Factors Associated with Mass Failure of Student in English Language

Factors Associated with Mass Failure of Student in English Language
Factors Associated with Mass Failure of Student in English Language

ABSTRACT: The study was conducted to investigate Factors Associated with Mass Failure of Student in English Language in senior secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. In assessing this, three research questions were formulated based on the purpose of the study.  The population of the study was 2103 senior secondary two (SS2) students from 11 public secondary schools. Questionnaire on factors associated with poor students performance in English language was the instrument of data collection. Data collected were analyzed using simple percentage and mean. Findings showed that large class size, poor school environment and lack of utilization of instructional materials are those factors associated with mass failure of students in English language in senior secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Based on the findings, it was recommended that the government should employ and post more English language teachers, construct more classroom blocks and provide relevant materials for secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area to help in promoting effective teaching and learning of English language.

Factors Associated with Mass Failure of Student in English Language



1.1     Background to the Study

English Language is said to be a human specific mode of expressing thought, ideas and wishes through verbal (that is spoken) and non-verbal (written) symbol. This definition reiterates that English Language necessarily serves humans in a multitude of ways. English Language is said to have a great impact on the cognitive development of man, (that is man is able to express his thought and views through language). It is a well established fact that English Language came into Nigeria through colonization centuries ago and three main groups of people emerged from this contact of English with the indigenous languages of Nigeria, they are: the British, the new Nigerian elites trained in Britain and the native indigenous population trained in Nigeria. 

Similarly, English Language has established itself firmly in Nigeria thus; its importance cannot be over emphasized. Apart from being an official language, it is the robe that ties members of the different speech communities together in inter-communication relationship. It is a common instrument that draws on socio-cultural identification.

Furthermore, in view of the importance of English language in Nigeria, the National universities Commission (NUC) adopted a policy and made English Language a compulsory subject for students to be eligible for admission into any university and other higher institutions of learning. Secondary school students must pass English Language at credit or distinction level in order to gain admission into higher institutions. Given the importance of English Language as a subject, common sense demands that students must perform well in it. 

For some years now, quite a number of factors have been revealed as being responsible for students’ performance in junior and senior secondary schools certificate examinations (JSSCE and WASSCE). According to Oladiran (2000), ambiguous curriculum in most cases fails to realistically address the needs of students’ performance in English Language. While parents are blaming examination bodies for the decline in students’ poor performance, examination bodies are also blaming unseriousness on the part of the students for the mass failure. Meanwhile, students are saying that examination bodies intentionally fail them. Looking at students’ failure rate in the past years, one could allude the downward trends to many factors.

Adejimola (2007) is of the opinion that many of our schools are poorly equipped; some do not have libraries, laboratories and conducive classrooms. Ofogebu (2012) asserted that the poor performance is attributed to family background amongst other variables that is related to the home environment. Also, teaching equipment such as chalkboard, chalk and textbooks are lacking in some public schools. These inadequacies have a way of influencing English Language students’ performance.

Moreover, Shittu (2004: 90) had earlier observed that students’ performance depends a lot on the socio-economic background of the child. The Ministry of Education on their part does not employ qualified teachers non post qualified teachers to schools. Umoh (2008) also noted that some of the staff of these examination bodies is not men and women of proven integrity, some of them leak examination questions. This apart, staffing in most examination bodies is inadequate and so the resort to recruitment of supervisors and invigilators who do not share the same aspirations as their employers. He further concluded that this discourages students in performing well in English Language in secondary schools

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Scholars and researchers generally are in agreement that students’ performance in English Language is very poor and have presented several factors associated with the mass failure of students in secondary schools certificate examinations such as West African Certificate Examinations (WACE), National Examination Council (NECO) amongst others. The goal of WAEC is to be a world class examination body. It is also aimed at maintaining internationally accepted procedures for examinations by providing qualitative and reliable educational assessment. Despite the efforts of WAEC officials and other bodies at improving the quality of students’ performance, there has been a noticeable decline in the performance of students in English Language and other subjects. Okoye (1999:12) observes that the high rates of failure noticed yearly in public examinations are only symptoms of a pervasive national failure syndrome.

It has also observed that most teachers lack the right attitude to work, experience and are sometimes overloaded in terms of students’ population. They believed that these deficiencies contribute significantly to the growing rate of failure of students in English Language. These trigger the researcher to investigate the factors associated with mass failure of students in English Language in senior secondary school in Uyo Local Government area and to proffer solutions to these problems so as to better the performance of students in English Language in certificate examination.

Factors Associated with Mass Failure of Student in English Language

1.3     Purpose of the Study

1.4     Significance of the Study

          The findings of this study shall be significant in the following ways:

  1. The findings of this study will enable teachers to appreciate the effect of method of teaching, strategies and the selection of appropriate instructional materials in motivating the students during the teaching learning process.
  2. It is hoped that the outcome of the study will help the Ministry of Education (M.O.E) and school administrators to reassess the importance of instructional materials and at the same time make it as a law for all teachers of English Language to start using instructional materials in teaching.
  3. It will assist the curriculum planners to put in place those missing links in the use of instructional materials and fill i8n the gap during curriculum planning.
  4. It will serve as a reference material for future researchers on related topic.
  5. If this is achieves, there will be a better performance in English Language and in all the subjects offered in secondary schools.
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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of onlineproject.com.ng. A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.