RELATIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF STUDENTS ON DIFFERENT ECONOMICS TEST ITEM FORMATS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
            The choice of an appropriate instrument to estimate ability, skill, achievement, interest to mention but a few, depends on the nature of the objective being measured and it is not an easy task for most classroom teachers. Apart from choice, the instrument itself may not possess the property or attribute of the construct being measured. This makes it impossible to directly determine the quantity or quality of attribute being present in a student. Rather is inferred based on the correctness of a task performed by the student. Hence the use of only one type of test item format to determine students’ ability or achievement in economics needs to re- examined.
            Economics is the study of how to use scarce resources to satisfy human wants. Human wants are unlimited but the resources to satisfy them are limited. According to Okafor (2008), economics as a subject helps individual to be relevant in everyday life and could prepare students for an entrepreneurial career in the future. The general objectives of studying economics in senior secondary school are as follows; to enable students:
v Understand basic economic principles and concepts as tools for sound economic analysis.
v Contribute intelligently to discourse on economic reforms and development as they affect or would affect the generality of Nigerians.
v Understand the structure and functioning of economic institution.
v Appreciates the role of public policies on National economy
v Develop the skills and also appreciates the basis for national economic decisions
v Become sensitized to participate actively in National Economic advancement through entrepreneurship, capital market and so on.
v Understand the role and status of Nigeria and other African countries in the international economic relationships.
v Appreciates the problems encountered by developing countries in their  efforts towards economic advancement [Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), 2008]
            In order to achieve the above stated objectives, different assessment tools are  used to elicit information on extent to which students have achieved the objectives after instruction. The determination of the extent to which objectives have been achieved is carried out through assessment. According to Eggen and Kauchak (2004) Classroom assessment is the process involved in making decisions about students’ learning progress. It includes the observation of students’ written work; their answers to question in class, and performance on Teacher-made and standardized tests. Classroom assessment provides valuable information that allows teachers to adapt instructional procedures to the learning needs of their students (Eggen & Kauchak 2004). Besides that, assessment also accomplishes two other important goals; increasing learning and increasing motivation. Travevers (2000) argued that assessment is a purposeful process in the classroom to collect data, both quantitative and qualitative. Hence, assessment is a broader concept than measurement.
             Data collection in an assessment is accomplished in a variety of ways such as; observation of behavior, presentation of tasks for students to perform mentally and to record their response in writing or examination of products produced by the students. For teachers, the purpose of assessment is usually to make decisions on his/her instructional strategies/method; this helps to determine the extent of objective covered. The decision could also be used to determine how students are performing in relation to an objective set or in relation to the performance of other students in the class. In analyzing this decision it will help the teacher to identify the learning difficulties students are having in learning the concept. In classroom assessment, consideration is given to students’ achievement on tasks in a variety of settings and contexts.

            Assessment of students’ achievement in any subject utilizes different assessment tools such as tests, questionnaire, observation, checklist, rating scales etc. In economics, an assessment tool such as test is utilized.  A test is a device for eliciting behavior or exposing some hidden characteristics, features and attributes and determining the intensity, quality and quantity of such behavior or characteristics (Ihekwaba, 2006). This means that a test is used to determine the presence or absence, existence or non-existence of an attribute being sought for. The attribute could be overt or co-overt. Osegbuo and Ifeakor (2008) argued that test is a set of standard questions presented to an individual or group of individuals to answer or respond to. These questions contain some desirable characteristics which examiner or tester is expecting from the testee. The responses made by the testee are indications of the extent of the desired characteristics possessed. Nworgu (2003) sees test as a structured situation comprising a set of questions to which an individual is expected to respond. There are preferred answers to the questions. On the basis of individual response,  behavior is quantified.....

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