Assessment of Unified Examinations Programme in Selected Science Subjects among Public Secondary Schools in Lagos State, Nigeria
Performance, which is how well an individual is able to demonstrate desired abilities, is a cardinal concept in education. The centrality of this concept is derived from the goal of instruction, which is to bring about desired changes in the knowledge, skills and attitude of students. The unified examinations programme was introduced by the Lagos State Government to check the challenges of students’ poor performances in external examinations among others. However fifteen years after its introduction, students’ performance still remain poor.The poor performanceof the students in science subjects are a matter of grave concern to all stakeholders in education in the State andchemistry educators in particular. Students’ consistent low performances in chemistry calls for urgent attention because of the central position chemistry occupies among the basic sciences.This is more worrisome because students’ performances on the attributes of interest in a particular subject provide an insight into the degree of efficiency of the machinery of education.Thusthere is the need to ascertain the procedures of the unified examinations conducted by the Lagos State Ministry of Education so as to determine their quality and standards. This study therefore assessed the Unified Examinations Programme in Chemistry and Mathematics subjects among public secondary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria. Seven research questions and hypotheses were generated to guide the study. Descriptive survey research design was used for the study. The sample for the study consisted of 15 unified examinations programme personnel of the Basic Education Services (BES) Department, Lagos State Ministry of Education, 108 unified examinations administrators (which comprised 12 unified examination administrators from the six Education Districts, 48 Principals and 48 Vice Principals), 48 Heads of Science Department, 48 science teachers, 48 SS2 Science class teachers, 960 SS2 science students who were selected through multi-stage sampling procedure. The instruments for data collection were the Programme Assessment Questionnaire (PAQ), (which had the Basic Education Services Department and the science teachers’ versions), Students’ Attitude to the Unified Examinations Scale (SAUES), Administration and Supervision of the Unified Examinations Questionnaire (ASUEQ), Teachers’ Assessment Questionnaire (TAQ) and Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT) with Cronbach’s Alpha reliability Coefficients of 0.72, 0.74, 0.67, 0.83, 0.84 and 0.76 respectively. The data generated were analyzed using One- way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), paired sample t-test and Pearson Product Moment Correlation at 0.05 level of significance. The results from the study revealed that there are no uniformities in the promotion criteria used in the public secondary schools, the students’ school attendance patterns and attitude to the unified examinations programme across the six Education Districts in Lagos State; there were uniformities in the modes of administration of the unified examination papers, the rate of completion of the science subjects’ schemes, the school attendance and attitude of the science teachers to the unified examinations programme. The procedure for constructing the unified examination test items varied from the standard process guiding test items construction and the students’ performances in unified examinations questions could not significantly predict their performances in a chemistry achievement test. It is recommended that the unified examinations programme should be conducted by the State Examinations Board with a mandate to establish uniform standards for the construction, administration and scoring of the examinations.