COMPARISON OF THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCES OF STUDENTS ADMITTED TROUGH UNIVERSITY MATRICULATION EXAMINATION AND DIRECT ENTRY MODES.
(A CASE STUDY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTEGRATED SCIENCE, COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, IKERE-EKITI. EKITI STATE, NIGERIA.)
Background of the study
The realization that education is an instrument for national development has compelled the federal government of Nigeria to make education accessible to every Nigerian irrespective of the socio-economic background. For instance there is provision for all levels of education starting from the primary to the tertiary level. With the recognition of education as a veritable key to individual and national development clamour for education especially tertiary education has increased in the recent times.
The general societal expectation on a university student is high. Under normal circumstance; an average undergraduate student should face academic studies with ease. He should be able to pass his courses without embarking on any form of examination malpractice because of his numerous experiences in public examinations he has passed through before gaining admission. In Nigeria, university students are expected to be sound academically. They are expected to have sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) as an achievement test and pass at the minimum requirement and have also presented themselves for Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Examination as a selection test and pass at acceptable cut-off point before being offered admission into the University (Salim, 2006).
Despite these public examinations that Nigerian undergraduates do go through; academic performance among university students are far below expectations most especially in the last one and half decades. Many students hardly pass all their first year courses, majority of those who successfully do so, have poor grades. Greater percentage of university graduates in Nigeria today fall below Second Class Upper division; the number of spillover students in various departments are on a high increase. The situation is now worse as those who even manage to graduate are not productive in the labor market because they fail to meet the expectation of the employers (Ajaja, 2010).
The mode of admission of candidates into first degree programmes in the universities is in three major forms. These include admission through the direct entry, admission through the universities matriculation examination (U.M.E) and admission through the pre-degree programme. Admissions through the universities matriculation examination (UME) and direct entry are being handed by the joint admissions and matriculations Board while admission and through the pre-degree programme is being handed by the universities themselves (Akper and Fagbongbe (1999).
In Nigeria, it is glaring that the university is regarded as the most important industry for the production of high – level manpower and the capstan of the entire educational system. University training, according to University matriculation examination (1997) aimed at raising the intellectual tone of society, cultivating the public mind, purifying the National taste, supplying the principles of popular aspirations and giving enlargement and sobriety to ideas of the age. It is not surprising them that stakeholders in University of the education tend to guard jealously the integrity of the University and the quality of graduates produced.
It is on record that Nigerian Universities. These graduates have distinguished themselves in their areas of specialization so much that some of them are now professors in the best Universities across the globe. This attestation is futile resounding more so that quality entrants transformed into quality graduates.
In recent years, however, the accolade attached to Nigerian Universities seems to have faded away. This is informed the flood of criticism that beckoned the admission procedures and quality of graduates produced. In the keynote address delivered at the first education submit of Oyo state held in Ibadan, Okebukola (2006) decried the quality of graduates produced in Nigerian Universities especially in the last four years and thumbed would graduate in the next three years.
An important issues when trying to understand why graduates from Nigerian Universities are devalued in academic quality in looking at the various entry modes of the entrants and distinguishing which of them provides the desired academic standard. Currently, most Nigerian Universities admit Candidates into science courses on the basis of their performance in either the Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) conducted by the joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Advanced level Examination or its equivalence in relevant science subject for Direct entry (DE) into 200 level or the pre-degree science (P D S), strictly controlled by the Universities running such a programme.
For Nigeria to realize her developmental goals in science and technology, quality entrants into science courses in Nigerian Universities must be meticulously selected using valid and credible entry mode so that those selected might have expected academic competencies to pursue the chose courses. This study therefore compare between academic performances of students admitted through University matriculation Examination (UME) and student admitted through Direct Entry (DE) with a view to identifying the best mode for selecting quality entrant into mathematics in Nigerian Universities.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Despite the importance of Integrated Science, it is very important to note that the students admitted through University matriculation Examination (UME) into the Integrated Science department perform differently from students admitted through Direct entry (DE).
The focus of this study therefore is to compare and determine which mode of entry into the Universities is the best for Integrated Science in University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ikere-Ekiti Campus.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.
Specifically, the study wants to critically examine the difference between the academic performances of student admitted through Universities matriculation examination (U M E) and direct entry (D E). The objectives of the study are to:
- Find out the performance of students admitted through universities matriculation examination (U M E) in Integrated Science Department.
- Find out performance of student admitted through direct entry (D E) in Integrated Science Department.
- Compare the performance of student admitted through Universities matriculation examination (U M E) direct entry (D E).
- Identify the causes of differences in performances.
The following three research questions were raised to assist the
- Is there any significant difference in the performances of students who were admitted through UME mode and direct entry mode in degree Integrated Science Education?
- Is there any better performance of students who were admitted through direct entry mode to that student who were admitted through UME degree counterparts?
- Is there any significant difference between the performance of students admitted through UME mode of entry and direct entry mode at their final year level (400 levels)?
Based on the above research questions, the following three hypotheses were formulated and tested.
- There is no significant difference in the performances of students who were admitted through UME mode of entry and direct entry mode in degree mathematics Education.
- There are better performances of students who were admitted through Direct entry mode to that student who were admitted through UME mode.
- There is significant difference between the performance of student admitted through UME mode of entry and direct entry mode at their final year level i.e (400 levels).
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is important because it is hoped that it will increase the performance of students admitted through Universities matriculation examination (U M E) and the performance of the student admitted through direct entry (DE) to reproduce scientific skill and knowledge base capability.
It is expected that both universities matriculation examination (UME) and direct entry (DC) students should develop creative capabilities in their academics to improve their performance.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY.
This study involves only the department of Integrated Science in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Ikere-Ekiti Campus and not be able to involve a large sample than the one selected here because of the limited time for the study and the need for adequate and in-depth study also makes it mandatory for the researcher to be limited to a department.
DEFINITION OF TERMS.
Jamb– The joint admissions and matriculation board (JAMB) is Nigeria’s official entrance examination board. The examination being administered is available for most student who choose to apply to Nigerian public and private monotechnics, polytechnics and universities.
Direct Entry: This is an application for admission which is made direct to the university after tertiary institution service center (TISC) applications have closed.
Nigerian Certification in Education (N.C.E) is a special A- level grade course intended for secondary school and their equivalent.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter reviews the related literature for the study. The purpose of this chapter is to review pertinent literature and what previous theorists and scholars have done in relation to the study. What the findings are and what else is left to be done, and brief appraisal of the literature with a view to sharpening the researcher’s knowledge about the study.
2.1 Conceptual Framework
The importance of education to national and social economic growth and development is immeasurable (Adeleke & Ogunwale, 2009). However there can never be any functional education without high and credible standard which must be sustained for any meaningful development in a society.
Since the inception of university education in post-independence, the government of Nigeria has been trying her best to ensure that academic standard is maintained in the university system. This led to the establishment of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) which conducted its first university matriculation examination in 1978. (Ubani 2010). The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) was established in Nigeria in the year 1976 for some obvious reasons part of which were: Irregularities in the West African Examinations Council’s (WAEC) examination, Multiple admission by the decentralized admission policy which denied others opportunity, Comparability of standards problem across universities based on minimum standards requirement.
The board was established to streamline and co-ordinate admission practice in Nigeria (Ezeudu, Agwaga and Agbaegbu 1997). The first examination of the board which was conducted in May 1978 was without hitches. Since the inception up till the present times JAMB examinations have remained about the most turbulent examinations in Nigeria (Nwana 1978). Turbulent in the sense that it is coming at a point in time when the young adolescence is trying to plunge into life head long thereby entering into all kinds of deals to meet up with their seemingly perched thinking of life. The members of this turbulence are continually being fired by societal influence. Parent see fulfillment in what their wards will be and not in what they are, thereby aiding and abating this dangerous cankerworm called examination malpractice (Umo & Ezeudu, 2010).
The term academic success is described as the scholastic standing of a student at a given moment. It refers to how an individual is able to demonstrate his/her intellectual abilities. This scholastic standing could be explained as the grades obtained in a course or groups of courses; and the way in which a student has attained the grades including the time he or she passed examination and after passing examination.
Owoyemi, (2000) argued that a prediction of a future examination result could be made with reasonable success on the basis of the results of an earlier examination and that grades may serves as prediction and cortisone measures.
As a measures of prediction, Dockery,(2000) investigated the effects of intelligence quotient on academic achievement and found that achievement scores increased as the intelligence quotient increased.
One need to observe the environmental concomitants during JAMB examination in some areas, such as high rate of infiltration in school compound including swift vehicular movement through which malpractice is aided and abated. Some staff quarters are converted to mini clearing houses for bridging examination gaps (Umo, 2005). Some examiners are bribed into allowing unauthorized materials into the hall. Some of them are even used as organ of dissemination of worked answers. In this scenario, the school environment which is supposed to be characterized with calmness is infested with noise, rowdiness, disturbance and misdemeanor (Umo & Ezeudu 2010).
By the beginning of 21st century JAMB criticism became a national issue as students who score as high as 180 and above in JAMB examinations for University admission were not, and are still not able to read and write properly (Gbore, 2007). In 2005 the former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo openly accused JAMB of corrupt practices which had affected the standard of education in Nigeria. His statement attracted a lot of actions and reactions which in effect rendered JAMB incapable of being a yardstick to rely upon as true reflection of candidates’ performance. The then president of Nigeria went ahead to recommended that further screening be conducted for students who had the accepted cut- off point for university admission in JAMB, this brought about the inception of Post-JAMB screening in Nigeria (Ebiri, 2006).
It is quite disheartening that JAMB faces serious criticism at the time that it has introduced innovation to curtail examination malpractice. JAMB has tried so much to avert this ugly situation through the help of security agents. JAMB has also used different number systems and codes for different subject combinations to discourage mass cheating, the result of the whole of Nsukka zone, comprising about eight big towns in Enugu state were cancelled which resulted in blacklisting the affected centres from taking the examination for upward of 5 years Umo & Ezeudu, (2010). In the just concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, JAMB asked candidates not to come with any writing material to the examination hall and promised to provide same, unlike normal Nigerian settings, students who doubted JAMB by bringing their stationery were disappointed. In spite of all these efforts, cheating still prevail in JAMB examinations. The cartoon in one of the Nigerian daily newspapers, the Saturday Vanguard, June 9, 2007 demonstrated a pathetic scenario JAMB find itself in; ‘examination malpractice is now a monster bullying JAMB like a child and snatching away her question papers. The newspaper puts up a pertinent and rhetoric question, who is really in charge of the question papers – Malpractice or JAMB?’ Umo & Ezeudu (2010)
It has become obvious that JAMB alone cannot single handedly solve this problem due to so many intervening factors that come into play. Nwafor & Onuoha (2006) identified many factors that cause examination malpractice in Nigeria such as psychological stress due to fear of failure, insufficient preparation for examination, general high level of corruption in the society which includes the home, the school and the community, teachers’ lack of discipline and low academic ability among others. This means that many more organizations and institutions have to join hands in tackling this issue. Umo (2006) emphasized mapping the boundaries of stake holders involvement as government, Parent-Teacher association, and indeed the entire society have to be involved in fighting this menace