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Teacher Quality and Gender as Predictors of Primary School Pupils Performance



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 Achievement, yet there is little agreement as to what specific characteristics make a good teacher (Hanushek and Rivkin, 2017). 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 pupils Academic Achievement

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, 2018), 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, pupils‟ achievement refers to their Academic Achievement.  However the research will focus on the qualitative aspect of teachers and its relationship for the performance of pupils 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, pupils are visible, engaged, attentive and participating. In good teaching, pupils are responsible for their learning; they are accountable for their understanding. Good teaching is passionate, and it induces an emotional response in pupils…good teaching starts with inducing habits of mind, but doesn‟t stop there. Good teaching engages practical thinking and problemssolving skills that can be applied in a variety of settings. And good teaching affects pupils‟ 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 pupils 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 (2017) reporting on Nigeria, revealed that the Academic Achievement of pupils in the senior school Certificate Examinations conducted between 2000 and 2017 was below fifty percent (50%). The falling standard of education in the nation is becoming so high, more especially in our secondary schools. The pupils are performing very poorly in their Academic Achievement. Their continuous assessment is poor; their terminal examination is equally very disappointing (“F.C.E Staff secondary school 2018 end of third term examination” report). The performance of Nigerian Secondary School pupils in external examinations showed 98% failure rate in the 2018 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, 2018).

In the 2018 May/ June Senior School Certificate Examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WASSCE), only 25.99% of the total number of candidates obtained credit level passes and above in five subjects including English language and Mathematics, while in 2010 May/ June WASSCE, out of the 1,135,557 candidates that sat for the examination, only 337,071 (24.94%) obtained five credit level passes and above in subjects that included English language and Mathematics. (Owadiac, 2010).

Mathematics is one of the compulsory subjects that pupils must offer in

Post Primary School not minding whether such pupils are in Science Commercial, Arts or Social Science class. In Secondary School curriculum according to National policy on education (2004), there are core subjects as well as electives that pupils must offer.

The public unhappiness becomes more prominent following the annual release of the West African senior school certificate examination result.

pupils‟ outcomes do not match the government and parental investment. All stakeholders are concerned about why the system is bringing out graduates with poor result. To them, it is questionable whether or not teachers in our secondary schools, the most important factor in the effectiveness of schools and in the quality of a child‟s education is competent to teach effectively. The national policy of education states that, “No educational system can rise above the quality of teachers in the system.”(FGN, 2017)

The federal government of Nigeria has made several attempts and enacted laws concerning the development of education. Among such attempts is the law concerning the recruitment of teachers this is done in order to achieve educational aims and objectives. This could be achieved if there are qualified teachers to teach at the appropriate level. There is need for this research, in order to achieve educational aims and objectives. This could only be achieved through having qualitative teachers to teach at the appropriate level. There is need for this research, in order to find out if there is any relationship between teachers‟ quality and pupils‟ achievements, more especially in these few years that the nation is witnessing the massive failure of (SSCE).

This study aims at determining, whether there is a relationship between Teacher quality and gender as predictors of primary school pupils performance.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

This study is set to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Determine the effect of teachers‟ qualification on the primary school pupils performance.
  2. Investigate the effect of teacher‟s years of teaching experience on the primary school pupils performance.
  • Establish the impact of teacher‟s knowledge of subject matter on the primary school pupils performance.

iv.Find out whether teachers Gender affect the pupils Academic Achievement in English in selected primary schools.

1.4 Research Questions

The study sought to provide answers to the following research questions:

  1. What is the effect of teachers‟ qualification on the primary school pupils performance?
  2. Does teachers‟ year of teaching experience affect the primary school pupils performance?
  • What is the impact of teachers‟ knowledge of the subject matter on the performance of pupils ?
  1. Do teachers Gender affect pupils‟ Academic Achievement ?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were raised for this research;

HO1: There is no significant relationship among pupils Academic Achievement in English taught by teachers of different qualifications in primary Schools.

HO2: There is no significant relationship among pupils Academic Achievement in English whose teachers have different years of teaching experience .

HO3:  There is no significant relationship between pupils Academic Achievement in English whose teachers possess knowledge of the subject matter and those whose teachers do not possess knowledge of the subject matter in English in Primary Schools.

1.6  Significance of the Study

The purpose of any educational research is to contribute to the development of knowledge. The research findings would be of great help to the government and other stakeholders by revealing the relationship between the quality of teachers and pupils‟ Academic Achievement in our schools. This will consequently guide the ministry in adopting a new policy of  recruiting teachers i.e. to make sure they recruit qualified teachers who are highly effective i.e. those with knowledge of content, teaching experience,professional certificate and overall academic ability.

The findings will be of benefit to pupils, most especially those in the post graduate studies, to add more, or to contribute from where the researchers stopped or what is left to be done in the area of study.

The research findings will be of benefit to any individual who is interested in knowing the relationship between teachers‟ quality and pupils‟ achievement. The findings will be of great importance and help in conference writing related to the area. It will make teachers plan and present their lesson excellently and also those unqualified teachers to go and further their studies so as to meet the minimum required qualification for teaching.

The research findings will help the society to dictate what is to be included in the curriculum so as to improve the quality of the teachers as well as the pupils. This study will be of significance to curriculum planners. The information from this study will be of benefit to the curriculum developers of the National policy on education to forestall all the lapses during the course of building.

1.7    Scope of the Study

The study is concerned with teachers‟ quality, gender and pupils‟ Academic Achievement. The researcher was restricted to teachers and pupils of  Primary schools of  Degema Local Government Area.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Operational definition of terms is defined as a statement of the procedures or ways in which a researcher is going to measure behaviors or qualities. The operational terms would frequently be used in the research work. Definition of the terms is very important for full understanding of the whole study.

Teacher Quality:    Means attributes of teachers that reflect their competence for effectiveness in teaching learning process, for example, their professional qualifications, their experiences and communicative competence.

Relationship:  Means influencing one variable over another as a result

of treatment.

Pupils’ Academic Achievement:  Knowledge and skills of pupils at the end of  teaching-learning process.

Professional Teacher: Teacher with teaching certification in Hausa e.g  B.AEd/BEd Hausa MEd MA.Ed




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