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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 7 NO 1, JUNE, 2009

THE PREDICTIVE VALIDITY OF WEST AFRICAN SENIOR SECONDARY CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION (WASSCE) FOR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN THE UNIVERSITY

 

Juliet Ogadinma Ajuonuma

Faculty of Education, Imo State University, Owerri

and

N.D. Mkpa

Pre- Degree Programme Unit, Abia State University, Uturu

 

 

 

Abstract

The study was designed to investigate the Predictive Validity of WASSCE and first and second year Grade Point Averages (GPAs) in Imo and Abia state universities. Students in departments of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, microbiology and statistics of the above universities whose records were available for 1997/98 to 2000/01 sessions were purposively selected to constitute the sample. The relationship between the WASSCE scores and first and second years grade point averages in the above mentioned subjects were determined using regression model and t-test. Result shows that there is significant relationship between students’ grade points in WASSCE; and first year and second year GPAs of students in both universities. The significance showed that students who did well in WASSCE also did well in both universities. It was therefore recommended that the said universities should continue to use the services of West African Examination Council for placement of students.

 

Key words: Predictive; validity; performance; academic.

 


Introduction

Validity of a test refers to the extent to which the test measures what it is supposed to measure.  A test is said to have predictive validity if an individual’s score in the test can be used to predict his future performance (Nwana in Ajuonuma, 2004).  Predictive Validity is therefore basically concerned with how well a test can predict future behaviour. 

 

WASSCE result is one of the requisite qualifications for entry into Nigerian Universities.  WASSCE as well as GCE is conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC).  A candidate must possess the minimum requirements with respect to WASSCE / GCE (five credits in not more than two settings) before he is given admission into any Nigerian University (NUC in Adekunle, 2003).  The WAEC which was established in 1953 conducts the WASSCE in some forty subjects administered in objective, essay and practical modes (Nwana, 2000). WAEC has the technical capacity to process numerous objective test papers.  Considerable item – banking of hundreds / thousands of standardized test items in its variety of schools subjects has been undertaken by WAEC to back up its examinations at this level in which it has had monopoly since the late 1950s (Nwana, 2000).   The WAEC serves Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghambia.  The WAEC became in charge of many local and overseas examinations in Nigeria.  With time, signs of its being overburdened were evident.  Such overburdening led to a lot of problems such as delay in publication of results and examination malpractice.  In 1977, there was a public outcry over the credibility of public examinations conducted by WAEC.  This led the Federal Government of Nigeria to set up the Justice Sogbetun Judicial Tribunal of Inquiry into the affairs of WAEC. 

 

Among the tribunal’s findings were that WAEC had excessive load, having taken up the conduct of nearly all the public examination in the country and this had in turn affected drastically the effective conduct of WASSCE (Nkwocha, 2002)  A renowned measurement and evaluation expert, O.C. Nwana at the 15th conference proceedings of Association of Educational Assessment in Africa held in 1981 at Kaduna in Nigeria noted that the credibility of Nigerian certificates (WASSCE inclusive) has started facing serious scrutiny in many foreign countries because of the rate of examination malpractices in the country.  Based on the above, the credibility of WASSCE results became in doubt.  Since WASSCE results appear to have lost credibility, it implies that universities may not have been admitting the right candidates (since they use WASSCE results as part of requisite qualifications for admission) and also that WASSCE results may not have predictive validity.  The wonder then is whether the fears stated above are founded? Could it be possible that WASSCE results do reasonably predict the performance of first and second years universities students?  The problem of the study therefore is to find out whether the WASSCE results do reasonably predict first and second years performances at university level with particular reference to IMSU and ABSU.

 

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study were

i.          To ascertain the pattern of relationship between the WASSCE and first year cumulative grade point averages in mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, statistics and microbiology of students in the relevant universities.  

ii.         To ascertain the pattern of relationship between the WASSCE and the second year cumulative grade point averages in mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, statistics and microbiology of students in the universities.

iii.        To examine the extent to which the independent variable (WASSCE) contribute to the prediction of the dependent variable (first and second years GPAs).

iv.                To determine whether the coefficient of regressions are significant or not.

 

Research Questions

1.         What is the simple linear regression coefficient between 0’level examination grade and first year GPA?

2.         What is the simple linear regression coefficient between 0’level examination grade and second year GPA?

 

Research Hypotheses

1.         The simple linear regression coefficient between 0’level certificates grades and first year GPA in the sciences in Imo and Abia state universities is not significant (P<.05).

2.         The simple linear regression coefficient between 0’level certificates grades and second year GPA in the sciences in Imo and Abia state universities is not significant (P<0.05).

 

Methods and Procedures

Designs

This is a correlational survey of the extent of relationship between WASSCE and performances of students in their first and second years in Imo and Abia state universities. It involves establishing the extent of relationship between the three variables of interest: the WASSCE, first year GPA and second year GPA of students’ performances in Imo and Abia state universities.  Generally, correlational studies are undertaken so as to ascertain how far scores or frequencies of observation on two or more variables go together in some trend or are independent.  In this study, the simple linear regression model was adopted.

 

Population

The population comprised seven thousand four hundred and sixty (7,460) students of faculty of science who were admitted in 1997/98–2000/2001 through the university matriculation examination and who completed their first and second years in the two universities.

 

Sample and Sampling Technique      

The sample for the study comprised two thousand, three hundred and eighty (2,380) students purposively sampled from the population. 


 

 

Description of the Sample Based on Pattern of Admission

 

Table 1:  Admission into Faculty of Science, Imo State University Statistics (1997 - 2001).

 

First Year

 

Admission                                           Departments

Year                 Maths   Physics     Chemistry    Botany    Zoology     Statistics  Micro  Total

1997-1998       5          12                    28            47          20              8               53       173

1998-1999       6          18                    14            16          26              8               55       143

1999-2000       13        27                    12            18          22              6               52       150

2000-2001       17        12                    6              2            36              8               46       127

TOTAL            41        69                    60            83          104            30             206    593

Source: Imo State University

 

Second Year

 

Admission                                           Departments

Year                Maths   Physics      Chemistry    Botany    Zoology   Statistics    Micro    Total

1997-1998       5          12                    28            47          20              8               53       173

1998-1999       6          18                    14            16          26              8               55       143

1999-2000       13        27                    12            18          22              6               52       150

2000-2001       17        12                    6              2            36              8               46       127

TOTAL            41        69                    60            83          104            30             206    593

 

 

 

Table 2: Admission into Faculty of Science.  Abia State University Admission Statistics (1997 - 2001).

First Year

Admission                                           Departments

Year                Maths    Physics     Chemistry    Botany    Zoology   Statistics     Micro  Total

1997-1998       4          12                    14            14         22               6               49       127

1998-1999       4          10                    12            12         30               4               56       146

1999-2000       5          4                      10            10          24              7               38       189

2000-2001       6          27                    16            16          36              15             55       175

TOTAL            19        53                    52            52         112             32             218    597

 

 

Second Year

dmission                                              Departments

Year                Maths    Physics     Chemistry    Botany    Zoology    Statistics   Micro    Total

1997-1998       4          12                    14            20         22               6               49       127

1998-1999       4          10                    12            30         30               4               56       146

1999-2000       5          4                      10            27          24              7               38       189

2000-2001       6          27                    16            20          36              15             55       175

  TOTAL          19        53                    52            97         112             32             218    597

Source:Abia State University

 

 

 

Instrument for Data Collection

The instrument for data collection was a proforma that enabled the researcher copy from the students’ records.

Method of Data Collection

Grade points of students in WASSCE and first and second years grade point averages constituted the data that were used for the study and they were collected from students’ past records in the registry departments, Imo and Abia state universities.  The researcher also used the university supplied grade point average computation table to compute the Grade Point Averages where they were not computed.

 

Data Analysis

The data were analyzed after abstracting information from students’ records.  Simple linear regression models involving three variables (two dependent and one independent variables) were used to carry out the analyses.  The independent variable is the WASSCE scores and the two dependent variables are the first year GPA (Y1) and second year GPA (Y2).

            The t – test was used to test if the linear regression coefficients were significant.

 

Results

 

Research Question 1:     What is the simple linear regression coefficient between 0’level examination grade and first year GPA?

 


 

Table 3: Regression coefficient (a1) and coefficient of determination (r2) between WASSCE results and first year grade point average. 

 

University     Sample                Regression Coeff. (a1)                                 Coeff of det. (r2)

IMSU               593                              0.46                                                     0.11

ABSU              579                              0.82                                                     0.58

           


 

From table 3, the simple regression coefficient of WASSCE scores and first year GPA is 0.46 in IMSU and 0.82 in ABSU.  The coefficients of determination in IMSU and ABSU are 0.11 and 0.58 respectively.  The values obtained imply that the regression is moderate in IMSU and high in ABSU, this suggesting moderate relationship in IMSU and a strong relationship in ABSU.  The estimated regression equations are


 

IMSU:  Y1        =          0.32     +          0.46 x1

ABSU: Y1        =          2.08     +          0.82 x1

(Y1 = Year 1 GPA, X1 = West African Senior School Certificate Examination Results). 

 

Research Question 2

What is the simple linear regression coefficient between 0’level examination grade and second year GPA?

 

 

Table 4: Regression Coefficient (a1) and Coefficient of Determination (r2) between WASSCE Scores and Second Year Grade Point Average.

 

University  Sample      Regression Coeff. (a1)                          Coeff. Det. (r2)

IMSU         593                                    0.77                                                     0.33

ABSU        597                                    0.71                                                     0.24

           


The results of analysis of data, from table 4, show that the regression coefficient between 0’level examination grade and second year GPA is 0.77 in IMSU and 0.71 in ABSU.  The coefficients of determination are 0.33 and 0.24 in IMSU and ABSU respectively.  The values in both universities are high, showing high or strong relationship between 0/L grade and second year GPA in the two universities.  The estimated regression equations are:


 

IMSU:  Y2        =          1.85     +          0.77 x1

ABSU: Y2        =          1.38     +          0.71 x1

(Y2 = Year 2 GPA)


Answers to Research Hypotheses based on the Results Analysis of Data

 

Hypothesis 1: The simple linear regression coefficient between grades 0’level certificates and first year GPA in sciences in the Imo and Abia state universities is not significant (P< 0.05).

 

From the computer print out, the computer given probability level of t is 0.00 in IMSU and 0.00 in ABSU.  The set probability level of t is 0.05.  The null hypothesis is therefore rejected since the set probability level of t is greater than the computer given probability level of t.  This implies that there is a significant linear relationship between 0/L examination grades (x1) and first year GPA (Y1) in both universities.

 

Hypothesis 2: The simple linear regression coefficient between grades 0’level certificates and second year GPA in the sciences in Imo and Abia state universities is not significant (P < 0.05).

 

Null hypothesis is also rejected in the two cases here (IMSU and ABSU).  This is because from the computer print out (showing analyzed data of IMSU) the set probability value of t (0.05) is greater than the computer given value of t (0.00).  In addition from computer print out (showing analyzed data of ABSU) the set probability value of t (0.05) is also greater than the computer given value of t which is 0.00.  This therefore implies that the relationship between 0’level examination grade and second year GPA is quite significant in the two universities.

 

Discussion in Relation to Regression Coefficient Between 0/L Examination Grade and First Year GPA

 

From table 3, the simple linear regression coefficient between 0’level examination grade and first year grade point average is 0.46 in IMSU and 0.82 in ABSU. These values obtained are moderate in IMSU and high in ABSU showing apparently moderate to high relationship between the two variables in both universities.  The computed coefficient of determination in IMSU and ABSU are 0.11 and 0.58 respectively.  These show that 11 percent and 58 percent of the total variation in the GPA in IMSU and ABSU are explained by variations in 0/L examination grade while 89 percent and 42 percent of the variations in GPA in IMSU and ABSU are attributable to the influence of other factors not explained by the regression function.

 

These relationships were shown as significant in both universities in view of the t – test.  Here, the set probability level of t which is 0.05 is greater than the computer given probability level of t which is 0.00 in the two universities suggesting therefore, that 0/L examination grade significantly determined performance in the first year.  This implies that most of the students who performed very well in 0/L examination equally did well in first year examination in the two universities.  That is to say, that passing the 0/L examination very well is a guarantee that the individual will pass very well in the first year examination.  This agrees with the findings of Bakari in Ajuonuma 2004 where he found a significant relationship between 0/L examination grade and their first year academic performance for school of humanities in Bayero University, Kano.  The reason, according to the researcher, for this significant relationship may be the similarity in content and method between the 0/L examination and first year examination.  This is supported by Thorndike’s (1969:558) theory of transfer of learning.  He stated that:     

Transfer could occur from one learning situation to another having common functions and elements.  As the similarities increase between the different situations, the amount of transfer increase.

 

In fact, the idea suggests that a student’s performance in one examination may affect the other provided there is similarity of content which will make for transfer of learning on the part of the student.  The knowledge and skills they acquire in 0/L are prerequisite knowledge and skills for academic work in the first year in the university. 

 

Discussion in Respect of Regression Coefficient between 0/L Examination Grade and Second year GPA

 

The results from the data analysis clearing reveals in table 4 that the regression coefficients between 0/L examination grade and second year GPA are 0.77 and 0.71 in IMSU and ABSU respectively.  These values are high and show positive and strong relationship between the two variables in the two universities.  The coefficients of determination from the same table, are 0.32 and 0.24 in IMSU and ABSU respectively.  These mean that 32 percent and 24 percent of the total variations in the GPA in both universities are explained by variations in the 0/L examination grade while 68 percent and 78 percent of the variations in GPA in the two universities are attributable to the influence of other factors not explained by the regression function.

 

From the computer print out, the computer given probability levels of it are 0.00 in both universities and this value is less than the set probability level of t which is 0.05.  The null hypothesis was therefore rejected and the alternative accepted which implies that the relationship between 0/L exam grades and second year GPA is quite significant.  This is in line with the findings of Soyibo (2004) and Somola (2003) who found a significant relationship between 0’level examination grade and second year grade print average at university of Ilorin.  

 

Implications of the Research Findings

From the results obtained, those who do well in WASSCE tend to do well in Imo and Abia state universities.  One can, therefore use WASSCE to screen and admit students into Imo and Abia state universities. The results of this study indicate fruitfulness in the curriculum planning.  Planners of senior secondary school and Imo and Abia State universities curriculum should ensure that there is some link.

 

Conclusion

Despite the views of people against the findings of this study, the result of this research shows that 1996/97 – 2000/01 university selection examinations in IMSU and ABSU were effective in that it succeeded in identifying in that level of accuracy, students who would perform well in first and second years sessional examinations in Imo and Abia state universities programmes.  This inference is drawn based on the fact that the regression coefficient obtained were high and the simple regression coefficient when subjected to statistical test using t – test showed high level of significance.

 

Recommendations

On the basis of the findings of this research, the researcher makes the following recommendations:

1.         Universities should continue to use WASSCE results for the placement of students into Imo and Abia state universities.              

2.         The Government should try and curb malpractice to ensure validity and reliability of the scores obtained in WASSCE so that candidates who should have scored low grades end up scoring higher grades with low performance in the universities.

3.         Civility of the WAEC should be enhanced to ensure that the circumstance in which the testing has taken place reflects a normal teaching / learning atmosphere in which assessment is integral to, not external to learning with aliens.

4.         WAEC should ensure credibility of the results to the extent that the testees should regard the results obtained from the test as reflecting actual competence in performance and excellence.

 

 

References

 

Adekunle, C. (2003). Crisis and Problems in Education in Nigeria. Ibadan: University Press.

 

Ajuonuma, J. O. (2004).  Predictive Validity of Prerequisite Qualifications for Academic Performance in the Universities. Unpublished Degree Thesis, Abia State University Uturu.

 

Nwana, O.C. (2000). Evaluation of school and College Examinations in the Nigerian Education System.In Fafunwa, A.B.,(ed) Educational Foundation. Ibadan: Wemilore Press (Nig) Ltd.

 

Nkwocha, P.C. (2002). A study of the Psycho-social Correlates of Examination Malpractice among Adolescents in Imo State. An Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, Abia State University Uturu.

 

Somala, J. L. (2003).  The Predictive Validity of Prerequisite Qualifications and Second Year University Performance.  Unpublished Degree Thesis, University of Lagos.

Soyibo, M. N (2004).  The study of the Relationship between Entry Qualifications and Academic Performance in the University.  An Unpublished Masters Degree Thesis, University of Lagos.

 

Thorndike R. L. and Hagen, E. P. (1969).  Measurement for Social Reconstruction in Education.  New York: Macmillan.