UNIVERSITY MATRICULATION ENTRANCE EXAMINATION SCORES IN CHEMISTRY AS PREDICTORS OF ACHIEVEMENT IN CHEMISTRY-BASED COURSES IN PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES IN ENUGU STATE
The controversy over the lapses noticed in the conduct of examinations and the process of admission of candidates into Nigerian Universities through University Matriculation Examination (UME) necessitated the call for the introduction of post-UME (PUME). Certain problems were found to be associated with these processes such as content coverage, variation in question type and structure, admission through quota system, peculiarities of different Universities. The evident uncertainty in the validity and uniformity of admission criteria called for empirical investigation of the predictive validities of UME, PUME and combined UME/PUME chemistry scores used for admission into chemistry-based programmes in public Universities. The study was guided by four research questions and four hypotheses. The design of the study was correlational. Multistage sampling technique, were used to select a total of 1370 students that sat for UME and PUME and admitted into the public universities in Enugu State, in 10, departments from 20, chemistry-based faculties, used for the study. Records on performances of students in the examination were obtained from departmental admission lists and the students’ records of their various universities. The stepwise multiple regression technique was used for the data analysis. The correlation coefficients were tested for significance using F-test at 0.05% level of significance. The study revealed among others that: In federal University, UME score did not predict students’ first year result in all the courses in public Universities except in Industrial chemistry (R2=0.14) in Federal University, where weak relationship was recorded. PUME chemistry scores predicted students’ first year scores in all the departments studied in Federal University: Agricultural Economics (R2= 0.17); Biochemistry (R2=0.02); Electrical/Electronics (R2=0.06); Industrial Chemistry (R2=0.39);ro Medicine (R2=0.06). In State University, PUME chemistry scores predicted students’ first year scores in Electrical Electronics (R2=0.07) but did not predict students’ scores in Agricultural Economics, (R2=0.02) Industrial Chemistry (R2= 0.01), Biochemistry (R2=0.01) and Medicine (R2=0.02). The average scores of both UME/PUME chemistry predicted students first year scores in all the courses in Federal University: Ag/Econs (R2=0.07); Bio/Chem ( R2=0.06); E/E (R2=0.05); Ind/Chem (R2=0.36); Med (R2=0.78), but in State University, the average scores of UME/ post-UME chemistry predicted students’ first year scores in Electrical Electronics only (R2=0.04).There were no relationships between students’ average scores of UME/PUME and their first year result in Agricultural Economics (R2= 0.01), Industrial chemistry (R2=0.01), Biochemistry (R2=0.04) and Medicine (R2=0.01). Students’ UME chemistry scores predicted their PUME chemistry scores in Biochemistry (R2=0.02) and Industrial chemistry (R2=0.27) in Federal University but did not predict the students’ PUME chemistry scores in Agricultural Economics (R2=0.01), Electrical Electronics (R2=0.01) and Medicine (R2=0.01). In State University, UME chemistry scores only predicted post-UME chemistry scores in Biochemistry (R2=0.06) and Electrical Electronics (R2=0.11) but did not predict their post-UME scores in Agricultural Economics (R2=0.02) Industrial chemistry (R2=0.01) and Medicine (R2=0.04). Based on the findings, the educational implications were highlighted. Appropriate recommendations were made, among which were, that all the problems associated with the process of UME have to be urgently addressed by JAMB and other stake holders in order to improve the quality and credibility of UME. A follow up policy should be made on post-UME and appropriate committee set up to look into the activities of PUME in public Universities. Chemistry questions should be standardized and unified within the chemistry-based faculties and across the public Universities.
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