This is no new topic; many Nigerian secondary schools deal with poor academic performance and their constant displeasure increases following the annual release of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE or WAEC) results.
The sad part is that getting great exam results is not only a requirement for entry into higher institutions, but a recurring criteria for assessing school quality. On a bigger scale, improvement in student results will see to Nigeria achieving Goal 4 (Quality Education) of the 2030 SDGs.
This is absolutely achievable, yet recent results show that 61% of students who sat for the May/June 2015 WASSCE did not meet the required 5 credits, including Maths and English, making those goals seem far out of our reach (bear in mind, that results of years past also fell below expectations).
As educational leaders work hard to tackle the recurring problem of poor academic performance, one country in particular, churned out winners of the 2015 International Excellence Award for outstanding performance in the May/June 2015 WAEC. Just so you know, this country also won the award in 2014.
Share luck or a smart move by their government to improve educational standards , you can call it what you want. The fact still remains that other countries are far ahead. Nigeria needs to urgently catch up and snag that award (and similar others ).
5 Ways to Improve Academic Performance (& Boost Your School’s Reputation)
Of course, there are many viable solutions created by a mix of people passionate about changing the face of Nigeria’s education. Such as the solutions I shared in this post that can help schools identify areas that significantly impact student performance and how they can use them to meet their individual school needs.
- Employ knowledgeable, skillful teachers: It is (still) questionable whether or not Nigerian teachers, one of the most important factors in the effectiveness of schools and in the quality of a child’s education, are competent enough to teach effectively. As a school looking to drive improvement, your students need good teachers trained in effective strategies to teach strong academic knowledge and skills. This knowledge transfer is critical to improving student performance.
- Good classroom management: The right teachers with the right skills can instil in their students the ethics of studying. Nigeria’s young generation are in the habit of rushing through everything (especially when it comes to learning) and not taking enough time to slow down and understand the consequences of their (often impulsive) actions.
Teachers should frequently emphasize the importance of good study/practice skills to student success. In addition, they should also teach students to take responsibility for their learning process,understand content and help them in setting practical goals. A few minutes of class time to give them compelling reasons why it’s worth their time and effort to study, works very well.
- Develop relationships: Principals and teachers need to recognize, acknowledge and care about every student — and especially to understand the academic needs of struggling students at risk of failing exams. Provide regular feedback on student progress toward course/lesson objectives and use that as an opportunity to recommend resources to students to improve study habits.
- Analyse student data: Even better is for teachers to use technology to assess each student’s progress on each subject and then figure out where they need to improve their teaching delivery and how. Most people agree that preparing students adequately in exam subjects can significantly increase student performance. So what your teachers should aim for is making sure that all students in their assigned class thoroughly understand different topics within a particular subject before proceeding further, that way no student is left behind.
- Make learning interactive: Recent studies show that students learn faster and understand better when they use technology because it facilitates cooperative learning. If your school has the financial means to create a technology driven classroom filled with educational apps and gadgets for reading and problem solving, then I suggest you do this would mean more of your students will find the concept of learning a lot easier to grasp and make them a lot more interested in keeping their grades high up.
These solutions are quite achievable given your commitment to attain school quality and they are somewhat a reminder to all schools out there to maintain accountability to their students.