By: Nurudeen Akewushola

The poor performance of students every year in some courses in faculty of science has become a traumatic recurrence and some some unscrupulous students  attribute this monster steady fall to the inconsistency in examination system in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto— to be precise I will narrow my analysis on the recurring failure in some courses that  require Calculations such as: Elementary Mathematics – MAT101; General Physics – Phy101; Chm101 – General Chemistry; and Probability 1 – STA111.

Based  on my experience and research, I would firstly attribute the woeful  performance of students in the above courses to poor background in Elementary Further Mathematics.
Further Mathematics is an optional subject for science students in secondary school which gives students further knowledge about Mathematics, it gives students the basic knowledge of Calculus, Permutation and combination, Statistics among others.
Meanwhile as a result of lack of sufficient Mathematics teachers in Secondary Schools in Nigeria the subject has been put on a halt and few students have the opportunity to learn it.
Students who are lucky to have the knowledge of this subject appreciate the beauty of Mathematics and has the propensity to perform very well in calculation in the University.

Courses in physical science are networks of prerequisites, all of the concepts, are chained in sequences of dependencies. Those students who lack the initial fundamental concept may not be able to cope in the University, though the lecturers have believed that the students have had the knowledge of Calculus since when they were in secondary school and they move straight to its advanced application leaving the students who have no prior knowledge about the concept in total black-out.

Further Mathematics has  wider applications. It’s useful in calculating the Half-life in Chemistry, deriving the projectile formulas in Physics and also useful in calculating  the probability distribution in Statistics to mention but few among its applications

The Achille Heel of most students who run to Medical Courses and Biological courses is to avoid Calculation.
Students who choose Medical And Biological Science courses see it as a preclude that will prevent them from coming across Mathematics
However it becomes a dilemma to them when the course is made  a compulsory for them in the University.
Some students who have the poor knowledge relent their effort while wise ones amongst them run extramile by engaging in tutorial and extensive readings to bridge the gap.

Another factor that contributes to this failure is the way these courses are being handled by the lecturers of some departments.
There’s this wrong perception which many lecturers subscribe to, the idea of ‘lecturers lecture’ they don’t teach.
Lecturers should adopt students’ inclusive approach, engage the students and break the course  down for them but some lecturers conversely adopt Lecturer-Board approach where they put everything on the board and leave the class without evaluation.

Shortage of time also plays a leading role in the failure of fresh students.
When I was in 100level, I was unfortunate to be in a group in a course which I would not mention, the lecturer of the course failed to come until two weeks to the exam.  In a day, he exposed to us the contents of the course, released the lecture notes and still expected us to understand. This was only two weeks to the exam.

I read an article when I was seeking admission which the writer titled “Facts About UDUS”, the writer posited that “It’s normal to squat on the ground to attend MAT101 lecture” which I confirmed to be true after I gained admission but then I discovered that it’s not only in MAT101, it happens in other lectures.

In fact, I once attended a lecture where students climbed the podium and surrounded the lecturer. There was no way the lecturer could leave the stand because beside him were students, not to talk of communicating with other students that couldn’t clinch the podium.
Lectures for new students are characterized by clumsiness and  congestion due to the over-population of students and therefore, students find it difficult to get the message being passed by the lecturer.

Some of the students that easily fail these courses are the students who prove to have known everything before they got admission, they belittle the course and it ends up being their pitfalls.
I have had an encounter with a friend who told me that he’s not going to attend the lecture because he has known everything before he got admission, he used to tutor other students, even on the eve of exam he was reading advanced textbooks instead of the recommended lecture material(s). Eventually, he failed the course.
Regardless of your background,  students must deem it fit to attend lectures and listen to lecturers in order to get the areas of concentration ahead of exam.

It’s also pertinent for students to give a thorough attention to the lecture materials provided by the course lecturer so as to perform excellently in the exam.
Students that study the lecture note very well find it easy to do well in the exam

Some students due to their poor background in calculation adopt “Cram and Paste” method in dealing with these courses.
They cram all the values of the examples in the lecture notes, questions in the past questions and regurgitate them during the exam.
I have had an encounter with a colleague who finished the test 10minutes after the commencement.

After the test, I confronted him and said: “Oga you are guru o, how come 10minutes after the commencement of the test you have finished?”

He told me that he has crammed all the values because he had treated the past questions on the eve of the test.
What he said seems to be true but there are some values which were adjusted and these old values were left in the question to confuse the students.

Memorization is a good method of studying, it helps in mastering the formula, cramming of Law and theories but “blind cramming” may stumble the students in the examination.

Faculty Of Science amongst others takes the lecture attendance very seriously and students that  miss it tend to lose some marks —in order to perform very well, students should ensure to attain 100% attendance in the course.
The cryptic tactics behind this is that a lecturer may decide to use a day lecture attendance to award the mark and students who failed to show up may end up losing some marks in the course.

It’s not about attending the lecture only, but also making a note and paying painstaking attention, which is also very essential.
The students must strive to reach the lecture theatre early so as to be at front side of the class where they will able to hear the lecturer audibly and able to ask question if there is any obscurity.

100level courses are made up of selected elementary topics like Sequences and Series, Theory Of Sets, Quadratic Equations in Mathematics; Redox Reaction, Periodic Table in Chemistry, which the lecturers believe that students have had its prior understanding so they teach as fast as that of speed of light and only students who are at the front side have the privilege of asking questions

The  performance of students in Continuous Assessment Test also plays a vital role in the outcome of examination results, failure to write the C.A test is automatic failure.
Most of these students who fail do not take C.A seriously. They believe exam is enough for them and can still get a good grade if they study well for the exam.
Another reason is that some students not used to be 100% prepared at the time of conducting the test.
Any student who wishes to perform well in the test also needs to be time conscious. The  time allotted to the test is not always sufficient like that of examination.
CA test sometimes carries up to 30—40% mark of examination, students that perform very well during the test have a high tendency of getting a good grade in the course.

In 2017 I published an article which I titled “Effects Of Procrastinating the registration exercise.” In the article I highlighted the setback that could  entangle the student performance when they delay their registration exercise.
Students who do their registration early will be able to focus on the lecture.
“An early bird catches the worm” failure to complete registration before the lecture kicks-off may cause distractions which will undoubtedly affect the students’ academic performance

Some students after admission allow themselves be overwhelmed by the euphony of freshness, they think gaining the admission is the end of success, they lose their focus and get carried away by the social distraction which will conversely lead to their failure

In conclusion, the above precludes are also applicable to other faculties, students should do their registration on time, study hard, attend the lectures, listen to the lecturer and update their  method of approaching exam to the standard of the University. In addition the lecturers must adopt teachers-students method to take the course and ensure consistency in marking the students’ script.

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