1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is a means of helping children to develop their personality through learning experiences provided by teachers, parents and significant others. The rate and progress of this development is ascertained in the classroom learning exercises, so students enter secondary school education after graduating from primary school around the age of 12 years where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education are usually compulsory up to a specified age, take place and where children usually transfer from one class to another according to their academic performance in continuous assessment and their examination after each session.
The purpose of continuous assessment is to provide a means of determining whether or not classroom learning experiences are resulting in the desire development in students. It helps to make data-based judgments about programmes which provide the learning experience designed to help students to a certain level of development in Biology as one of the most important subject in science.
Biology (Ernst Haeckels’ Tree of Life, 1979), the term Biology is derived from the Greek word, BIOS “life” and the LOGIA “study of “. Therefore, Biology is a natural sciences concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structures, functions, growth, origin, evolution, distribution and taxonomy.
It has been observed that majority of senior secondary school students prefer to study Biology, no matter their career interest. This is aimed at fulfilling the West Examination Council requirement which stipulates that candidates must register for at least one science subject right from their senior secondary class (SS 1). Despite of the popularity of Biology, it has been observed that Nigerian students have been performing poorly in the subject, of which other sciences are not left out. On the other hand students interest in the science appears to be low or negative, hence, poor academic performance in Biology at both the secondary school level and tertiary institutions.
Performance is the reaction of someone that is being put to test or on trial for a particular task after knowledge has been impacted. It is a response elicited to know the level of achievement of the learners in a given task e.g. tests or examination.
Grade in the realm of education are standardized measurements of varying levels of comprehension with in a subject area. Grades can be assigned in letters, e.g. A, B, C, D, or E, as a range, e.g. 4.0-1.0, as a number out of possible total, e.g. out of 20 or 100 as descriptors, e.g. excellent, great , satisfactory, needs improvement, etc, in percentage or as is common in some countries. Grade is now a number letter or symbol indicating a students’ level of accomplishment.
Bloom (1991), states that, continuous assessment is the systematic collection of evidence to determine whether infact certain changes are taking place in the learner as well as determine the amount of degree of change in individual students. Assessment should be more than merely a test at the end of instruction to see how students perform under special conditions; rather, it should be an integral part of instruction that inform and guide teachers as they make instructional decisions.
Therefore, continuous assessment is the educational policies which students are examined continuously over most of the duration of the education period. The result of which are taken into account after leaving the school. It is often proposed or used as an alternative to a final examination system. Assessment is used not only as a final form of evaluation but is integral to the teaching and learning process i.e. assessment are formative and summative. The satisfactory results of assessment indicate the successful complexion of a course or programme and make a clear declaration of competence credit is then given, recorded and reported.
Therefore, the urgent need to promote learning and improve performance in senior secondary schools in Odeda Area resulted into a range or related but different developments in continuous assessment at classroom levels. The resultant features has been inconsistent performance of students in Biology Examinations nation wide and performance still varies from school to school. This undetermined the future of many students that are in schools that persistently perform poorly. What therefore remains disturbing is whether a relationship existed between continuous assessment grade and the students performance in Biology senior Secondary Schools.