INFLUENCE OF PEER ASSESSEMENT ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN ENGLISH ESSAY WRITING

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ABSTRACT

The poor performance of students in essay writing has raised a lot of concern to teachers of English language and other stake holders in education. Poor performance in essay writing leads to poor performance in English language and this will consequently hinder students’ ambition for higher studies and job opportunities. This study was designed to find out the influence of peer assessment on students achievement in English essay writing in Owerri Zone 1 of Imo state. The study also sought the effect of gender and location on students achievement in English essay writing. Five research questions and five hypotheses guided the study. The design was a non equivalent control group quasi-experimental design involving the use of intact classes for experimental and control groups. Four schools in Owerri Zone 1 educational zone were selected by purposive random sampling technique. The population comprised of all SS11 students. The sample for the study was 167 students drawn from one intact class of each of the four schools selected. The English Essay Achievement Test (EEAT) was adopted as the instrument for data collection. Lesson plans for the experimental and control groups were developed validated and used for the pretest and the post- test assessments. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions while analysis of covariance was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 alpha level of significance. Major findings of the study was that students taught English essay writing using peer assessment performed better than students with teacher assessments. It was also found that female students had a higher mean score than their male counterparts. Based on these findings, it was recommended that stakeholders in education administration incorporate peer assessment in the curriculum to facilitate teaching and learning. Teachers of English language should be trained and retrained to enable them engage students in peer assessments activities.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Appendixes
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Research Questions
Hypothesis

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
Conceptual Framework
Concept of Essay Writing
Concept of Assessment
Achievement in language Teaching and Learning
Gender in language Teaching and Learning
School location in language Teaching and learning
Theoretical  Framework
Constructivist Learning Theory
Bandura’s Social Learning Theory
Review of Empirical Studies
Studies on Gender
Studies on School Location
Summary of Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHIOD
Design of the Study
Area of the Study
Population of the Study
Sample and Sampling Technique
Instrument for Data Collection
Experimental procedure
Control of Extraneous Variable
Experimental Bias
Pretesting
Teacher Variables
Inter group Variables
Instructional Situational Variable
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
Discussion of Findings
Conclusion
Educational Implications of Study
Recommendations
Limitations of study
Suggestions for further studies
Summary of the Study
References
Appendixes


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION


Background of the Study
Language is at the heart of human activities .Any activity carried out by human beings uses language which can be in the spoken form or in the written form. Language then can simply be defined as a complex and arbitrary system of vocal sounds used by human beings for communication in a given community (Amadi et al 2001). One of such languages is the English language which has become an international language and also a language of wider communication. It is Nigeria’s official language as well as the language of law, business, aviation, politics, education etc.
Realizing the importance of the English language, for enhancing educational attainment as well as for improving communicative competence and ability of citizens, the


Nigerian government has made it a core and compulsory subject for all students in Nigerian schools and for any good employment. In order to facilitate its study, Nigeria government begins its project of teaching English language from primary school as stated in the National Policy on Education: in lower primary the policy stated: “English shall be taught as a subject”, while in upper primary: “English shall be progressively used as medium of instruction” (NPE, 2004:14) . In junior and senior secondary, the policy stipulated that English should be a “core subject” (NPE, 2004:18-21), which must be offered by all the l earners. In tertiary institutions also, English is seen as a compulsory course offered as a general study (GS). Hence, it is seen as a medium of instruction, a compulsory and core subject that must be offered and passed at all levels of education in Nigeria’s educational system. It is therefore evident that without a thorough mastery of the language, learning is inefficient in Nigeria. Despite the provision of this policy which shows clearly the central role of English in the Nigerian educational system as observed by Nwachukwu (2007), the mastery of the language has continued to be poor. This accounts for the poor performance of students in English especially in essay writing.
In English language, there are basic four language skills which include listening, speaking, reading and writing. While listening and speaking are the oracy skill, reading and writing are the literacy skill. These skills are to be taught properly for proper mastery of the English language. However, among these four language skills, writing skill has an incalculable influence on humanity because it is a common instrument for the dissemination of knowledge. It is also a complex skill which is seen as difficult and hard. This is because, a learner is always judged from what he writes since he will not be there to defend himself on the course of assessing him. The learner should be able to think, form basic concept, plan and write coherently in English (Uzoegwu, 2004). Writing skill is not like speaking and listening skills which are acquired naturally and hence informally. Writing on its own must be learned through planned and guided educational programme. It is not a skill that can be acquired by

chance. It must be taught. Essay writing in particular is a higher form or level of writing skill, and proficiency in this can only be achieved when the students are well grounded in composition skills.

Writing is the act of creatively and imaginatively putting down one’s ideas, feelings and opinions using the correct words. It is the use of language in its graphic form, a means of finding out what students know, of testing students and of writing examination. This is also one of the most important activities of the literate community (Uzoegwu, 2004). Writing skill must be learned and mastered through practice. To this end, Thorton (2000) in Egbe (2011) advises that students must be assisted to develop their writing ability and so gain competence in handling different forms of writing that they may need in their lives.

Most students feel that those who write are those naturally endowed with the art of writin g. This is a wrong impression which makes them believe that it is difficult for one to write an essay very well. Writing an essay is a skill which requires the writer to organize and express his thoughts clearly and effectively. The ability to write a good essay should be an important goal of any language learner (Onuigbo, 2006).
An essay is a piece of work in which a writer discusses a given topic based on his own perspective (Nwokedi, 2003). Essay writing otherwise called continuous writing is a very important aspect in the Senior Secondary School Certificate English Language Examination organized by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO). It accounts for a large proportion of the total marks allotted to English Language as a subject. A good performance e in composition or essay writing task usually predicts an overall success in English Language (Aboderin 1996). To stress the importance of the essay, Obi-Okoye(2004) advises t hat it is important to include in any writing curriculum a range of forms of compositions and methods of teaching essay from early stages of formal education. With this in mind one would infer that a poor performance in English composition would invariably result to a poor performance in English examination as a whole , hence the need for a thorough teaching and application of a functional strategy in the teaching of written composition at all levels of secondary school.


There are basically four types of essays these are Narrative, Descriptive, Expository and Argumentative, Narrative writing is an account of what one saw or imagined; what actually happened or could have happened; and what the facts are (Oguamanam, 2008). Hence all that one needs to write a narrative essay is either a good memory or good language ability. A descriptive essay is meant to share with the reader’s places, objects, action or processes experienced by the writer. (Oguamanam, 2008) Descriptive essay rests much on the writer’s power of observation. An expository essay is one that requires a writer to explain something fully. This explanation necessarily demands writing a great deal about what distinguishes the subject of the essay from all other things, (Ezema, 2010). An argumentative essay presupposes the existence of two sides to an issue. This kind of composition is therefore out to test one’s ability to critically access situation and to exercise judgment (Oguamanam 2008).....

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