern and research interest to educators, government and parents. This is so because of the great importance that education has on the national development of the country. All over Ekiti State, there is a consensus of opinion about the fallen standard of education in Ekiti (Adebule, 2004). Parents and government are in total agreement that their huge investment on education is not yielding the desired dividend. Teachers also complain of pupils low performance at both internal and external examination. This problem are attributed to poor foundation from public primary school due to poor teaching standards as well as other factors such poor funding of education by government as well as negligence by parents. It is against these constraints that the researcher sees the subject matter as an empirical problem worthy of investigation.
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