ASSESSMENT OF EXTENT OF ADHERENCE TO QUALITY ASSURANCE PRACTICES IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NORTH-CENTRAL STATES, NIGERIA .
The study was carried out to access quality assurance practices in secondary schools in North Central States of Nigeria. Specifically, six purposes, six research questions and six null hypotheses guided the study. Descriptive survey design was used to carry out the study. The study was carried out in North-Central States, Nigeria. North-Central States, Nigeria consists of six states, namely Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger and Plateau states.
The population of the study was 2304 principals and evaluators. A sample of 1200 respondents (931 principals and 267 school evaluators) were selected; stratified random sampling technique was used to generate the required sample. The instrument for collecting the required data for the study was a structured questionnaire which was personally developed by the researcher through the review of relevant literature. In order to ascertain the validity of the instrument, its initial draft was face validated by three experts, two in Educational Administration and Planning and one in Measurement and Evaluation, all from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The experts were requested to examine the instrument in terms of the relevance of the contents and clarity of the statements in relation to the research questions and specific purposes of the study. The reliability of the instrument was ascertained by trial testing it on 20 subjects in Enugu States. Cronbach’s Alpha method of reliability estimate was used to determine the internal consistency of the items which were generated from Cluster A – F; 0.77, 0.67, 0.76, 0.92, 0.93, 0.91 respectively.
Direct Delivery and Retrieval Technique (DDRT) was used by the researcher and six research assistants helped to collect the required data for the study. The data collected from the respondents were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics. The descriptive statistics which involve the use of mean scores and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions. The t-test statistics was used to test the corresponding null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study showed that the secondary schools in North-Central States, Nigeria adhere to the FIS guidelines on provision of infrastructural facilities in post primary schools to a low extent.
It was also found that the secondary schools in North-Central States, Nigeria adhere to the FIS guidelines on provision of relevant curriculum, provision of effective teaching, effective school management, provision of learners’ welfare needs and maintenance of effective school community relationship in secondary schools to a high extent. The principals and evaluators differed significantly in their opinion on the extent to which secondary schools in North-Central States, Nigeria adhere to the FIS guidelines on provision of infrastructural facilities and on provision of relevant curriculum in secondary schools. It was recommended among others that the Federal Inspectorate Service should monitor effectively the compliance of secondary schools to its guidelines on quality assurance practices. This will guide the educational policy-makers in formulating relevant policies aimed at improving quality assurance practices in post primary schools for the effective and efficient delivery of quality education in secondary schools.
Background of the study
Secondary schools occupy a strategic position in every educational system since they provide a vital link between primary and tertiary institutions.
According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), secondary schools are where children receive education after primary education and before entering into tertiary level of education. Lippit (2007) conceptualized secondary schools as educational institutions designed for the provision of full-time education to students who are within the age range of 11 to 18.
According to Eubanks and Eubanks (2000), the average age of entrance into the secondary school is 10–11 year and expected year of graduation is 17–19 years. In this study, secondary schools are considered as educational institutions which aim at inculcating worthwhile knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies and values to students. The broad goal of secondary school education in Nigeria is to prepare the individual for useful living within the society and for transition into tertiary education.
To ensure that the role of education of its different levels are realized, it is necessary to engage in regular assessment of educational processes and practices Assessment is the process of measuring the level of performance of an individual or an organization in a particular area or field of endeavour (Edikpa, 2008).
This definition as it relates to this study, implies that assessment involves measuring the level of performance of secondary schools in the implementation of quality assurance practices. According to Mistra (2006), assessment is the action of evaluating, appraising, estimating, and/or calculating the value or worth of an event, activities or programme. Paulk (2011) conceptualized it as any activity that involve the use of empirical data to refine programmes and improve their performance. Thus,assessment is operationally defined in this study as the process of determining the extent to which secondary schools carry out their quality assurance practices in conformity with the established guidelines for their implementation.