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PERCEPTION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHER QUALITY AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background to the study
Education and its benefits can never be over emphasized as the root of economic, industrial, political, scientific and technological, and even religious development. All aspects of development are centered on education.
Education is one of the vital instruments for development in any nation. Every educational system at every level depends heavily on teachers for the execution of its programmes. Teachers are highly essential for successful operation of the educational system and important tools for the educational development.
Teachers at all levels of education play the decisive role in pivoting the growth and the direction of education. It is an acceptable fact that teacher is the most important cog in the educational machine and that teachers are highly instrumental to the success of any educational programme embarked upon by any government. This is because apart from being at the implementation level of any educational policy, the realization of these programmes also depends greatly on teacher‟s dedication and commitment to their work (Adeniji 1999).
(Kaplan and Owings 2001) indicate that two broad areas define teacher quality. Darling-Hammond (2000) states that the characteristics of teacher quality
are: verbal ability, subject – matter knowledge, knowledge of teaching and learning the ability to use a wide range of teaching strategies adapted to student needs.
Quality of a teacher is another very influential determinant of the classroom environment (Lundberg and Linnakyla, 1993). A teacher‟s qualities include preparation and training, the use of a particular instructional approach and experience in teaching. This insight is shared by Mullis, Kennedy, Martin and Sainsbury (2004) who indicate that teacher quality is an important determinant of pupil performance.
The quality of education hinges on the quality of teaching that goes on in the classroom reinforcing the idea that quality teachers make up for the deficiencies in the curriculum and in educational resources (Anderson 1991). Teacher quality is widely thought of as an essential determinants of academic performance, yet there is little agreement as to what specific characteristics make a good teacher (Hanushek and Rivkin, 2006). This is an important issue as the economic impact of higher student achievement can be a function of the depreciation rate of student learning, the total variation of teacher quality (as measured by student achievement on standardized tests), and the labor market return to one standard deviation of higher achievement.
Researchers, policy makers, parents and even teachers themselves agree that teacher quality matters. But defining, measuring and identifying teacher quality is a far more controversial task.
Subject matter knowledge is another variable that one might think could be related to teacher quality. While there is some support for this assumption, the findings are not as strong and consistent as one might suppose. Studies of teacher‟s scores on the subject matter tests of the National Teacher Examination (NTE) have found no consistent relationship between this measure of subject matter knowledge and teacher performance as measured by student outcome or supervisory ratings. Most studies show small, statistically insignificant relationships, between teacher quality and students academic performance.
Secondary education is the pivot around which the development of the nation‟s economy revolves. It is the engine room that provides the input, resources into the nation‟s economy and higher education production systems.
The National Policy on Education (2011 Revised Edition) looks at secondary education thus:
- Secondary education is the education children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage.
- The broad goals of secondary education shall be prepare the individual for
a) Useful living within the society; and
b) Higher education
- In specific term, secondary education shall :-
a) Provide all primary school leavers with the opportunity for education of a higher level, irrespective of sex, social status, religions or ethnic background;
b) Offer diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents, opportunities and future roles;
c) Provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commence at sub-professional grades;
d) Develop and promote Nigerian languages and culture in the context and world cultural heritage;
e) Inspire its students with a desire for self improvement and achievement of excellence;
f) Foster national unity with an emphases on the common ties that unite us in our diversity;
g) Raise a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the values and feelings of others, respect the dignity of labour, appreciate those values specified under our broad national goals and live good citizens;
h) Provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development.
- To achieve the stated goals secondary education shall be of six years duration given in two stages; a junior secondary school stage and a senior secondary school stage; each shall be of three years duration.
The development of Nigeria‟s education system since independence has been characterized by a rapid expansion. Due to the development or expansion, the registration concerning universal basic education (UBE) claims that access is to be provided for all children by the year 2015. UBE also aims to improve equal and qualitative learning opportunity for all children. How can the nation get a qualitative education? Who is a qualitative teacher?
Research for education and learning (Marzano R, Pickering, & Pollock,
2001). Teacher effectiveness research is grounded in classroom and often uses classroom – based assessments. However ,the recent Aspen institute report, beyond NCLB (Commission on No child Left Behind, 2007), written to guide the reauthorization of NCLB, defines “effective” in terms of teacher‟s ability to improve student achievement as measured on standardized tests.
Qualitative teacher is the one who selects right approaches to teaching, knowledgeable, intelligent content mastery, hardworking and efficiency, self discipline, tolerant, friendly, who serves as a role model through good characters and manner commitment, respect for profession, dedicated, loyal
and responsible. The current framework for teacher training in Nigeria is based on the NPE (2004) which emphasized on the quality of teachers.
On the other side, students‟ achievement refers to their academic performance. However the research will focus on the qualitative aspect of teachers and its relationship for the performance of students academically.
A good teacher is perhaps the most common and least precise of all terms. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of teaching, describes a good teacher in the following way: in the classroom of a good teacher, students are visible, engaged, attentive and participating. In good teaching, students are responsible for their learning; they are accountable for their understanding. Good teaching is passionate, and it induces an emotional response in students…good teaching starts with inducing habits of mind, but doesn‟t stop there. Good teaching engages practical thinking and problems-solving skills that can be applied in a variety of settings. And good teaching affects students‟ values, commitments, and identities.
As stated above, the definition of teacher quality indicates certain qualities that make a qualitative teacher. There are so many problems that are associated with teacher quality, more especially in our secondary schools. The percentage of the students that pass their final exams that is WAEC & NECO in the last five to six years, the rate of failures in the examination is becoming so alarming. Some elites see the problem as a supply/demand issue: The profession is not attracting the “right” individuals into teaching. Some view the quality problem as a concern about preparation. From this vantage point, teacher who complete university-based programs do not leave with the
appropriate knowledge and practices to be effective in contemporary classrooms.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The Federal Ministry of Education (2006) reporting on Nigeria, revealed that the academic performance of students in the senior school Certificate Examinations conducted between 2000 and 2006 was below fifty percent (50%). The falling standard of education in the nation is becoming so high, more especially in our secondary schools. The students are performing very poorly in their academic performance. Their continuous assessment is poor; their terminal examination is equally very disappointing (“F.C.E Staff secondary school 2009 end of third term examination” report). The performance of Nigerian Secondary School students in external examinations showed 98% failure rate in the 2009 November/ December Senior School Certificate Examinations conducted by the National Examination Council (NECO- SSCE); out of the total number of 230, 682 candidates who sat for the examination, only 4,223 obtained credits level passes and above in five subjects including English and Mathematics (Bello – Osagie & Olugbornila, 2009).