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The effect of pictures on students’ achievement in economics in secondary schools in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

The effect of pictures on students’ achievement in economics in secondary schools in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.



1.1 Background to the Study

Economics is a recognized course of study and has a worldwide effect on the individual as well as the nations. It is the bedrock of human and economic development of any nation. No wonder schools and colleges teach economics and many students offer economics at least for self-management of life situations and personal emancipation. All these are so because economics deals with the concept of choice amongst needs in a scarce means. All these may also have informed the opinion of Dwivedi (2004) lat economics is an important course in the socio-economic development of any nation, Nigeria inclusive. Davies (2003) also maintains that economics is helpful to all and sundry-individuals, students, group, associations, political class and even government to make choice, allocate and economize resources for the well being of all.

Sequel to the above importance of economics, the subject is offered as one of the subjects in secondary schools in Nigeria. According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s National Policy on Education (2004) economics when taught in secondary schools will bring about allocation, planning, decision-making, organization and management of available scarce resources.

Many scholars as well as students have been wondering over the year on the nature of economics in which some definitions were given by them, but the definitions did not embrace all the aspect of economics. These scholars include Alfred Marshall, Adam Smith and Lionel Robbins. The appropriate definition of economics is important because it will give direction to the appropriate instruction to be used in teaching the subject. But to some extent it was accepted.

Marshall (1956) defined economics as a study of man’s actions in the ordinal business of life. This definition draws attention to the unique feature of man, which unlike other animals provides his everyday needs by means of a complex pattern of production, distribution and exchange.

Robbins (1953) defined economics as the science, which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means, which have alternative uses. He emphasized economics as a science and that economic analysis should be based on scientific and logical processes rather than on value judgment.

Furthermore, economics as a field of study has two broad divisions; that is the microeconomics and the macroeconomics. Micro economics as a branch of economics is concerned primarily with the economic behaviour of small units such as individual households, business firms, markets and government with the economic system while macro economics is defined as the branch of economics that deals with the performance of the economy as a whole such as, economic aggregates such as inflation, growth of national output, unemployment, the general price level and balance of payments. Interestingly, economics is a social science and any attempt to separate it from science will undermine the purpose and nature of economics teaching and learning.

The methods of teaching economics are necessary as it affects the performance of candidates. Most teachers’ methods use Lecture method/teaching approach, Demonstration, Tutorial and Seminar, Problem-solving, Dictation, Question and Answer, Audio visual aids, Group or Project and Field trip in teaching economics thereby writing copious notes to the students; to the neglect of problem solving approach. Do not forget that economics is mathematically related. Some do not provide charts or models in teaching the subject such that the question of the use of instructional materials like pictures remains a fundamental issue in teaching economics in post primary schools.

The teaching and learning of economics as a social science has in most cases failed to yield very positive results as a result of these informal approaches of presenting instruction in economics. The situation has resulted in low performance of candidates in economics in WAEC Examinations (WAEC, 2006). The Chief examiner’s Annual Report on the students performance in economics from (2004 – 2005) according to statistical unit of WASC Enugu which also covers Abakaliki indicated thus: a total of 16,006 students registered for economics from (2004 – 2005, the SSCE. Of this number, 639 students scored distinction, 1357 credit, 3,622 came out with pass and 10,394 failed in the examination. This shows that only 89.6% passed the examination while 10.4% failed.

The extent to which the teachers teach what is to be taught and the extent to which the students learn what is to be learnt depend largely on the availability of resources materials. Majority of secondary schools in Abakaliki metropolis do not have enough resource materials. Some of them that had fie materials or equipment in abundance had majority or ail of such equipment vandalized by thieves and students (Ike, 1995).

There are also cases where these laxities result in a situation where teachers are not paid, school programmes are disturbed by incessant unrest and strike actions. Liman (1997) stated that the effect of these developments has reduced commitments from teachers. Asobie (1997) confirmed the above statements. He appealed to the government to increase the level of funding to schools to enable them habilitate dilapidating facilities and aid them in their profession. He also believed that the conditions of teachers are improved, brain drain currently witnessed in our educational sector will be reduced and the teachers retained to give the best to students. He went further to point out that the ugly scenario noticeable in most public schools especially has led to the massive failure by students in public examinations. The results as showed in the tables and 2 below give the trends of the performance of students in WAEC examinations in 2004 and 2005.

Table 1: Some SSCE Economics Results for 2004 and 2005

S/NSex of StudentsScores from Public Schools


       20042  2005

Source: WAEC Enugu (2004 & 2005). See more results on appendix D

The poor results as shown in the tables have been attributed to ineffective teaching method (Okwo, 1995). In the event of the ineffectiveness of the conventional methods of teaching economics and lack of the use of instructional materials in bringing about better performance of students in economics in SSCE. This researcher feels that the introduction of audio materials with Pictures would be a good innovation in the methods of teaching and learning economics and effective ones for better performance of students. The following levels of treatments were involved in this study- Audio Picture Synchronized, Audio Picture, Picture Audio and Audio-no Pictures (as Control). Audio materials are instructional materials, which are perceived and stimulated by thesensation of hearing. They include radio, tape recorder, car horn andteacher’s voice.

There, are chapters or topics in economics that have pictures and students must learn to use pictures in learning. Through the use of diagrams and pictures for demonstration, practical ideas in economics should be taught. This therefore, provides the learners with tangible objects and creates contact with reality from the abstract language of economics. Olarinonye (1979) states that for a student to make discoveries he has to make certain mental process such as observations, classification, measuring, predicting and inferring. This again is where pictures become very important in the teaching/learning process.

Therefore, teaching and learning of economics topics of demand could be done through exposing students to picture experiences with information of finger drawings, Picture demonstration or activity which permits exploration learning activities and hypothesis formulation. The number of visual aids required in teaching the concepts is planned in sequences for presentation after which the exposed picture is then put into frame for lesson instructions.

Wren and Banks (1981) say that good drawings are of key importance to students in their economics study. They went on to say that the teacher has considerable responsibility to take pains to make their own model and chalkboard drawings carefully.

Any figure drawn on a paper or chalkboard is a tangible aid to the understanding of the learner. Economics models are needed in economics lessons for tasks involving elasticity, which include the use of pictures. The practical experience enables learners to understand the abstract modes in the structure of the subject.

Economics has two parts, practical and abstract, each with its own appeal connected by the inner structure of the economics. The teacher must be aware of both the instructive and the abstract aspects, which therefore, calls for the use of pictures.

The pictures approach experience is a factor, which affects directly the rigours that characterize the activities of the brain of the learners in trying out the shapes imagined and identification of processes that yields better results. Furthermore, the development of pictures and improvisation does not form part of most teachers’ educations programme in secondary schools, Hence, the lack of picture usage in economics. But, there is obvious need to ascertain how pictures on elasticity will affect students’ performance in learning of the concept.

It is a pity, that many students who offer economics in examinations have complained of not having good results on the subject and this has made those students to become frustrated and disillusioned and made their ambition of having economics as a career to collapse at the first attempt, which brings about the need to find out the effect of pictures on students’ achievement in economics in secondary schools.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The study investigated the performance of students in economics when taught with the pictures in audio automated manner in some selected secondary schools in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Economics education is very important both in the secondary school system and for the economic development of any nation in a world dominated by science and technology. Economics is offered in secondary schools and this level is regarded as the foundation of educational system.

This is because this level of education receives the primary school leavers and produces students for institutions of higher learning.

Government has established several hundreds of these secondary schools. At the end of their career in the secondary school, students of economics are examined by WAEC in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) as candidates. In recent times, there has been increasing poor performance of economics candidates at the SSCE (Okwo, 1995). This low achievement has been attributed to lack of innovative teaching methods or better teaching facilities (Dwyer, 1968).

One may then ask, is the performance of economics students from secondary schools in Abakaliki Metropolis, actually going to be better if instructional materials like pictures are used in addition to the audio materials. This is what this study sought to answer.

1.3  Purpose of Study

The main purpose of this study is aimed at investigating the effect of pictures on students’ achievement in economics in secondary schools in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study was aimed at determining if:

Student performance in economics in SSCE would be better when they are taught with:

Audio picture synchronized

Audio picture

Picture audio, and

Audio no picture modes of instruction.

Boys will perform better than the girls using the four modes of instruction?

1.4  Significance of the Study

It is the greatest expectation that this study would be of educational and social science inclined benefits by providing results on the effect of pictures on students’ achievement in economics among others. Other benefits include the following:

It would serve as a motivator to students towards improved study and understanding of elasticity of demand in economics.

It would enable education policy makers to appreciate the need for establishing scientific laboratory in schools for storing and manipulating instructional materials and picture models.

It would encourage teachers to use pictures in the process of teaching abstract concepts, so as to make students acquire problem- serving skills and to have clear mental pictures of the concept learned at the end.

This research as a matter of fact would add to existing library of knowledge and serve as a reference point to academic scholars.

One thing is to identify a problem and the other is how to get the problem solved. Consequently, this research work would not only identify the factors critically, it would open operational pattern that would be used in eliminating the problems.

It is also strongly believed that this study when completed would be immense benefits to the government of Ebonyi State in providing instructional materials to schools especially facilities for pictures for use in lessons.

1.5  Delimitation (Scope of the Study)

The study is restricted to some aspects of the topic “elasticity of are topics in SS III economics of selected schools for the demand was chosen because of its composite abstract c component nature.

In fact elasticity of demand has been reported to pose a serious threat to students in the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASC E).

SS III students are chosen for the study because their operational stage and experience can cope with various attributes of the concepts involved in the study. The study would be conducted in four-selected secondary schools in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

1.6  Research Questions

The research questions that guided the study are as follows:

  1. What is the mean achievement score of students taught elasticity of demand using?
  2. Audio picture synchronized, approach
  3. Audio picture
  4. Picture audio modes, and
  5. Audio- no picture modes (Control; conventional method).
  6. Among the two groups girls /boys, which group performs better using the four modes?

1.7 Hypotheses

H01: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement of students in economics when they are taught demand elasticity using:

  1. Audio picture synchronized, approach
  2. Audio picture
  3. Picture audio modes, and
  4. Audio- no picture modes (Control; conventional method).

H02: There is no significant difference in mean achievement of boys and girls in economics when they are taught demand elasticity using:

  1. Audio picture synchronized, approach
  2. Audio picture
  3. Picture audio modes, and
  4. Audio- o picture modes (Control; conventional method).


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