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Effect Of Continuous Assessment Modes On Students’ Learning Outcomes In Commerce In Senior Secondary Schools In Ibadan

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ABSTRACT

Studies have shown that continuous assessment (CA) is conducted without using all requisite modes, and provision of Feedback and Remediation (FaR), rather it is conducted casually using tests alone without the provision of FaR. Also, no indepth study had addressed the combined effects of CA, Teacher-Student Relationship (TSR) and Commerce Self-Efficacy (CSE) on learning outcomes. The study, therefore, investigated the effects of CA modes (classroom based with FaR and without FaR, out-of-class based with FaR and without FaR, and classroom and out-of-class based with FaR and without FaR) on students‟ achievement in and attitude to Commerce. TSR and CSE were used as moderating variables.

The design was pretest-posttest control group quasi-experimental design with 7 x 3 x 3 factorial matrix. Multi-stage sampling technique was employed to select 14 schools (7 each) from the two clusters of Ibadan educational zones. From each school, an arm of SS II Commerce (intact) class was randomly selected. 12 schools (2 for each experimental group) were used and the remaining two served as control. The sample size was: 142, 118, 128, 113, 109, 107, and 129 totalling 846. Four instruments developed by the researcher: Commerce Achievement Test (r = 0.74), Commerce Self-efficacy Scale (r = 0.78), Attitude to Commerce Scale (r = 0.75) and Students‟ Perception of Teacher-Students Relationship Scale (r = 0.80) and classroom-based CA Modes Battery, out-of-class-based CA Mode Battery, and; classroom and out-of-class based CA Modes Battery were used. Four research questions and seven hypotheses were answered and tested at p< 0.05. Data were analysed using descriptive statistic and ANCOVA

Main effects of treatments (CA modes) on students‟ achievement (F(6,782) = 8.33) and attitude to Commerce (F(6,782) = 30.98) were significant. The classroom and out-of-class based CA modes with FaR had the highest achievement score (  = 24.66). Out-of-class based CA with (FaR) had the highest positive attitude to Commerce (35. 07). TSR had significant main effect on achievement (F(2,782) = 3.10) and ii attitude to Commerce (F(2,782) = 48.92). Students with high level TSR had the highest mean achievement score (  = 30.02) and better attitude to Commerce (  = 80.00). CSE had no significant main effect on students‟ achievement but had significant main effect on attitude to Commerce (F(2,782) = 46.69). There were significant interaction effects of treatments and TSR on students‟ achievement (F(7,782) = 2.26) and attitude to Commerce (F(7,782) = 2.79). There was no significant interaction effect of treatments and CSE on students‟ achievement but was significant on attitude to Commerce (F(7,782) = 2.40). TSE and CSE had no interaction effect on students‟ achievement but had significant interaction effect on students‟ attitude to Commerce (F(1,782) = 29.20). Treatments, TSR and CSE had no significant interaction effect on students‟ achievement and attitude to Commerce. All CA modes and TSR improved students‟ learning outcomes while CSE engendered positive attitude to Commerce only.

Continuous assessment modes with FaR are effective in improving students‟ learning outcomes in Commerce. CA modes should be reflected during practice. Positive teacher-student relationship should also be encouraged.

Key               words: Continuous assessment modes, Teacher-student relationship, Commerce self-efficacy, Learning outcomes in Commerce, Feedback and remediation

Word count: 499

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

The inclusion of Commerce in the senior secondary school curriculum is designed to prepare students for the business world. It derives its origin from Economics as clearly shown in the various syllabi of examining bodies at the secondary education level in Nigeria (WAEC, 2009; NECO, 2008; and JAMB, 2007). Commerce syllabus focuses on the basic principles, theories and concepts of Commerce as well as its application [including business law] to modern business activities.

The aims and objectives of Commerce as can be deduced from the various syllabi

are:

  • To enable students appreciate the basic concepts, rule and principles of Commerce
  • To lay proper foundation for further study of Commerce and allied courses at higher level.
  • To enable students appreciate the role and importance of Commerce and its relationship with other aspects of production.
  • To assess students‘ knowledge of basic principles of Commerce, practice and their application to modern business activities (NECO 2006 and 2007; WAEC 2009).

Assessment of students‘ learning outcomes is fundamental in determining the realisation of the objectives of education in any country. According to Durowoju and Onuka (2013), assessment is a core element in determining the overall quality of teaching and learning in education. In this wise, Idowu and Esere (2009) submit that one of the functions of the school is the certification of the individual learner under its purview. To effectively carry out this role, assessment of one kind or another is a prerequisite. Durowoju, Onuka and Onabamiro (2010) opine that after the teaching and learning process, a good teacher would desire to know whether teaching has really taken place, or whether learners have mastered the lesson taught. It is essential to mention that the only means through which teachers can measure or ascertain students‘ achievement is to assess or observe the students after they have been exposed to certain course of instruction.

Rust (2002) submits that assessment involves appraisal of students‘ learning outcomes. He further stresses that assessment is the process of collecting information about students‘ performance in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students in a particular course of study. In line with this, Hassan (1998) asserts that assessment is a process of understanding the performance of students in their current life situation. According to him, assessment is always an evaluative, interpretative and appraisal of students‘ performance. Furthermore, assessment involves the process of observing, collecting, scoring, recording, describing and interpreting information about a student or a group of students (Ekpenyong, 2010). Volchok, Caines and Graf (2006) citing WebCT (2001) observe that assessments of students are effective ways of gathering critical information about students and their performance. It is important to stress that assessment is often thought of as a tool that measures a student‘s knowledge of the course content. They also opine that assessment is an activity that is integral to the full scope of the learning process. Rust (2002) articulates that students are being assessed for different reasons namely: motivation, creating learning opportunities, feedback (both to students and staff), to grade, and as a quality assurance mechanism (both for internal and external systems).

Baku (2008) states that governments, in some countries among which are Ghana and Nigeria, see assessment as a means of determining the extent to which education has achieved its goals and objectives. This view is more in tandem with the concept of assessment of learning. Assessment of learning also known as summative assessment involves finding out how much students have gained from course(s) of instruction which they were exposed to at the end of a given period of study by way of achievement testing or public examining (Baku). According to him, Assessment of learning is judgmental in nature, it is being used to: monitor the quality of the school system, evaluate educational policies, make placement decisions about students, for certification of students, among others. Buttressing this fact, Shirlee (2011) postulates that assessment of learning is used for accountability. In a nutshell, assessment of learning is being used to determine the amount of behavioral changes of students with respect to the objectives of setting up such program rather than improving students‘ performance. This type of assessment is not beneficial  to  the  teaching  –learning  process  because  it  does  not  provide  immediate feedback and remediation needed to improve students‘ performance while the teaching-learning process is on-going. This is evident in the performance of students in some public  examinations  conducted  by   some  examining  bodies  such  as   West            African Examinations  Council   (WAEC)   and   West   African   Senior   Secondary  Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The comments of the WAEC Chief examiners‘ reports revealed that over the years, the  performance  of  students  in  Commerce  has   not  been  encouraging,       (WAEC            & WASSCE Chief Examiners‘ Reports, 2010). The comments of the Chief examiners‘ reports  on  students‘  performance  in  Commerce  subject  conducted  by   WAEC and WASSCE in November and December 2010 in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Gambia are as follows:

Nigeria’s Chief Examiners’ Report

“Candidates’ performance was fair. Few candidates displayed good understanding of questions and use good illustration to buttress their points. Few candidates adhere to rubrics and presented their answers in an orderly manner. Causes of fair performance are:

  • Poor preparation for the examination, some candidates’ answers showed inadequate knowledge of the subject. This was evident by their poor performance in most of the questions.
  • Most of the candidates misunderstood the questions which led to answering them out of context
  • Poor expression, many candidates could not clearly express their points in simple sentences” (WAEC, 2010)

Sierra Leone’s Chief Examiners’ Report

“Candidates performed disappointingly, they did not do well; there were no very high scores although there were very few zeros. Candidates do not seem to be improving and performing better. Causes of poor performance are:

  • Year after year it seems that candidates do not cover the syllabus
  • At times it appears as if some candidates have never studied this subject but entered for it as a general knowledge subject
  • There were so many candidates that did not attempt the required five questions
  • There were some  other  candidates  who  answered  only  one  question”

(WAEC, 2010)

Gambia’s Chief Examiners’ Report

“Candidates’ performance was generally poor. Causes of poor performance are:

  • One may suggest that majority of the candidates did not prepare well for the examination. This is evident in the structure of answers they provided.
  • Infact about 35% of the candidates just copied the questions
  • Others write their answers with no reference to the demands of the questions
  • Some of them misinterpreted most of the questions” (WASSCE, 2010)

The above comments from the Chief Examiners‘ reports on candidates‘ performance in Commerce serve as feedback not necessarily to the candidates who were being assessed but to the examining bodies, the examiners and the stakeholders in the industry including the school system for future actions in respect of prospective candidates. It is pertinent to stress that the feedback given by these chief examiners cannot be used to improve the performance of those candidates who were so assessed; hence such assessment of learning is not necessarily always beneficial to the teaching-learning process but for future use, while assessment for learning [which continuous assessment epitomizes] is always used to provide remediation of the challenges in learning encountered by those so assessed.

Assessment for learning [which continuous assessment epitomizes] is always used to provide remediation of the challenges in learning encountered by those so assessed. Feedback from assessment for learning [equally referred to as formative assessment] can be used to remediate defect in learning. Faleye and Ojerinde cited in Akorede (2008) submit that assessment for learning is not a new concept in the school system but it is not well known or practiced. They further reiterated that assessment for learning (AFL) is useful in generating comments that could provide either the teacher or the students or both with direction for improvements of learning or teaching. Baku (2008) opines that assessment for learning enables teachers to identify the strengths and weakness of students at the early stage for remedial purposes or actions. Akorede reports that assessment for learning is promoted in Hong Kong to help provide information for both students and teachers to improve learning and adjust teaching.

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According to Stiggins (2005), assessment for learning changes the direction of the classroom learning process and it results into an instructional intervention designed to increase or improve and not merely monitoring student learning. He further states that research evidences show that the consistent or regular application of principles of assessment for learning can give rise to unprecedented gains in student achievement, especially for low achievers. For example, Gasinzigwa (2008) submits that formative assessment or assessment for learning is an activity which goes on throughout the learning process and is concerned with finding out the learners‘ strengths and weaknesses and giving feedback to both learners and teachers so that the teachers can make appropriate planning for the next instruction. Assessment for learning, according to Shirlee (2011), is used for continual improvement of students‘ performance. It is important to stress that delaying assessment until the end of students‘ education cycle to determine if instructional or educational objectives are achieved will be too late. Therefore, assessment needs to be integrated into the teaching-learning process so that the students can be helped to achieve their full potential.

Continuous assessment (CA) also known as periodic assessment involves testing of students‘ achievement at regular interval to ascertain the level of learning accomplishment so that appropriate remediation measures are recommended if need be and effected. In other words, it offers a methodology for measuring pupil‘s performance and using those findings to improve the success of pupils. Continuous assessment according to Okpala, Onocha and Oyedeji (1993) is a system of assessment which is carried out at pre-determined intervals for the purpose of monitoring and improving the overall performance of students and of the teaching-learning environment. To corroborate this, Emeke (1996) submits that continuous assessment involves systematic use of varied and reliable multiple assessment tools at regular intervals, to determine the performance and ability of the learner in the three domains of behaviour with the aim of getting his truest picture and helping him develop fully his potentials. Ubong and Wokocha (2009) reiterate that continuous assessment which involves periodic assessment of students in the process of teaching the curriculum content was introduced into the Nigerian educational system in 1981 through the National Policy on Education. The method seeks to even out academic effort by ensuring that students do not wait for end of semester or certificate examinations to exert study effort but rather sustain learning throughout a period, for instance, a week, month, term or a semester.

Continuous assessment score is one of the most popular features of all educational structure in Nigeria. Continuous assessment has become a substitute for the orthodox one-shot examinations in schools. Adeoye (2010) observes that the use of the systematic assessment in assessing students‘ learning outcomes irrespective of the teaching strategies is very potent. To Onuka (2010a), continuous assessment is a systematic, comprehensive, and guidance-oriented method of determining the totality of all gains a learner might have obtained in terms of knowledge, attitude and skills, from a given set of learning experiences. He states that the continuous assessment that is effectively conducted could enhance students‘ performance. To buttress this, Onuka and Durowoju (2011a) observe that there was significant relationship between continuous assessment and students‘ achievement in Business Management. Diaz (2011) also affirms that continuous assessment system has a significant positive effect on examination scores. The implication of the above findings is that a well designed and implemented continuous assessment package could go a long way to improve students‘ examination scores or achievement.

An effective continuous assessment is one that is being administered at regular intervals during the school year which promotes regular teacher-pupil interactions. Onuka (2010b) opines that the main emphasis in continuous assessment is not that assessment should be done non-stop, but that it should take place as often as possible (at some regular intervals) and not kept until the end of the term or year. The criteria which form the yardstick of judgement of students‘ performance are those covering the three educational behavioural objectives which are intellect (cognitive), manipulative skills (psychomotor) and feelings/attitude (affective). Onuka (2008), and Onuka and Junaid (2007) posit that in order to cater for all aspects of learning, there is need to use several types of assessment tools/techniques. Continuous assessment technique is designed to provide opportunities for teachers to participate actively not only in teaching but in assessing and evaluating the performance of their students. Continuous assessment technique include teacher-made tests, standardized tests, oral questions, discussion, projects, direct classroom observations, assignments, questionnaires, interview, teacher guided peer assessment and so on (Onuka, 2008). In addition, Nwana (2003) lists continuous assessment techniques to include oral quizzes, tests, take-home assignments, group work, hands-on or practical tests and self cum peer assessment.

Adetayo (2008) submits that the techniques for measuring affective domain are different from those used for assessing cognitive domain. Various instruments exists for measuring affective outcome and these ranges from self-report inventories, questionnaire, observation, anecdotal records, socio-metric techniques, attitudinal scale, interest scale/inventory, checklist, case history method, cumulative record etc. while the techniques for assessing cognitive domain include tests, project work, group assignment, quiz, individual assignment and field work (Hassan, 1998; Bruce-Agbodigi, 2005). However, the methods more commonly used in Nigerian schools are tests and take-home assignments. To confirm this, the study conducted by Onuka and Durowoju (2011a), which investigated the extent to which continuous assessments (CAs) improved students‘ achievement in Business Management revealed that test and individual assignment are the most commonly used techniques for measuring students‘ academic performance, while other techniques such a project, peer assessment, class observation, group assignments were rarely used. Some of the reasons why most teacher use only tests and take-home assignment are due to incompetency in the development and use of continuous assessment tools especially those meant for the assessment of affective domain.

Continuous assessment as stated in the National Policy on Education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004) is expected to cover the three domains of educational objectives namely: the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. According to the policy, students‘ learning outcomes comprise cognitive, affective and psychomotor achievements. It is worth mentioning that education is all about the various learning experiences acquired from cradle to death, hence assessment of students‘ learning outcomes should cover the three domains of learning. Umoru-Onuka (2001) affirms that learning outcomes are the improvements exhibited in students‘ performance in a particular discipline/subject as a result of having undertaken a course of study.

Aina (2002) citing Igwe (2000) submits that Commerce is one of the six components of Business Education. The latter is an embodiment of vocational knowledge and skills needed for entry-level into employment and advancement in a broad range of business careers. Hence, he asserts that due to the importance of Commerce at the secondary school level, the three domains of educational objectives must be assessed. However, most of the continuous assessments done or carried out in the various schools are only measures of students‘ cognitive achievement while little or no attention is given to the affective and psychomotor achievements, thus not putting into consideration the important role these domains could play in learners‘ academic achievement.

Keith (2000) submits that attitude, which is one of the indices of affective domain, affects everything an individual does. Adegoke (2003) citing Kerlinger and Lee (2000) define attitude as an organised predisposition to think, feel, perceive and behave towards a referent or cognitive object. Attitude is an important characteristic that determines pupils‘ success and most importantly learning outcomes in school. Basically, attitude is one‘s mental predisposition or tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain object, such as persons and events (McMillan, 2000). In his own submission, King (2007) declares that attitude is generally regarded as enduring though modifiable by experience and or persuasion and is also learnt rather than innate. It can be described as a state of readiness, a tendency to act in a certain way (Ayoola, 2005). This implies that a student‘s attitude towards Commerce reveals the type of behaviour he/she will put on in achieving success in the subject. Thus, attitude can promote or inhibit students‘ behaviour in the classroom, school, home, and choice of career.

Attitude towards a course or subject greatly affects achievement (Yelland, 2000). According to Ajibade (1993) positive attitude promotes learning while negative attitude hampers it. For instance, a student who is not favourably disposed to English Language or Mathematics, his attitude towards everything about the subjects may likely be negative. Obaitan and Adeleke (2009) also found that cognitive entry characteristics have significant main effect on students‘ attitudes toward bearing in Mathematics. On the other hand, Ategbero (2008) finds that attitude does not have substantial contributions to the achievement scores in Regional Geography. However, Kolade (2005) establishes that student‘s attitude to reading in Nigeria is negative. Obinegbo (2011) reports that it would be a serious omission in the process of teaching the students, if the formation of positive attitude and assessment of attitude are not deliberately planned for and included in the school curriculum.

However, though one of the rationales for the inclusion of continuous assessment in the national policy is to measure students‘ performance in the three domains: cognitive, affective and psychomotor (FME, 2006), studies have shown that assessment of students‘ performance is restricted to the cognitive domain alone. For instance, researchers such as Awotunde and Ugodulunwa (2001) assert that some studies have been carried out to find out the extent to which the objectives of continuous assessment (CA) in Nigeria have been achieved. From the result of the study, they concluded among other things that:

  1. teachers surveyed are more familiar with the use of tests in CA in the cognitive domain and less so in the affective domain.
  2. the objective of reducing examination malpractice through continuous assessment (CA) has not been achieved;
  3. the objectives of improving teaching, guidance of students, and learning have been largely achieved;
  4. there is no uniformity in the instruments used for CA (tests and assignments or a combination of the two). Wokocha and Ubong (2003) confirm that there is no uniformity in CA in the different states of Nigeria and there is no uniformity in the weights attached to CA instruments used in secondary schools.

From the above findings, it can be concluded that one of the reasons why teachers limit assessment of students‘ performance to the cognitive domain is because they have little or no knowledge about the development and usage of other continuous assessment techniques/tools such as peer assessment, oral quiz, observational techniques, socio-metric, questionnaire, attitudinal scale etc.

 

Another justification for conducting continuous assessment (CA) is to ensure provision of feedback for remediation purpose. Durowoju (2010) citing Eisenberg and Goodall Jr. (1993) asserts that feedback is one of the processes of communication; it is the seventh stage of the communication process. The seventh stage is the forming and encoding of feedback, the sender and the receiver must be able to exchange – messages in turn. In the conduct of continuous assessment, it is essential that the teacher gives feedback to the students in form of test scores to enable them identify their areas of strengths and weaknesses in the test. If the teacher fails to give feedback to the students, communication link has been broken or is incomplete. In support of this, Turyatemba (2008) submits that continuous assessments of students‘ performance help in diagnosing their strengths and weaknesses, so that remediation strategies can be developed for the weak and disadvantaged learners in Uganda. Students receive feedback from teachers based on their performance, this allow them to focus on topics they have not yet mastered. Hassan (1998) submits that a well-designed programme of continuous assessment is one that permits constant monitoring of teaching-learning process, modification and improvement of the same on the basis of feedback provided from previous assessments. Though continuous assessment helps to improve teaching-learning process, more importantly it is meant to improve students‘ performance through regular provision of feedback and review (remediation/correction).

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National Institute for Educational Development [NIED] (1999) submits that it is very important to carry out a review of students‘ performance after administered CA has been graded in order to help remediate their discovered weaknesses. This process communicates to the learners expected learning experiences and outcomes, motivates and refocuses learners‘ attention and effort appropriately. It also allows teachers to understand when they have not communicated what was expected from the learners. Durowoju and Oshin (2013) submit that the importance of continuous assessment with feedback and remediation to teachers and students in particular cannot be overemphasised. According to them, continuous assessment with feedback and remediation assists teachers to identify the high and low achievers while the teaching-learning process is on-going thereby enabling them to pay more attention on providing measures to assist the low achievers or slow learners to achieve maximally in the teaching-learning process. It also provides teachers the opportunities of discovering learners‘ strengths and weaknesses in a particular topic i.e. those aspects they have mastered and those they have not grasped or understood. In addition, continuous assessment with feedback gives teachers opportunity to offer both qualitative and quantitative feedback to the learners and the provision of prompt and appropriate remediation (corrective measure) to improve individual or group deficiencies for mastery learning after which teachers can go ahead to plan for the next instruction. On the part of the students, continuous assessment with feedback and remediation enable students to be adequately prepared for end of term examination and this in turn promotes high level of academic self-efficacy in them. Furthermore, it improves interpersonal relationship between and among students as well as between teachers and students.

Based on the importance of continuous assessment with feedback and remediation NIED (1999) further submits that all formal assessments must be reviewed (remediated) with learners to enable them see the correct answers and so that the teacher may be informed of questions that were unclear to the learners. Studies have been carried out to investigate the efficiency of feedback with remediation (correction) for improving students‘ learning outcomes. Some of these studies reported that there is a significant effect of feedback with remediation (correction) on writing accuracy of students (Chandler, 2003; Kolawole (2002); Rauber & Gil, 2004; Bitchener et al, 2005, Ferris, 2006; Hartshorn, 2008; and Liu, 2008). Kolawole (2002) corroborates the findings of Chandler when he observes that the use of feedback strategies led to significant improvement in students‘ achievement in essay writing.

Despite the fact that remediation through feedback is an essential ingredient of continuous assessment meant for improving students‘ performance it has been discovered that most teachers stop the teaching-learning process at the assessment stage. Baku (2008) confirms that currently, continuous assessment is limited to class test, class activities, projects, home work with no provision for remediation to the items of these instruments. According to him, this makes the continuous assessment (CA) simply a replica of the external assessment which WAEC and some other examining bodies conduct. In the same vein, Faleye and Dibu-Ojerinde (2005) state that teachers have not been taking formative or continuous assessment feedback seriously in the classroom and this scenario is not restricted to the Nigerian situation alone, it happened in other parts of the world. For example, Harlen and Crick in Falaye (2008) report that the use of test scores for purposes that affect the future of students have made teachers to concentrate more of their efforts on how their students will pass, rather than using test scores for formative reasons such as provision of feedback for remediation. Furthermore, Onuka and Durowoju (2011a) found that most lecturers do not use the feedback to provide remediation, some do not mark continuous assessment test while some do not have proper records for CA scores. Hence, because of the importance of feedback and remediation in continuous assessment there is need to examine how the two (feedback and remediation) can be used to engender improved students‘ performance.

From studies such as Emeke (1999), Obanya in Bruce- Agogidi (2005) and Onuka (2010b), it has been discovered that the practices of continuous assessment at all levels of educational system especially secondary schools in Nigeria has not fulfilled the purpose of establishing the policy. Most often, instead of conducting continuous assessment systematically, comprehensively and continuously, to improve students‘ learning outcomes and provision of guidance service to students, it is being conducted once or twice in a term for grading purpose. Obanya in Bruce-Agbogidi (2005) observes that continuous assessment results are not used for guidance or for improving teaching and learning and that they do not reflect the affective traits of students. This could be because most teachers do not know the rationale for introducing continuous assessment into our educational system. In the same vein, they lack the skills required for the implementation of, and the knowledge of the various instruments needed for continuous assessment. Emeke (1999) in her study on continuous assessment implementation in Oyo State found that 85% of the teachers felt they lacked knowledge of the techniques necessary for effective implementation of continuous assessment. From the above discussion, it is apparent that the practice of continuous assessment in Nigeria school has fallen below expectation.

There are some psychological constructs that are germane to the conduct of continuous assessments and are capable of determining students‘ performance in any academic pursuit. These constructs are concepts used to describe psychological activities or patterns of activities that are believed to occur or exist but cannot be directly observed or measured. Examples of some of these construct are: intelligence, emotion, teacher-student relationship, parent-child relationship, anxiety, fear, behaviour maladjustment, academic self-efficacy etc. However, in this study the psychological construct under discuss are teacher-student relationship and academic self-efficacy.

Teaching and learning, though not mutually exclusive, are really two different processes. The process of teaching is carried out by one person (teacher) while the process of learning goes on inside of another (student). If teaching – learning process is to work effectively, a unique kind of relationship must exist between these two separate parties. There must be some kind of connection, link, or bridge between the teacher and learner because teachers are loco parentis to the students. Terry (1990) opines that the fundamental question for a student is ―does my teacher like me?‖ According to him, the answer to that simple question is a best predictor of students‘ academic achievement. Onuka and Durowoju (2011b) found that teacher-student and parent-child relationships significantly contribute to students‘ cognitive achievement in Commerce.

It is essential to mention that when students are under-achieving, education policy makers and educational researchers often examine teaching effectiveness, leadership styles, school location, school type, teachers‘ qualifications, teachers‘ gender, class size, curriculum, teaching methodology, instructional materials, funding, and student‘s socio-economic status. Other factors such as establishing relationships among the various players in the teaching industry may be powerful and less expensive ways to improve students‘ learning outcomes. In this era of accountability and transparency, enhancing teacher-student relationship is no mere gainsaying rather it is fundamental to improving students‘ achievement/learning outcomes. From observation, students who have inconsistent relationships with teachers tend to like school less, are less self-directed, less motivated, exhibit indifferent attitude to learning and cooperate less in the classroom as well as in school. Ikechukwu (2002) finds that teacher-student interaction is a significant determinant of achievement in Economics. According to Roeser, Midgley and Urdan (1996), students who reported more positive teacher-student relationships also said that they experienced more positive effect and felt more academically efficacious than others who felt otherwise.

Positive teacher-student relationships are characterised by mutual acceptance, understanding, warmth, closeness, trust, respect, care and cooperation (Good & Brophy, 2000; Krause, Bochner, & Duchesne, 2006; Larrivee, 2005; Noddings, 2005; Smeyers, 1999). The teacher-student relationship in the context of this study goes beyond that which transpires between the teacher and the students during classroom interaction which is essential for effective classroom management. When there is cordial interpersonal relationship between teachers and their students it enhances students‘ attitude to learning, classroom interaction as well as their academic performance. Entwisle and Hayduk (1988), Howes, Hamilton, and Matheson (1994), Pianta (1999), and Sztejnberg, DenBrok, and Hurek (2004) assert that teacher-student relationship greatly influence a student‘s ability to adjust to school, to do well at school, and to relate to peers. The success of any interpersonal relationship is dependent to a large extent upon input from both parties [teacher and student] (Pianta, 1999). In the school setting, it is the teacher who has the opportunity, and indeed, the responsibility to initiate positive interpersonal relationships between himself and his students (Barry & King, 1993; Krause et al., 2006; McInerney & McInerney, 2006; Smeyers, 1999). The teacher who is pro-active in demonstrating acceptance, understanding, warmth, closeness, trust, respect, care and cooperation towards his or her students not only works at initiating positive teacher-student relationships, but also increases the likelihood of building strong relationships that will endure over time (Barry & King, 1993).

There are some variables that are necessary for the development of strong and healthy relationships between teachers and students. These variables are emotional safety and trust (Greenhalgh, 1994), positive emotional involvement (Pianta, Nimetz, & Bennet, 1997), a sense of closeness (Brazelton & Greenspan, 2000), teacher availability (Pianta, 1999; Weissberg, Caplan, & Harwood, 1991) and open communication (Pianta, 1999). These variables according to Natalie and Russell (2007) can be grouped into three broad areas, namely connectedness, availability and communication. Each of these three areas is seen to be a key aspect likely to impact on a teacher‘s ability to develop relationships with the students within and outside the classroom setting. It is noteworthy to mention that high level teacher-student relationship does engender self-efficacy in the student.

Self-efficacy is another factor that has great propensity to determine students‘ learning outcomes. Bandura (2001) asserts that self-efficacy is one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in a particular task. It is a person‘s perception of his/her ability to plan for and to take action to reach a particular goal. Ormrod (2006) refers to self-efficacy as the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner to attain certain goals. Academic self-efficacy refers to a student‘s belief that he or she can successfully engage in and complete some specific academic tasks, such as accomplishing course outcomes, demonstrating competence skills used in the course, satisfactorily completing assignments, passing the course, and meeting the requirements to continue on in his or her major career (Jimenez, 2006). A study carried by Malpass, O’Neil, and Hocevar (1999) showed that self-efficacy is positively related to mathematics achievement.

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Furthermore, research carried out by Vialle (1998) show that there is a significant connection between personalized self-efficacy and productivity. He studied the academic achievements of students involved in science classes in Australia and found that students with high level of self-efficacy showed a boost in academic performance compared to those who reported low level of self-efficacy. The researcher found that confident individuals typically took control over their own learning experience and were more likely to participate in class and preferred practical learning experiences. Those individuals reporting low self-efficacy typically shy away from academic interactions and isolated themselves in their studies.

From the foregoing, it can be inferred that continuous assessment modes, teacher – student relationship, and students‘ academic self efficacy could possibly determine students‘ learning outcomes. It is therefore imperative that a study to verify the above variables on students‘ learning outcomes in Commerce be undertaken, since there are no indepth studies that had addressed the extent to which continuous assessment modes, teacher-student relationship and Commerce self-efficacy can determine students‘ learning outcomes in Commerce.

1.2        Statement of the problem

Continuous assessment (CA) is one of the features of the current structure of education in Nigeria and it is meant to compliment the orthodox one-shot examinations in schools, in order to improve students‘ learning outcomes. Studies have shown that the practices of CA at all levels of the education system in Nigeria are not appropriately done as they were supposed to. Often, instead of conducting CA systematically, comprehensively, and continuously; using various techniques such as written quiz, group assignments, end-of-lesson assessment (test), take home assignment, project, and peer assessment, questionnaire as well as the provision of feedback and remediation to improve students‘ learning outcomes, it is being conducted once or twice in a term. Also, the types of CA techniques mostly used are tests and take home assignments, while studies on how CA affects learning do sometimes ignore feedback which would have necessitated remediation of learning deficiencies.

In addition, researchers in their efforts to find out the reasons for students‘ poor learning outcomes do not take cognizance of the effect of teacher-student relationship and academic self-efficacy on students‘ learning outcomes. However, past studies on teacher-student relationships have focused heavily on instructional aspects of such relationship (interaction in the classroom setting) and largely ignored the social and emotional aspects of teacher-student relationship. Equally, previous researches on students‘ academic self-efficacy have focused mainly on students‘ achievement without considering other factors such as CA modes and teacher-student relationship.

In the light of the foregoing, this study examined the effects of CA modes on students‘ learning outcomes as well as the contribution of teacher-student relationship and Commerce self-efficacy to students‘ learning outcomes in Commerce in Ibadan, Nigeria.

1.3a    Research questions

The following research questions were answered in the study

1.) What is the mean score of students in Commerce achievement test based on each of the Continuous Assessment Mode?

2.) What is the mean score of students‘ attitude to learning Commerce based on each of the Continuous Assessment Mode?

3.) What is the mean score of students‘ perception of teacher-student relationship based on each of the Continuous Assessment Mode?

 

4.) What is the mean score of Commerce self-efficacy based on each of the Continuous Assessment Mode?

1.3b      Hypotheses

Seven hypotheses were tested in the course of this study.

H01   There is no significant main effect of continuous assessment modes on students‘:

  • achievement in Commerce
  • attitude to learning Commerce

H02 There is no significant main effect of teacher-student relationship as perceived by students on students‘:

  • achievement in Commerce
  • attitude to learning Commerce

H03 There is no significant main effect of Commerce self-efficacy on students‘:

  • achievement in Commerce
  • attitude to learning Commerce

H04  There is no significant interaction effect of continuous assessment modes and teacher- student relationship as perceived by students on students

  • achievement in Commerce
  • attitude to learning Commerce
H05 There  is  no  significant  interaction  effect  of  continuous  assessment
  modes and Commerce self-efficacy on students‘:
  • achievement in Commerce
  • attitude to learning Commerce

H06 There is no significant interaction effect of teacher-student relationship as perceived by students and Commerce self-efficacy on students‘:

  • achievement in Commerce
  • attitude to learning Commerce

H07 There is no significant interaction effect of continuous assessment modes, teacher-student relationship as perceived by students and Commerce self-efficacy on students‘:

  • achievement in Commerce
  • attitude to learning Commerce

1.4      Scope of the study

The study covered all public senior secondary two (II) students offering Commerce in Ibadan, Oyo state of Nigeria. The study also focused on the following variables: continuous assessment modes (classroom-based continuous assessment mode, out-of-class based continuous assessment mode; and classroom and out-of-class based continuous assessment mode), teacher-student relationship, Commerce self-efficacy and students‘ learning outcomes (achievement and attitude) in Commerce.

1.5        Significance of the study

This study should be of immense benefit to various stakeholders (teachers, parents, students, counsellors, educational planners and evaluators) in the education industry in Nigeria. Firstly, the results will enable teachers to assist their students to develop a positive academic self efficacy through provision of encouragement and guidance services to them so that their affective and cognitive domains can be improved. It will also enable teachers to develop positive relationship with their students by promoting trust, good communicative skill, fairness, mutual respect, support and openness between them and their students and thus, fostering better classroom management and the resultant learning. Also, it could help teachers to ensure that continuous assessment is comprehensively and progressively carried out by adopting various techniques/modes such as classroom based CA modes (written quizzes, end-of-lesson assessment, and teacher guided peer assessment) and out-of-class based CA modes (group assignments, take home assignment and project) to assess their students‘ performance and also ensure the provision of feedback and remediation. It will also enable them to ensure that continuous assessment covers cognitive and affective domains.

In addition, the findings of the study could help parents to monitor their children‘s academic work both at home and in school. It will also enable the parents to ensure that their children carry out their assignment as at when due so that that they can have improved academic performance. The result of this study will enable parents to encourage their wards to develop positive attitude to school work which will in turn result into improved achievement. Also, the results of this study will enable students to engage in consistent studying. It will afford the students to be exposed to different continuous assessment modes/techniques such as teacher guided peer assessment, projects, group assignment instead of the usually test and individual assignment which they were used to. Through the provision of immediate and regular feedback and remediation, students will be able to receive prompt corrective measures that will enable them to identify those topics they have mastered and those they are yet to master.

Furthermore, the result of the study could assist counsellors to monitor students‘ progress, identify their strengths and weakness in their academic performance and attitude to learning and ensure that adequate counselling and encouragement are provided to students to enhance their learning outcomes. The result of the study will also enable counsellor to ensure that teachers conduct continuous assessment systematically, continuously and comprehensively to improve students‘ learning outcomes and not for grading purpose. The findings of this study will enable counsellors to provide useful information about students‘ learning outcomes to the school management in order to make adequate planning on issues that will promote students‘ learning outcomes.

The result of the study could also help education managers and policy planners to fashion ways of engendering harmonious relationship among students, teachers and principals by organising workshops, seminar and conferences. These will assist in ensuring that an enabling social and academic environment that will be conducive for learning is created for the principals, teachers and students to jointly improve the degree of attainment of learning outcomes by the students.

Finally, the outcome of this research could enable educational evaluators to undertake and sponsor research in the development and administration of continuous assessment techniques suitable for assessing students‘ learning outcomes in Nigerian schools, so as to improve teachers‘ efficiency and effectiveness in the use of continuous assessment techniques/modes. It will also enable educational evaluators to organise in-service training for Commerce teachers to expose them to the rudiment of developing and utilizing continuous assessment modes for assessing students‘ achievement and attitude toward learning Commerce.

1.6      Definitions of terms

1.6.1             Conceptual definitions

Continuous Assessment (CA): Continuous assessment is a periodic testing or assessing of pupil‘s achievement at regular interval to ascertain the level of learning accomplishment.

Academic           Self – Efficacy: Academic Self-efficacy refers to students‘ confidence in their ability to succeed in academic task or a particular course of instruction.

Feedback: The provision of continuous assessment scores to students after each assessment.

Remediation: Facilitating corrections on previous assessment in order to improve students‘ learning outcomes.

1.6.2.   Operational definitions

Continuous Assessment Modes: This refers to the modes used to progressively assess students‘ performance in the study. These modes are classroom-based continuous assessment, out-of-class based continuous assessment; as well as the combination of classroom and out-of-class based continuous assessment.

Classroom based Continuous Assessment Mode: These are assessment techniques used within the classroom setting to determine the extent to which students have gained in the topics taught. These techniques are teacher guided peer assessment, end-of-lesson assessment and written quiz.

Out-of-class based Continuous Assessment Mode: These are assessment techniques used outside the classroom setting to ascertain the extent to which students have gained in the topics taught. These techniques are group assignment, take home assignment and projects. The teacher asked thestudents to do take home assignment and project at home while the group assignment will done out of class

Classroom and Out-of-class based Continuous Assessment Mode: This is the combination of classroom based and out-of-class based continuous assessment modes. These are assessment techniques used within and outside the classroom to assess students‘ performance. These techniques are teacher guided peer assessment, end-of-lesson assessment, written quiz, group assignment, take home assignment and projects.

Teacher-student Relationship (TSR) – This is characterized by warmth, open communication, care, empathy, closeness and concern measured at three levels: Low (30 – 59), Moderate (60 – 89) and High (90 – 120).

Commerce  Self-Efficacy:  This  refers  to  student‘s  confidence  in  his/her

ability to study and succeed in Commerce measured at three levels: Low (18

– 35), Moderate (36 – 53) and High (54 – 72).

Learning Outcomes: This refers to the two levels of educational objectives: cognitive and affective domains which were measured using Commerce Achievement Test (CAT) and Students‘ Attitude to Learning of Commerce Scale (SALTCS) respectively.

Teacher guided peer assessment: This is a method by which the teacher guides the students to set benchmark for assessing and using the criteria to assess one another‘s test.


Pages:  250

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF                

Chapters: 1-5                                 

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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