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Keywords:UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS ATTRIBUTIONS ON THEIR GNS 101 CBT PERFORMANCE
Background to study
The General Study Programme was introduced by National University Commission in order to provide students with requisite versatility through the teaching of courses that provide general knowledge to prospective graduates. One of such studies is GS 101, otherwise known as the Use of English (Part One and Part Two).
GS 101 was necessitated due to employers’ hues and cries about the language usage ineptitude displayed by graduates at their respective place of work.
Due to the importance attached to GS 101, which must be sat for and passed in order to qualify for graduation, a lot of anxiety is often generated in students prior to and during examination.
The academic achievements of the students are believed to be greatly influenced by the probability and causes of their success and failure (Basturk&Yavuz, 2010). Banks &Woolfson (2008) further explain that, attributions can have a significant effect on academic achievement of students especially with those experiencing learning difficulties thus, these students will more likely to display negative attributions than their peers. Mahboudi (1999) suggested that “Causal Attribution” is being one of the motivation theories manipulating the realization of decisions. In this process, the individuals try to decide on the causal factors of an event or consequence. This individual’s response to a certain event is dependent on their interpretation of that event. He added also that, facilitating events prediction and control, the attributions explain the sensations, attitudes and behaviours and not only affect emotions but also manipulate individual’s function.
Rania et al. (2014) emphasized that the academic performance of the students can be influenced through ecological perspective, interpersonal relationship of social contexts and environmental conditions. Rania further added that according to ecological model the students’ degree programme or a different year level can affect academic performance, wellbeing, self-esteem and perceived climate.
Cooper and Burger (1979) that, Weiner et al. (1971) suggested that four attribution categories (ability, task difficulty, effort, and luck) are “the most common and general of the perceived causes of success and failure” Weiner (1977). Two dimensions were said to underlie these categories: internal (ability, effort) versus external (task, luck) and stable (ability, task) versus unstable (effort, luck). Students with positive attitude towards their courses do register better performance than those who had a negative attitude. Those with positive attitude are motivated to work hard and this is reflected in the good marks scored in the examination. These attributions have to a large extent impacted the academic performance of students both in paper based test (PBT) and computer based test (CBT). Students right from ages have attached value to performance in their paper based test (PBT). However, the introduction of computer-based test (CBT) has gained popularity as an assessment modality (Hassanien et al. 2013).The CBT can be taken independent of time or physical place and a unique test for each individual candidate can be generated with same difficulty index. The Tests can be scored immediately after, providing instant, individualized and detailed feedback for each candidate. Another major advantage of CBT is that it can make use of multi-media materials (video, audio) in test items, (Hartog et al., 2008) thus increasing the validity of the test. With this modality, individual performance of candidates can be compared against group performance. All these features enable CBT highly suitable for use in official high stake examinations(Lim et al., 2006) not only in NnamdiAzikwe University, but in other institutions all across the world.
However, there are also some disadvantages, among which is the very high initial cost of CBT setup and also this mode is not suitable for every type of assessment (example: extended response questions, performance). Other disadvantages are computer glitches, content errors, computers and server crashes and data security lapses (Aisbitt&Sangster, 2005). Some students are used to taking notes in question paper and also in a habit of marking questions and/or answers for later review which is not very much suitable with this system. Some students read more quickly and more easily on paper than on a glaring computer screen.
From the students’ perspective of the CBT, there have been varied perceptions. One study reported that more students anticipated problems with the CBT than actually experienced them (Darrell, 2003). Before completing the assessment, fewer students were confident about CBT, however more students stated a preference for CBT after their first experience (Lim et al. 2006). Studies conducted have showed a trend of preference for CBT over PBT (Fyfe et al., 2008). Some studies reported the main disadvantage as being increased anxiety amongst those inexperienced with use of computer (Lim et al. 2006; Darrell, 2003) and regarded them as “technophobic”.
It is against this background that this study examines the undergraduate students attributions on their GS 101 computer based test performance in NnamdiAzikwe University.
Statement of Problems
Before introducing CBT in high stake tests, it is important to find out student perception and also how they compare CBT and PBT. Experience gained with this exercise will be helpful for administration, faculties and students to work for high stake summative assessment with this modality. Some of the major challenge with CBT exams are glitches with the computer, errors in content, computers and server crashes and data security lapses (Aisbitt& Sangster, 2005). Furthermore, another major problem is that a large number of students are used to taking notes in question paper and also in a habit of marking questions and/or answers for later review which is not very much suitable with the CBT system. CBT has become a problem for some other students as they read more quickly and easily on paper than on a glaring computer screen. It is against this background that this study examines the undergraduate students’ attributions on their GS 101 computer based test performance in NnamdiAzikwe University.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study is to find out undergraduate students’ attributions on their GS 101 computer based test performance in NnamdiAzikwe University, Akwa. Specifically, the study seek to determine;
- The percentage of undergraduate that have internal and external attributions on their GS 101 CBT performance in NnamdiAzikwe University, Akwa
- The percentage of undergraduate that have internal attributions on their GS 101 CBT performance in a science inclined and non-science inclined faculty
- The percentage of undergraduate that have external attributions on their GS 101 CBT performance in a science inclined and non-science inclined faculty
The following research questions will guide this study;
- Do you attach any attribution to your performance in GS 101 CBT performance?
- Are your attributions attached to internal factors such as preparation, readiness for exam, computer literacy e.t.c?
- Are your attributions attached to external factors such as system glitches, error in contents, server crashes, data security e.t.c?
- Do you attach your attribution to inclination of science or non-science faculty?
Scope of the study
This study was delimited to undergraduate students’ attributions on their GS 101 computer based test performance in NnamdiAzikwe University. The study also focus on internal and external attributions to the performance in GS 101 in science inclined and non-science inclined faculties. No attempt was made to study attributions in other CBT inclined courses.
Significance of study
The information gathered through this study would be helpful for the school administration, faculties and departments using CBT for examination. This will however not be limited to NnamdiAzikwe University alone, but across different institutions in the country.
Since more institutions are embracing CBT, the study will also go a long way in helping students across the country, as it will guide them on ways to adequately prepare for examination using CBT for quality academic performance.
Keywords: UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS ATTRIBUTIONS ON THEIR GNS 101 CBT PERFORMANCE
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