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 Background of the Study

Education, either formal or informal continues to shape the three domains of human development. These are the cognitive, affective and the psychomotor domains. Much then is said that formal education remains the vehicle for social-economic development and social mobilization in any society. Therefore, education at the basic level must be of a quality that will help the young ones to acquire skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that will enable them to contribute positively to the social, economic, political and moral development of the society.

It is a common practice these days in Nigeria for people to compare modern day     graduates from the basic schools to those of the ‘Middle’ Schools era in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Some graduates from the ‘Middle’ Schools gained direct entry into the Civil Service; some got appointed as Pupil (untrained) Teachers and performed creditably. The Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders in education have put in place a number of measures aimed at addressing this perceived poor performance of pupils at the basic level of education and improving the general quality of education in the country.

Education might be seen as the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youth. This is because the development of any nation or community depends largely on the quality of education of such a nation. It might also be seen as helping individuals to grow, develop, earn a decent living in the society and contribute positively to the welfare of the society in which they live. It is generally believed that the basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources. It could also be considered to be a reliable tool for poverty reduction apart from its direct functions of increasing knowledge, building skills, values and attitudes and opening for critical thinking.

According to Mayer (1960), a teacher’s influence can be unlimited and his/her ideas can affect thousands. He further states that one of the foremost problems of education deals with the recruitment and preparation of teachers. Recognizing this and the fact that pupils’ performance at the basic level cannot be improved without a conscious effort at upgrading the knowledge of teachers at this level of education, the Government of Nigeria has initiated certain policies aimed at improving the quality of teachers at the basic level.

Various researchers have investigated and found a number of factors that contribute to poor performance of pupils in basic schools in Nigeria. The findings of these researchers are available and presumed to be guiding policy makers in addressing this problem at hand, yet pupils’ performances at the basic school level continue to fall in the country, especially in the rural areas and among fishing communities. There is therefore the need to conduct further research into the causes with the view of finding out other factors contributing to poor performance of students in the schools and probably suggest ways of managing them.

Statement of the Problem

Academic performance of students in Accounting Examination has received much attention of late in the Nigerian educational system. At the beginning of every academic year when (WAEC) results are released, educational stakeholders raise a lot of concerns about the falling performance of students. Quansah’s (1997) analysis of the National Criterion Reference Test (CRT) results showed poor mastery of numeracy and literacy of students, especially in the rural areas.

Some schools in the Ondo State have similar problems of poor performance of students in the WAEC. From the analysis of the 2009 WAEC results (refer to appendix B) of 19 public schools in Ondo state Education state, twelve (12) schools had below 50% pass with one school scoring zero per cent pass. Results from the previous years were no better. From the comparative analysis of the 2007 and 2008 WAEC results for the Central Region (refer to appendix B), out of the 13 districts that took part in the examination, 9 districts showed fallen standard in performance.

Even though researches (Adjei, 1996; Paaku, 2008) have identified some internal and external school related factors that have contributed to this state of affairs in certain parts of the country, the education directorate and parents in the Ondo State have expressed great concern about the recurring failure of students in Accounting Examinations especially in the public schools. There is therefore the need to conduct an inquiry into what factors contribute to this state of affairs and to suggest ways of improving upon the situation hence this research.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to find out factors that contribute to poor performance of students in the Accounting examination in Ondo state State.

 Therefore, the specific purpose of the study is to:

Identify school related factors that contribute to poor performance of accounting students.

Find out what factors outside the school environment affect the academic performance of students in Accounting.

 Discover what mechanisms exist in monitoring students’ performance in schools in Ondo State.

 Research Questions

 In order to meet the purpose of the study, the following research questions guided the study:

What school related factors affect the academic performance of accounting students?

What outside school factors influence academic performance of students in accounting Education?

What mechanisms exist in monitoring students’ academic performance in schools in Ondo State?

 Significance of the Study

It is envisaged that findings from the study may reveal factors that influence the academic performance of students in Accounting Examination in Ondo State. This exposition would help ondo state state Directorate to adapt workable measures or strategies that are likely to improve the performance of students in accounting.

The study would provide information that is likely to be useful for the purposes of In-Service Training for teachers and other stakeholders in education in the State. It may also serve as a reference material for policymakers to consider in the design of programmes to pursue at the basic level of education that might yield encouraging WAEC results.

Finally, this study is likely to inspire other researchers to embark on similar studies into factors affecting academic performance of students in Accounting Examination in other Districts and satieties, so that more general information about factors that contribute to falling standards in education especially in Public schools could be obtained and addressed to improve academic performance of students.

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