Factors Associated With Mass Failure Of Student In English Language In Secondary Schools (Case Study Of Nsukka LGA)

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Factors Associated With Mass Failure Of Student In English Language In Secondary Schools (Case Study Of Nsukka LGA)


This study was on the factors associated with mass failure of students in the English language in secondary schools in Nsukka L.G.A of Enugu State. Using simple random sampling procedures, the researchers drew 128 students and 50 teachers from nine state owned secondary school of Enugu State.

Questionnaires were used to elicit information from the respondents- Teachers and students on the problems associated with mass failure of secondary school student in English language in WAEC Examinations. The questionnaire items included qualification and experience of the English teachers, the methods they adopt in teaching the subject, the materials available to them for use in teaching the subject, the influence of the vernacular language in student learning of the subject and home environment.

In analyzing the data collected, means scores were used to answer the research questions. The results showed among other things, that the teachers knowledge of teaching the subject is not updated often times and that there is absence of teaching facilities in most of the schools while vernacular language and home environment have negative impacts, towards the students’ the findings, recommendations were made and implications were highlighted. This was followed by suggestion for further studies, summary of the study and conclusion.

Table of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Approval Page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table Of Contents
  • List Of Tables

Chapter One:

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Statement Of The Problem
  • 1.2 Purpose Of The Study
  • 1.3 Significant Of The Study
  • 1.4 Scope Of The Study
  • 1.5 Research Question

Chapter Two:

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Frame Work
  • 2.2 Empirical Study
  • 2.3 Summary Of Literature Review

Chapter Three:

3.0 Research Method

  • 3.1 Design Of The Study
  • 3.2 Areas Of The Study
  • 3.3 Population Of The Study
  • 3.4 Sample And Sampling Techniques
  • 3.5 Instrument For Data Collation
  • 3.6 Validation Of Instrument
  • 3.7 Method Of Data Collection
  • 3.8 Method Of Data Analysis

Chapter Four:

4.0 Result

Chapter Five:

5.0 Discussion, Conclusion, Implications, Recommendations And Summary

  • 5.1 Discussion Of Findings
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Implication Of Findings
  • 5.4 Recommendations
  • 5.5 Limitations Of The Study
  • 5.6 Suggestion For Further Research
  • 5.7 Summary Of The Study
  • References
  • Appendix 1
  • Appendix 2

List Of Tables


  1. Qualification and experience of English teachers
  2. Methods employed by the teachers in teaching English
  3. Availability of Instructional materials for teaching English language in the schools
  4. Influence of vernacular language in learning English language
  5. Influence of the home environment

Chapter One


1.1 Statement of the Problem

Perhaps not much attention has been given to the performance of students in junior secondary school subjects in recent years. This neglect, no doubt has relegated this junior subjects to the background in our junior secondary certificate examination. A close look at the 2004/2008 JSSCE result records, confirms that students’ performance has been very poor generally and the increase number of school dropout in the area of study is a clear pointer of the theme. The poor performance is caused by many factors such as; students ineffective study techniques, quality of teachers and method of teaching, the parent’s inability to provide useful materials like textbooks, exercise books and school fees and problem of inadequate instructional materials for teaching and learning of English language in schools.

In philosophical view of these causes, this study therefore is specifically designed to assess the factors associated with mass failure of English language in junior secondary school certificate examination in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State.

1.2 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to find out the factors associated with mass failure of English language in junior secondary school certificate examination. The interests of the researchers are to examine critically and identify the factors associated with mass failure of English language in junior secondary school certificate examination specifically, the study sought to find out if:-

  1. There are sufficient numbers of qualified English language teachers and instructional materials for teaching of English language.
  2. The previous socio-economic background of the students affect them in studying English language.
  3. The attitude and interest of students towards the nature of English language contribute deeply to their mass failure in JSSCE especially in English language.

1.3 Significance of the Study

The student will be able to appreciate the importance of the effective domain like interest and motivation in improving their performance. With this awareness, the student might put up a positive attitude towards English language which will increase their performance and enhance higher grades in junior secondary school certificate examination. Teachers will also be able to adjust their teaching methods and offer remedial helps where they find out that students are putting up a low attitude. State government will also see the need of guidance and counseling in each schools, the ministry of education and curriculum planners for better organization of junior subjects in education.

1.4 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study was focused on the factors associated with mass failure of English language in junior secondary school certificate examination in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State. Due to military factors such as time and other resources and the inconvenience of handling a large scope, the researchers focused only on junior English language.

1.5 Research of the Study

To carry out a detailed study of the research, the following research question will guide to study:-

  1. Are there sufficient numbers of qualified English language teachers and instructional materials for teaching English language?
  2. Does the previous socio-economic background of the students affect them in studying English language?
  3. Does poor attitude and low interest of students towards the nature of English language contribute deeply to their mass failure in JSSCE especially in English language?

Chapter Five

Discussion Of Findings, Conclusion, Implication, Recommendation And Summary

5.1 Discussion of findings

This study has been able to arrive at same findings from the analysis of data that was done in the previous chapter in answer to five research questions that guided the study. Firstly, the researchers discovered that most of the English teachers in the schools studied posses the required academic qualification for teaching the subject at this level.

However, the researcher also discovered that seminar and or workshop are hardly organized for the teachers on new methods of carrying out their works. This discovery however is not hovel but is in accordance with early findings of Bardi (1986) that the knowledge of teaching most subject are hardly upgraded or updated in most public schools in Anambra State. He continued that teachers of public school should be exposed to new discoveries in teaching their subjects as is done in most western nations for greater efficiency.

In a related comment Inogie (2001) states that the more qualified teachers there are in a school, the higher the attainment level of the students.

The next discussion is the absence of modern methods of teaching English language in most of the schools studied. The text method and chalkboard. In addition, they usually employ their local dialects in teaching. This situation may not promote the learning and understanding of the subjects as noted by Urevbu (1997) that the use of Pidgin English and mother tongue causes reduplication and faulty translation of the English language. In a recent study done by Ikonta (2006) in the causes of poor performance in English among Nigeria high school students, the methods adopted in teaching the subject by the teachers were identified as major factors. The researchers identified the absence of audio-visual equipment in teaching the subject in most Nigerian schools and wondered how the teachers carry out their jobs especially the teaching of the oral aspect of the subject. The foregoing support the view of Bamgbose (1993) that effective teaching of English language must involve the use of modern methods like the use of audio-visual equipment and constant exposure of the students to stimulating to environments through excursions and field trips. These situations are unfortunately absent in most of the schools used in the study.
It was discovered that nearly all the schools visited lacked good library facilities and teaching materials like projectors, charts, computer and audio-visual equipments like radio and television. This situation calls for urgent attention since according to Awosiyan (2005) schools without the required modern teaching materials make the work of teaching very difficult for the teachers and the task of learning very hard for the students. He calls for establishment of language laboratories in our colleges to ease the work of language, teachers and enhance the performances of students in the subject in internal and external examinations.

Similarly Dike (2006) while commenting on the performances of WAEC candidates in English language in May/June examination in 2006 noted that student performed so poorly in English language, literature in English and Chemistry due to poor preparations occasioned by poor teaching techniques and absence of essential teaching materials. He stated that the unfortunate situation has led to students, engagement in examination malpractice which led to the withholding of the results of sixty eight thousand one hundred and eight five (65,185) candidates in Nigeria. It is always easy to lay blames of poor results in English language on the candidates; but the fact that the students are usually poor prepared plays a greater role in their poor performance in the subject. If the syllabus is properly covered and the students taught with modern teaching methods and materials, greater percentages of them will pass at credit level. This is why few of the students who have goods background in their families do perform better than others. In most of the schools used in this study, the teachers inform the researchers that 2006 May/June WAEC results in English language will go down in history of the school as the worst result for the past ten years. This is a sad situation and calls for urgent remedies. The situation further vindicates the relevance of this study. There seem to be an unending need to identify the factors associated with mass failure of student in English language and seek solution to them.

Another aspect of the finding that need to be mentioned is the influence of vernacular language in the teaching and learning of the subject. It was discovered from the respondent as presented in table four that vernacular language interferes with the learning of the subject especially the oral aspect. It as also discovered that the background knowledge of the mother tongue posses inherence problem to students. These seem to corroborate earlier studied carried out by Bamgbose (1993). He contends that English in the Nigeria domain has assumed the function of expressing adequately the way of life of the multifarious cultures found in Nigeria. He maintain that it’s contact with an equally outrageous number of languages subdues it to internal and structural changes. These changes are not only limited to the usual features of transfer of phonological, lexical, synthesis and semantic patterns of Nigeria languages into English, but also include the evolution of distinctively Nigeria usages, attitude and pragmatic use of the language. I n the same vein, Adeniran (1987) states that basically, a Nigerian user of English is a locus of his mother tongue and English. He is bilingual and bicultural. His performance in the target language, as it were will be conditioned by structural, linguistic as well as socio-cultural interferences which may be quaint. Such quaintness, according to him can be classified and accounted for as either deviance or deviation. These (deviance and deviation) indicates a shift from standard English.

Finally, the study indicates that the home environment is a major factor that affects the performance of the student in the subject. It was discovered that parent do not go beyond the level of buying texts and writing materials to their children, other aspects of encouraging the children are lacking in most of the homes where the children come from. The language of communication in most homes is not English language, this is not in line with the result of a study carried out by Egbe (2005) on he relationship between family background and achievements of student in writing in English language. The researchers discovered that children from homes that adopt English as the medium of communication in the home write better English than their counterparts. He maintains that children do better when parents support them by supervising their school works and hiring teachers to teach them after school hours. He concluded that those whose parents teach them or hire teachers to teach them perform better than others.

5.2 Conclusion

The following conclusions were drawn based on the finding s.

  1. Periodic training to teachers inform of workshops, seminars and conferences enhance their performances in teaching English language.
  2. There is a positive relationship between the use of modern methods of teaching English language such as audio-visual materials, field, trips etc and good performance of students in the subject.
  3. Availability and use of teaching materials in teaching the subject leads to better performance of the students in English language.
  4. Mother tongue in some parts of Nsukka local government Area has a negative influence on the student understanding of the subject.
  5. Parents support and supervision of the school work of their children have a positive effect on their children’s achievement in English language.

5.3 Implication Of Findings

The findings of this research have a number of educational implications for the family, the students, the teachers and the society. Since there is the need to constantly train the teachers even while on the job, the authorities concerned should always organized seminars and workshops regularly to the teachers to enhance their performances and updates their knowledge in the subject.

The above situation may be contributory to the fact that the teachers do not employ the modern methods of teaching the subject. This has a great implication to the schools and teachers. The teachers is faced with a professional challenge and with the co-operation of the Government should be trained constantly.
Furthermore, since the majority of the schools lack the necessary equipment, the school authority and the government should provide them. This is more glaring since it has been established that their is a positive correlation between the efficiency of the teachers and the teaching material available for them.

In addition, English is the second language in Nigeria. In other words, it is the language of compromise in a community where a multiplicity of languages is spoken. The child is first exposed to the mother tongue which forms the language of teaching up to primary schools. The implication of this to education is that the two languages will be interfering with each other as the child grows. If the child lacks the opportunities to over come this problem, his performances in the subject will ever be affected interestingly, one of the important objectives of government’s educational policy is the provision of equal educational opportunities for her citizen. Thus, the government is faced with the task of providing the students with the opportunities of free access to book and non-book material that promotes English language learning.

Finally, the finding have great implications for society, it will help to re-orientate people on the way they verdicts on the poor performance of students in English language in both internal and external examinations. The trend has always been to heap the whole blame on the child and the school and to allow the family and the government to wear the garb of innocence. This study proves otherwise, it has combined the family, the students, the school, the teachers and the government as having roles to play in helping the students to improve on the performance in English language in internal and external examination.

5.4 Recommendations

On the basis of the already studied educations, the researchers do hereby make the following recommendations.

  1. Periodic training should be given to teachers through seminars, workshops in-service training conference. This will update teacher’s knowledge at improving in English language instruction in schools.
  2. Government should provide teaching materials and improved educational facilities such as modern library textbooks, audio-visual aids ad educational toys to school if improved education is to be offered students.
  3. An up-to-date library should be in our secondary schools.
  4. There is the need for government to embark ion public enlightenment campaign on the need for parents to create goods environment for their children by providing them with books and materials.
  5. Debating and dramatic societies should be established in schools. These societies offer the student wonderful opportunities in learning English language.

5.5 Limitation Of The Finding

Certain problems arose during the execution of the study, in the first place, the period the researcher were ready to administer the instrument coincided with the period when most schools have finished their examination fore the third term of 2005/2006 session. The researchers were therefore forced to wait until schools re-open for both 2006/2007 academic session since both the teachers and the students were no where to be found.

Finance constitutes another major problem since some of the schools selected for the study are located in remote areas of the local government.

Finally, the scope of the study is too small to be used to generalize in the findings.

5.6 Suggestion For Further Research

This study cannot pretend to have said all there is to be said on the topic.

Therefore, the following studies can also be embarked upon by other researchers in the area of teaching and learning English language in Nigeria.

  1. Lexical Deviation in written English among Nigeria high School students. Impact and implication for language instruction.
  2. The effect of mother tongue and Pidgin English on the understanding of English language by students in secondary schools.
  3. The problems encountered by teachers in teaching English language in Nigeria secondary schools.
  4. A replication of the same study in another local government area of the state

5.7 Summary Of The Study

The present study was aimed at finding out the factors associated with mass failure of student in English language in school certificate examination in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State. Fifty English language teachers and one hundred and twenty eight students from nine secondary school in Nsukka Local Government Area were used for the study. The instruments consisted of teachers questionnaires which has four sections A-D. The first section A elicited information from the respondents (teachers) on their academic qualification, years of experience in the jobs and frequency of attending seminars and workshops on their subject area. The second section elicited information on the methods the teachers adopt in teaching the students while section C and D elicited information on the availability of teaching material in learning the subject respectively. The student’s questionnaires sought information on the influence of the home environment in learning English language by the students.

Five research questions were formulated for the study. Mean score was used in analyzing and results of the revealed data collected. The results of the revealed may things. In the first instance, it showed that the teachers usually adopt the old method of using only the text book and chalkboard in teaching the subject due to absence of modern teaching materials. The results also show that most of the students lack encouraging family background as far as learning English language is concerned.

In the light of these findings, some recommendations were made. These include that periodic training should be given to teachers through seminars, workshops, in-services training and conference. It was also recommended that government should provide teaching materials and improved educational facilities such as modern libraries texts and audio-visual aids. Other recommendations include that government should embark on public enlightenment campaign on the need for parents to by providing them with books and other materials. Finally it was also recommended that school authorities should be encouraged to form debating and dramatic societies in their schools.

At the end, as a result of more insight gained and limitations encountered by the researchers in the cause of the study, suggestions for further research were made.

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