Education Project Topics

A Critical Examination of the Use of Predictive Validity of Utme Scores in Determining the Academic Performance of Fresh Undergraduates in Chemistry




Background of the Study

Numerous qualities are sought for evaluating the test teacher’s usage of the exam in grading and reporting student performance to stakeholders. Validity, dependability, usability, objectivity, and interpretability are the qualities. Additionally, item analysis is used to develop difficulty, discrimination, and distracter indices. Test validity is the term used to refer to this kind of validity. Anikweze (2005) asserts that tests Validity is a term that refers to the degree to which a test measures what it is designed to measure. In another definition provided by Kolawole (2010), test validity is defined as the degree to which a test measures what is intended to be assessed. Validity in educational assessment may be defined broadly as the precision with which inferences are drawn from students’ answers to assessment devices like as tests and inventories (popham 2000). Validity of a test varies according on the technique or process used. There are four fundamental kinds of validity tests: face and construct validity, criterion-related validity, and content validity.

The term “Face Validity” relates to how well a test seems to measure what it promises to measure. It is not technically a form of validity, but a test should be appropriately phrased and presented in an appealing manner to the testee. A test must possess this attribute in order to elicit the participation of the testees (Mprat, 2014). On the other hand, Harnony (2012) defines construct validity as the degree to which test performance can be explained in terms of certain psychological conceptions. A construct is a psychological property that is presumed to exist in order to account for some feature of psychological activity. Intelligence, preparedness, anxiety, reasoning capacity, endurance, introversion, extraversion, sociability, spatial visualization, reading comprehension, and linguistic ability are all examples of constructs.

Criterion-Related Validity refers to the amount to which a testee’s score on one test may be used to estimate the testee’s score on another test. It is often used in conjunction with a criterion variable or measure (Sophina, 2012). While In psychometrics, predictive validity refers to the degree to which a score on a scale or test accurately predicts a score on a criterion measure. For instance, the validity of a cognitive work performance test is determined by the correlation between test scores and, for example, supervisor performance ratings (Sophina, 2012).

Furthermore, Michael (2011) defines prediction as an attempt to anticipate what will happen in the future about a result or even an unobserved event based on information/data deemed important to this unobserved occurrence. He emphasized that the concept can be expressed as using test scores to forecast a prospective student’s level of achievement in an academic program, as well as using ability and interest measures to forecast/prognosticate the probability of success of subjects in various job categories, and as determining which members of a freshman class are likely to be the most valuable competitors on the football or on the track events.


As a result, validation is considered to be the process of comparing the test score to some other observation that acts as the criterion. Thus, the purpose of testing is to forecast this criterion, and the test’s value is determined only by its predictive accuracy (Cronbach,2001). In essence, predictive validity refers to the ability of a test score to accurately predict future performance (Ogunlade, 2000; Uzomah, 2009; and Ogunniyi, 2010). (2009). According to Normally(2008), determining an instrument’s predictive validity entails matching scores on the prediction test with scores on the criterion variable. The magnitude of the correlation is directly proportional to the degree of validity. He said that predictive validity is judged only by the degree of congruence between the predictor and criterion measurements.

The University Matriculation Examination (UME), renamed the Unified Tertiary Institutions Matriculation Examinations (UTME), is a yearly entrance examination conducted by Nigeria’s Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for the sole purpose of selecting and placing suitably qualified candidates in Nigerian universities. Historically, prior to the foundation of JAMB for the purpose of admitting students to different universities, universities conducted their own admission processes (Omodara, 2010). This sort of admission procedure has been tarnished by a slew of complaints. Osakuade (2011) identifies a number of difficulties, including the problem of numerous applications and admissions, an incoordinated system of university admissions, and a high cost to applicants. Among the others was the pattern of university enrollment, which revealed that the majority of universities recruited the majority of their students from their local geographical communities (catchment areas). As a consequence, in 2004, the Vice-Chancellors’ committee proposed the notion of central admission in order to avoid the many complications associated with separate admission procedures (Ifedili & Ifedili, 2010).

Nigerians seem to have developed a remarkable understanding of university education in recent years. This is a beneficial trend that has resulted in a growth in the number of new universities, enrollment statistics, and massive investment in the sector by the government, religious organizations, and individuals. This may be partly because the National Policy on Education (NPE) stipulates that university education in Nigeria shall maximize national development by intensifying and diversifying its programmes for the development of high-level manpower in accordance with national needs (Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), 2004). This might also be because the majority of professional organisations have made university education a requirement for member training.

Globally, university education is competitive, and the generation of Nigerian students capable of effectively contributing to her progress cannot be chosen randomly. As a result, competition for admission spaces gets increasingly competitive each year. Admission to university degree programs is therefore contingent upon achievement in selection examinations such as the Unified Tertiary Institutions Matriculation Examinations (UTME). To address the difficulties inherent in individual institutions’ admission processes, the Federal Government of Nigeria formed JAMB in 2008 as a centralized examination agency charged with the obligation of administering placement tests into Nigerian universities. The Board held the country’s first matriculation examination for admission into all degree-granting institutions in 2009; polytechnics and colleges of education in 2001, monotechnics in 2008, and Innovative Enterprises Institutes in 2009. (JAMB, 2011). Since then, JAMB has continued to administer admission tests for Nigerian universities. However, the number of prospective students at Nigerian universities has increased, to the point where competition for admission has become a cause of stress for both parents and applicants. This is shown by the fact that the JAMB’s enrollment numbers for universities have increased (Adesina, 2005). In the 2012 Unified Tertiary Institutions Matriculation Examination (UTME), the Board had over one million, five hundred and three thousand, nine hundred and thirty one (1,503,931) applicants (Nairaland, 2011). According to Black-Revo (2010), the country’s institutions were the weakest in its history. This was because only roughly 500,000 of the over 1.4 million students who sat for the UTME were awarded admission to universities. This trend has not been reversed and may be leading to malpractices.

Desperate applicants may have engaged in various examination malpractices in order to get admission to their desired degree programmes. According to Onyeoziri in Ifedili &Ifedili (2010), this was done in response to widespread unhappiness with JAMB and the uncertain nature of educational policy. Numerous parents enroll their children in JAMB sooner than educational policy anticipates. Umo and Ezeudu (2010) argued that parents find satisfaction in their children’s future selves rather than in their current selves, hence facilitating and abating examination misconduct. Additionally, there are concerns in many areas that the quality of students accepted by JAMB is deteriorating year after year, despite their excellent UME scores. Numerous experts and scholars believe that the halcyon days of outstanding academic performance and superlative accomplishments among Nigerian students have come to an end (Obioma & Salau, 2007). As a result, the experts have called for an education conference to address the issue. According to Afolabi, Mabayoje, Togu, Oyadeyi, and Raji (2007), most universities that admit students exclusively on the basis of their UME scores have recognized that applicants with very high UME scores do poorly at university and are often requested to withdraw.

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Chemistry is the scientific field that studies compounds made up of atoms (or elements) and molecules (or combinations of atoms): their composition, structure, characteristics, behavior, and the changes that occur when they combine with other substances. Chemistry is the most studied scientific topic. It is a foundational topic in nursing, medicine, public health, pharmacy, and natural science. In many communities across Africa, pupils’ aversion to chemistry has created significant schools in the classroom. The incorrect belief that scientific topics, particularly chemistry, are difficult and abstract in nature is passed down from generation to generation. This factor has been identified as a contributing factor to students’ poor performance in chemistry and is commonly referred to as anxiety. According to Jegede (2007), some of the primary causes of students’ anxiety about learning chemistry are the breadth of the syllabus, the quality and quantity of chemistry teachers in schools, the absence of a well-equipped laboratory, and ineffective teaching methods.

  Statement Of The Problem

There have been several stories in recent years of new college students doing poorly in chemistry courses. While many of these students wrote and passed Chemistry at the UTME level prior to being admitted to university, the rate at which they failed level one chemistry courses is concerning. What factors contribute to this high rate of failure among first-year undergraduate students? Is it that students who scored poorly in chemistry in the UTME are being compelled to study chemistry and other chemistry-related subjects? To address the aforementioned problems, it is critical to investigate the predictive validity of UTME scores in predicting the academic performance of new undergraduate chemistry students.

Purpose of the Study

The overall aim of this study is to critically examine the use of predictive validity of UTME scores in determining the academic performance of fresh undergraduates in chemistry. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;

1.        Identify the the factors responsible for the mass failure of fresh undergraduates in chemistry.

2.        Ascertain whether any relationship exist between the chemistry scores of students in UTME with their scores in level one chemistry courses.

3.        Ascertain whether the Chemistry scores of students in UTME can predict the performance of fresh Chemistry students in chemistry courses.

4.        Determine whether students with low performance in UTME chemistry are being forced to study chemistry and other chemistry-related courses.

Research Hypotheses

The following hypothetical statement will be tested in the course of this study;

H01: There is no existing relationship between the chemistry scores of students in UTME with their scores in level one chemistry courses.

H02: The Chemistry scores of students in UTME can not predict the performance of fresh Chemistry students in chemistry courses.

H03: Students with low performance in UTME chemistry are not being forced to study chemistry and other chemistry-related courses.

Significance of Study

In view of the mass failure being recorded among freshly admitted science students in Nigerian Universities in recent times, this study is important because the findings derived from it would enable teachers, school administrators, and policy makers to understand the problems that prospective students may encounter in the University before being offered admission. Also, if correlation is found between UTME scores in Chemistry and the performance of students in Chemistry courses, then students with poor performance in UTME Chemistry may be placed in appropriate department that has less of chemistry content.

Scope Of The Study

This study is structured to generally examine the use of predictive validity of UTME scores in determining the academic performance of fresh undergraduates in chemistry. However, the study will further identify the the factors responsible for the mass failure of fresh undergraduates in chemistry, ascertain whether any relationship exist between the chemistry scores of students in UTME with their scores in level one chemistry courses, ascertain whether the Chemistry scores of students in UTME can predict the performance of fresh Chemistry students in chemistry courses, and determine whether students with low performance in UTME chemistry are being forced to study chemistry and other chemistry-related courses.

This study will be carried out in University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State.

 Limitations Of The Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools.

Definition Of Terms

University Matriculation Examination (UME): This is now known as Unified Tertiary Institutions Matriculation Examinations (UTME) is a common entrance examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) of Nigeria on yearly basis for the sole purpose of selecting and placing suitably qualified candidates into Nigerian Universities.

Chemistry: This is the scientific discipline involved with compounds composed of atoms (i.e elements), and molecules (i.e combination of atoms).

Validity Of Test: This  is refer to as the degree of relevance and accuracy in which a test measures what is meant to be measured.

Prediction: This is an effort to ascertain what will occur concerning an outcome or even not yet observed on the basis of information/data judged to be relevant to this unobserved event.



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