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An investigation into the effects of social and physical factors, and instructional resources on the academic performance of Advanced Level accounting candidates in Jamaica

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By Paul Andrew Bourne, MSc. (candidate); BSc. (Hons) Economics and Demography; Dip. Edu.

 

1

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

Jamaica is the third largest landmass in the Greater Antilles of the West Indies.  The island is located 90 miles south of Cuba and 100 miles west of Haiti.  Its mountainous terrain spans an area of 235 kilometers (km) long, 80 km wide and covers a land area of 10, 991 squared kilometers.  The country got independence from Britain on August 6, 1962, when the human population was 1,624,400 (STATIN 2001: xxvi). The nation’s population rose from 1,624,400 (in 1962) to 2,607,632 (in 2001) – (STATIN 2001: x).  Of the latter aggregate, there were 1,283,547 males and 1,324,085 females, with 674,795 (this represents 25.6 per cent of the total population) being between the 15 and 29 age cohort years.  Those ages represent the single largest age group of the total population (STATIN 2001, xxix). This group constitutes a significant percent of the pupils who attend the various secondary educational institutions.  Those schools are located across the fourteen parishes.  In the Population Census 2001, Jamaica, Volume 1, Report, STATIN cited that the literacy rate was 74 percent, with this social reality, what explains the dismally low academic performance of Sixth Form Accounting candidates? – (see Table II).

            The country’s educational system was fashioned from the British system; as such, Grammar schools (i.e. Traditional high schools) were designed to supply pupils for further studies in addition to supplying ‘high quality’ employees for the public and private sectors.  Traditional secondary-educational institutions continue to furnish tertiary educational institutions with candidates as they are the ones who have been tested and retested by way of external examinations for example by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and the University of Cambridge (Advanced and-or Ordinary Level examinations).  Those educational institutions are across the entire geographical landscape of the island.  Some of them are co-educational and single educational (i.e. either boys only or girls only) with a few being private. The educational system of Jamaica is predominately public where the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture on the behalf of the government is responsible for the administration of those schools.  Even though the private educational institutions are not governed and-or administrated by the Ministry of Education, they must adhere to the regulations of the Ministry. This study will garner data from a sample of all the educational institutions that teach the Advanced Level Accounting syllabus within the island with the purpose of establishing external validity as well as providing information for further study. 

            Today’s world mainly calls for examinations in the assessment of peoples’ aptitude and abilities.  That social reality means that there is skewness towards and a positive relationship between examination results and academic performance.  That is, the yardstick for evaluating an individual’s knowledge reservoir, skills level and competence in performing a particular task is an examination.  In order for an individual to be considered an authority within any field s/he is expected to have successfully sat examination(s). Consequently the formal education is the metre used in assessing future social development and even success.  Hence the criterion according to many stakeholders in judging competence is crucial evidence that determines the learned skills, knowledge, expertise and standards that the teachers apply to a classroom of students.  As such, this answers questions like is the child doing well in his/her school work, or is s/he not doing well a particular discipline. 

Based on what obtains in Western culture that academic performance is measured on examination grades, this is the reason behind the researcher’s intention to critically analyze social, and physical factors and instructional resources in order to comprehend their impact on the population’s success or failure rate on the A’ Level Accounting examination.  

The researcher is not advocating for the present system that exists, instead he is forwarding a position that although a student might be an excellent academic performer during normal class times (outside of examinations), his or her output in terms of examination results may be affected by  physical factors such as: diet, illness; psychological factors, instructional resources or event social settings.  It is believed that these are critical factors in assessing the performance of Advanced Level Accounting students. From this vantage point, the British system of using examinations in determining success/failure is highly flawed. Nevertheless, the reason for this investigation is primarily due to the below average performance of candidates who have sat the same examination over the years, as their grades reflect a REASON for alarm (see table 1).

 Table 1

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE LOCAL EXAMINATION SYNDICATE

ADVANCED LEVEL ACCOUNTING (JUNE) – Entries and Percentage Passes of Jamaican candidates

 

 

 

YEAR

 

 

ENTRIES

 

NO. SAT EXAM.

 

% PASS

1982

133

133

4.5

1983

313

313

36.8

1984

459

459

28.3

1985

628

628

43.5

1986

679

679

48.5

1987

819

819

37.7

1988

934

607

43.1

1989

1034

763

6.9

1990

1340

 

4.9

1991

1339

1144

4.0

1992

1187

 

38.7

1993

1227

1062

27.8

1994

1587

 

23.6

1995

1271

 

31.4

1996

1603

1336

38.7

1997

1689

1387

34.1

1998

1725

*

29.6

1999

*

*

*

2000

473

230

48.6

2001

573

190

33.1**

2002

*

*

*

               

    SOURCE:  i. STATISTICAL YEARBOOK OF JAMAICA, 1990 – 1999

                                       ii. STATISTICAL ABSTRACT (PUBLICATIONS 1982 – 1992)

                         *   Missing figures

                        ** Public school only and for the private schools it was (336 candidates; pass rate 14.9%)

            The data in Tables I and II  revealed that there are wide gaps between the success rate of those candidates who sat the Principles of Accounts examination in Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and that of those who wrote the Advanced Level examination in the same discipline.  Because the concentration of this study is primarily on performance, it is obvious from the figures in Table I that the rate of failure in the Advanced Level Accounting examination is vast in comparison to the CXC results (see table II).  Therefore, the statistics highlight a need for us to unearth information in order to find solutions to the already low and deteriorating academic performance of candidates who written the Advanced Level accounting examination.

            In 1982, table I begins with 4.5 percent or six (6) candidates of those who sat the Advanced Level Accounting examination having been successful (i.e. attaining a grade of A-E). This means that 95.5 percent of 133 candidates who sat the examination were unsuccessful.  In 1983, 313 candidates sat the same discipline and of that total only 115 were successful (i.e. 36.8 percent).  This indicates a failure rate of 73.2 percent of total number of candidates who sat the examination in the period.  Although this represents a drastic reduction of 22.3 percent of the number of unsuccessful candidates to have sat the examination over the previous year, what is critical is that more than 50 percent of candidates were unsuccessful on the examination.  That failure rate is absolutely unacceptable and highlight a need for the review of teachers’ performance, and whether or not the students who are been prepared are receiving the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies to successfully write the examination. 

Table 2

C.X.C PRINCIPLES OF ACCOUNTS (JUNE – GENERAL PROFICIENCY) Results – Entries and Percentage Passes of Jamaican candidates

 

YEAR

 

ENTRIES

% PASS

1982

35

65.71

1983

39

58.97

1984

92

57.61

1985

116

75.86

1986

1544

68.8

1987

1372

70.8

1988

1768

50.1

1989

1873

56.0

1990

8213

28.4

1991

7161

29.4

1992

6909

41.6

1993

7060

43.1

1994

7336

53.3

1995

7289

42.7

1996

7623

57.5

1997

12808

71.0

1998

8450

47.0

1999

6892

78.3

2000

6588

76.2

2001

6305

85.5

2002

6416

87.2

2003

6262

84.0

                       

SOURCE:  i. STATISTICAL YEARBOOK OF JAMAICA, 1990 – 1999

                                                ii.  STATISTICAL ABSTRACT (PUBLICATIONS 1982 – 1998: 52, 54, 60, 63)

                                               

                                                 iii.  Jamaica Education Statistics, 1999 – 2000; 2000/2001

            In 1985, the numbers of candidates who sat and passed the examination (Advanced Level Accounting) were 43.5 percent or 273 person from an aggregate of 628 applicants.  This represents approximately a one hundred percent increase over the previous year.  This success continued over into the following year with a minute improvement of 5 percent.  There is a saying that goes “success is only for a season” and so it was when in 1987 the success rate fell to 37.7 percent (i.e. -10.8 percent).  In 1988, a miraculous increase occurred when the success rate rose by 5.4 percent over the previous year.  Then a flood of disappointing performances followed 1988, when the success rate fell exponentially by over 300 percent and the spiral continued to 1991.  Although dramatic recoveries did occur following post 1991, the success rate is superfluous in comparison to that of Trinidad and Tobago in table 3 on page 9.

            From table I, the success rate revealed that over the 20-year period, it is on only one occasion that the students’ academic performance was approximately 50 percent and that year was in 1986.  Therefore, this highlights the need for the re-evaluation of the Advanced Level Accounting examination as it relates to the candidates, the environment, the materials, the teachers and social factors; so that we may be able to address this issue before a major problem occurs in the future. Continuing on this path of a high failure rate at the Advanced level have implications for the accounting profession, the society and cadre of our accounting stock supply and so this matter is of concern to resident Jamaicans, non-resident Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans alike.

            We have analyzed the Advanced Level and the Ordinary Level Accounting Examination results, and apart from the disparity in successes of the candidates who sat both the two (2) levels, it should be noted that the former subject is a requirement for further studies at the University level and so their results indicate a distressing socio-economic problem for future accountants.  In addition, the researcher is bewildered by the continuous low academic performance of pupils who continue to write the Advanced Level examination. This is because disparity between the Ordinary level and the Advanced Level Accounting results are exponentially ranged. In identifying this shortcoming, the researcher consulted the examiners’ reports to provide an assessment of students’ performance.  The reason is that those Reports will provide a detailed evaluation of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses as seen through the eyes of the examiners.   Those Reports furnish external validity and reliability of the examination and as such are crucial in providing an understanding of the reason for the poor academic performance of the Advanced level accounting which is the base on which the researcher will analyze those documents.  This study will be “An investigation into the effects of social and physical factors, and instructional resources on the academic performance of Advanced Level accounting candidates in Jamaica”.

 

 


EXAMINERS’ REPORT

 

The 1999 Report posited generally that the papers provided a good and balanced coverage of the Syllabus and gave the candidates the opportunity of demonstrating their ability in understanding the accounting information system, in preparing and evaluating accounting systems and reports, and in handling quantitative problems critically and analytically.  The Examiners’ Report delineated that the paper was designed to enable candidates to successfully complete the examination (see Appendix III).

            If the papers according to the Examiners’ Report were set with a balanced coverage of the syllabus, then serious questions need to be asked about the performance of the Jamaican candidates and their teachers alike.  In other words, dismally low academic performance of candidates on the examination year after year speaks to the growing trend of problems in the education system in Jamaica.  The fact this matter is of fundamental importance to all facets of the country’s economic development, the issue must be studied, understood and instantaneously remedied before the issue becomes chronic.

 

            The Advanced Level Accounting Reports from the University of Cambridge highlight the fact that candidates who wrote the papers were either not being prepared properly or that they lack the higher degree of knowledge, skill and competence, and obviously have not attained the level required for the Advanced Level examination.  The Report posited that, this level of accounting demands more than a mechanical reproduction of knowledge that is what was taught to candidates who wrote the Ordinary Level/Caribbean Examination Council examination (see A’ Level Examiners’ Report, 1997).

            The researcher having been a teacher for more than fourteen (14) years, teaching accounting at both levels throughout a number of traditional, comprehensive, private, technical and upgraded high schools has observed over the years countless number of candidates who have paid for the Principles of Accounts examination (CXC/Ordinary level) would normal intensely prepare for the paper the night before.  However, an over night reading of the text along with any vigorous practice of the content of the subject will not suffice for the Advanced level accounting syllabus.  It is evident that at this new level (Advanced Level) there are certain skills, knowledge and competencies that must be mastered thorough the two (2) year period of preparation before the actual day of the examination.   Otherwise, they are not adequately prepared to write the papers- the evidence is shown in Table I.

            If Jamaica seeks to encourage a high level of production and an increase in productivity beyond where it is presently situated, the Government and the Private Sector must recognize the dilemma to which we are falling year after year. There is a need to tackle the product of our education, the educational system must provide our people with the prerequisite skills, and knowledge in that they may be able to keep abreast of world. Given that we rely on Sixth Form students so this country as the architects of intellectual development with their dismally low academic performance over the years as it relates to Advanced Level Accounting, all sectors within the Jamaican landscape must be concerned and move immediately to arrest such a situation.  Our concern must be backed by corrective measures that must be implemented to ensure that those repeatedly low success rates be abated now.

            The researcher, however, does not subscribe to the notion as seen by the Cambridge Examiners’ that the Advanced Level Accounting candidates are not furnished with the required skills, knowledge and the competencies that are needed to successfully write the examination.  Instead, the researcher is postulating that sociological factors are indeed important phenomena that explain the low performances by the Jamaican candidates.  Therefore, this present investigation will explore and unearth the impact of sociological factors on students’ skills level, knowledge base and competencies that directly affects their academic performance.

            The academic non-performance of grammar school students is not solely a relationship between any one sociological factor and examination results but is multi functional and so cannot be explained with factors void of the social settings of the students.

The researcher believes that the concluded paragraph by Kristina K. Rudiger (M.P.H, M.Ed.) in an article titled School Health Programs and Academic Achievement is relevant.  

 

“The physical and mental well being of students is a prerequisite for achieving our educational objectives.  The goals of schools are consistent with the goals of health promotion.  Because healthy children learn better than children with health problems, to achieve their education mission, schools must help address the health needs of students.  The health of our youth is too important to be left to chance.  Programs aimed at reaching our youth must begin early, well before the first grade in kindergarten.  They must continue throughout the student’s high school years.  Every child’s educational success is important, just as every child’s health is important.”

 

            It is the failure of the educational system in Jamaica to understand and execute a continuous plan of action that balances health and students well being so as to maximize students’ innate capabilities that we are left without that results in success rate as shown in Table I (see Appendix II).

           

 

 


SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

 

Peter Abbott (1993) posited that Jamaica is one of the countries in the Third World and the Western Hemisphere with the highest failure rate in the Principles of Accounts Examination at the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level.  It is this fact that highlights the need for such a study on this phenomenon.  The researcher was only able to find available statistics for Trinidad and Tobago (see Table 3 – Appendix II).  Therefore, he will not agree with the external validity of previously mentioned author’s work.  A crucial question for all Jamaicans is why?

            Based on the value in Table III (see Appendix II) in comparison to those figures for Jamaica in Table I (see Appendix II), Trinidad and Tobago’s students are performing at a superior level compared to that of their Jamaican counterparts.  In Table III, the lowest success rate for Trinidad and Tobago’s candidates over the years is 57.9 (in percent) compared to 4.0 (in percent) in Jamaica.  In regards to the highest success rate Jamaica has had a 48.7 percent compared to a Trinidad’s 68.9.  It should be noted that Jamaica sent in excess of 100 percent more students in absolute value to the numbers of students that Trinidad and Tobago (1,200,000 people) sent, and the failure of the Jamaican candidates in absolute terms is exponentially more than those sent by the later.  As such, this forms another reason for the purpose of this study.

            “What we are looking for is the ability of the students to use the knowledge of the subject and apply it to particular circumstances” he said (Abbott, 1993).  The Examiners’ Report 1999 submitted by the University of Cambridge concurred with Abbott’s stance speaks to flaws with the A’ Level programme (see Literature Review). Therefore, the researcher felt that this study on completion would answer a number of questions regarding the academic performance of candidates who are writing the Advanced Level Accounting examination.  The researcher is convinced that the investigation would highlight whether Sixth Form students are furnished with sufficient knowledge, skills and competence to successfully write the accounting papers.

            The Advanced level accounting Reports from the University of Cambridge highlighted that students were either not being adequately prepared or that they lacked that higher degree of knowledge and skills, and obviously have not attained the level required by the examination.  The Reports states that, “this level of accounting demands much more than a mechanical reproduction of knowledge”.  Based on the low levels of successes at the examination, it is evident from the results that the pupils have not mastered certain skills, knowledge and competencies.  Meaning, many of the accounting candidates have not been able to gain a grade “E” the lowest credible pass at the examination.  This supports the crucial ness of research.

            If on completion it is found that the proposed competencies, skills and knowledge were not being adequately imparted to students in the Teaching/Learning process, the researcher will be more than willing to make available copies of the recommendations to all participating institutions.

            This project will mainly be beneficial to two (2) groups:  Firstly, teachers and students and secondly policy makers.  In that, if the Document with the Recommendations and their Findings when received by the Business Education, Heads of Department at the various high schools was to be critically analyzed and implemented, then there should be improvements in the standard of candidates sitting the examination.  In addition, if administrators of policies were to implement some of the recommendations and-or use this study as a benchmark for further investigation into the issues of providing answers, then fundamental changes will be forthcoming as they relate to improvements in the A’ Level Accounting program.

            By providing recommendations, the researcher feels that this will automatically produce higher quality scripts being prepared by sixth form candidates. 

            The low academic performance of candidates who have written the Advanced Level accounting examination over the years is mainly seen through the scope of knowledge, skills level and competence without the in-depth understanding of social factors such as class attendance; physical factors for example diet, exercise, or illness; instructional resources which includes textbooks, and past papers; and those matters are supporting reasons for the successes or failures of our Jamaican students that have been sidelined as it relates to this examination.

 

Main Objective

1.0       To examine the relationship between the academic performances; social, physical factors and instructional resources of students in Traditional High Schools in Jamaica who write the Advanced Level Accounting, and to determine the extent to which the relationship differs based on gender.

Specific Objectives

1.1       To determine to what extent of the relationship between academic performance and       social factors; and if this relationship varies, based on gender;

1.2       To ascertain if physical factors positively impact on students’ academic performance      and if this relationship differs among males and females;        

1.3       To determine if there is a positive relationship between instructional resources and          academic performance of students and ascertain if this relationship differs among gender.

 


RESEARCH QUESTIONS

 

            1.         Are social factors enabling Sixth Form student to successfully complete                                      the Advanced Level Accounting Examination?

            2.         Do Sixth Form students possess the relevant instructional resources that will                               help them to successfully write the Advanced Level Accounting syllabus?

            3.         Are physical factors crucial in determining the success rate of Sixth Form student                                   on the Advanced Level Accounting examination?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2

 

LITERATURE REVIEW

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

David Hargreaves (Haralambos 1997, 5:231) states that, “many schools fail to produce a sense of dignity of working-class.  If pupils fail to achieve individual success in competitive exams they will tend to rebel and fail to develop a sense of belonging within the school.”   The researcher concurs with that conclusion within the Jamaican experience; students who are the most indisciplined oftentimes are within the group of poor academic achievers (i.e. failure at examinations). Haralambos writing revealed that, “To acquire dignity a person must achieve a sense of competence, of making a contribution to, and of being valued by, the group to which he or she belongs.”  Here Hergreaves’s positions reflect the structure of the world as it relates to accomplishment, being successes on a competitive examination in order to establish competence.  Meaning that, there is much stress levied on the individual to compete on an examination in order to establish worth, mastery and that of being valued by society.  This explains why sociologists of the modern school including Hargreaves believed that the individual should have some sense of freedom to pursue disciplines of his/her interest or talent and not be totally dictated to by the social institution – the school.  That is, the education system is rigidly structured to measure students’ performance in order to allocate human resources within the role-structure of adult society.

            “Conformity and obedience therefore bring their own rewards.  Finally, students emerge from the educational system with a variety of qualifications that they and others believe have provided them with the training, skills and competence for particular occupations.  Illich rejects this belief.  He argues that ‘The pupil is schooled to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence,” Haralambos (1997:5,236) said.  The researcher concurs with Haralambos’ views.  The present ‘Westernized’ model is designed around qualification, success, achievement and competence as measured by a competitive examination that cannot be a true reflection of individuals’ depth of knowledge, skill base or even mastery in a task.

            The Journal of Education (1981) posited that performance might be seen as an index of the candidates’ ability and motivation. In that, the success of teaching is in engaging in giving direction, as that fact is observed as affecting performance.

            The Journal of Education (op cit) further commented that the Jamaican economy relies heavily on graduate output of the University of the West Indies to supply the needed expertise in technological, commercial and professional fields.  In turn, the University of the West Indies depends on the Sixth Forms of Secondary High Schools (grammar school) to supply students capable of acquiring a particular expertise.  Over the past few years however, wastage at the Sixth Form level in Jamaican Grammar schools has led to setting up of a working party by the Jamaican government to consider post Ordinary Level Education.

            In Jamaica, an investment in Sixth Form Education at the Secondary level requires thorough investigation if the overall outcome continues to be between 4.0 and 45.8 percent success rate in the Cambridge Advanced Level Accounting Examination.  Students who participate in the Sixth Form programme of study are usually University aspirants and represent meritocratic elite in the Jamaican Educational system.  This small and selected group of young adults has elected to pursue this course of study after attaining a minimum of grade III or a grade C at the CXC/Ordinary Level examination (since, 1998).

            The performance of Advanced Level candidates (post Caribbean Examination Council) has been deteriorating disappointingly (see Appendix II).  The Journal (op cit) noted that the continuing wastage at the Sixth Form Level demands that improvement in the Advanced Level Achievement of Jamaican Students be treated as a priority.  As such, consideration and speedy implementation of some or all of the recommendations offered by the Working Party provide a starting point on which to develop those improvements best able to assist in equipping Sixth Formers for providing Jamaica with the technological, commercial and professional skills vital to the Nation’s Economic, political, social and psychological development.

            You may want to argue that the Journal of Education was published in 1981, so looked at issues of that period and not beyond to 2004.  The issue today is, have systems been implemented to curtail those matters that were place in the Journal of Education in 1981. If not, the argument still holds true as the situation is the same as before the research was done by that agency. Now, you will see that such performance has continued to occur, when Lloyd Brown (1989) posited that, the results of the Advanced Level Examinations in 1988 in Jamaica could hardly be encouraging to the child going into Sixth Form.  Continuing, the statistics revealed that a candidate is highly likely to fail the examination (that is, 6/10 chance that s/he will fail the papers) Brown, 1989.  The statistics on students’ successes showed that an individual chance of being successful in 2004 is 4/10.  The worrying spiral downward trends in successes of candidates who have sat the examination are depressing to the eyes and the human capital development of this country.  Because the failure rate is high or very high, thorough the history of the examination, the researcher have wonders whether the Parents and Children have been advised of the challenge of the Sixth Form Programme.

            Pupils who leave for the Fifth Form Level of education where they have just completed the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) or Ordinary Level (O’Level) programme are experiencing severe problems at the lower Sixth Form Level (Brown, 1989).  Based on Table II (see Appendix II), Brown’s findings are true as the facts from the A’ Level examination results clearly concurs with Brown.  The researcher’s own experience at the Advanced levels affirms Brown’s postulations on the matters, as he believes that he got no prior preparation for this new mental rigour and depth of application.  Hence, this still leaves unanswered “Are students being furnished with the relevant skills, knowledge and competencies for the Advanced Level examination?”  If not, the inevitable occurs – frustration, inability to cope and ultimately failure on the path of many candidates.  Brown states, “Having been fed a diet of dependency, the pupil approaches the Sixth Form programme in the same manner and s/he is really badly shaken when he/she realizes that he/she must use a different approach, if s/he is to achieve academic excellence”.  This leaves yet another unanswered issue, the difference between the Ordinary and Advanced Level examination and the teachers understanding of the requirements of latter.  What is the social reality and social meanings that are out there that explain the sub-performance of A’ Level candidates?

 


ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

 

On the point of academic performance or excellence, Tuckman (1975) posited that, “performance is used to label the observable manifestation of knowledge, skills, concepts, and understanding and ideas”.  Hence, what is happening to our students who have sat and will continue to write the Advanced level examinations?  If performance is the accomplishment of set tasks in a course objective in order to meet the requirement of examination syllabus, what explains the difference between the high performance in O’ Level and A’ Level (see Appendix II).  Thereby, performance is the application of a learning product that at the end of the process provides mastery.

            The acquisition of particular grades on examinations indicate candidates ability, mastery of the content, skills in applying learned knowledge to particular situations.  A student’s success is generally judged on examination performance.  Success on examinations is a crucial indicator that a student has benefited from a course of study (Wiseman, 1961).  Why?  Fishman (1962) states that, “all British studies have relied on examination performance”.  This reality provides the basis on which performance is measured by Western civilization. 

            However, Harrison (1974), a Jamaican, posited that although an examination is not a perfect measure of educational success of pupils, it is an important indicator in this country’s educational systems and such cannot be ignored.  It should be noted that the British established the educational system in Jamaica and so one should understand why this position is widely accepted.

            The researcher believes that authentic academic performance should involve an examination of the total person.  Meaning the examination should cover individual’s academic ability, and skills in applying practical abilities. 

           

SKILLS

           

Joan Freeman (1993) states that, “Good intellectual skills have to be learnt, although basic sensory awareness naturally is a normal condition”.  Meaning, ones intellectual ability to cope with incoming information, store it in flexible category in the memory, retrieve it for application to different situations, and adopt new information, all have to be refined to reach levels of competence.  This process needs directive teaching, such as in learning to distinguish between shapes, recognizing forms and estimating distances to mention a few skills.  All the senses are teachable to develop them into intellectual skills.

            It is through skills such as reading, and listening that an individual acquires information (Lindgren, 1976).  The need for information about the world is a challenge that we can only meet by acquiring and using appropriate skills, and it is impossible to learn skills without using information.  Wright (1987) agreed with Lindgren when he posited that, it is important for beginners in accounting to be accurate about facts and information concerning their tasks.  Meaning, in being accurate about facts and information, reading skill is being utilized.  Hence, is it that A’ Level candidates are faced with the challenge of substandard reading skills?  This issue may be an undiscovered reality that could explain the performance of the Jamaican candidates who write the examination.

            Accuracy is necessary for a business to stay in existence.  It therefore means that, workers have to utilize as much skills as possible in this area.  Meaning that ultimately to this end are the Sixth Form Students being prepared.  By reading and listening, then the skill of comprehension will be improved.  It can be noted that at the point where the students understand what is expected, then they will be ale to perform the tasks more competently.  The ability to listen to instructions is an important factor to be considered.  This will enable the students to produce accurate work and efficient work.

            One will agree with Wright (op cit), when she states that, “penmanship is important.”  If a person’s handwriting is not readable by others, then the information is of no use.  While writing legibly, it should be with speed.  This is because deadlines have to be met, and there are always other works to be done.  In the speed of task, spelling should be accurate.  Where there is inaccuracy, the information is sometimes misleading.

            Accounting requires constant calculation of figures to aid the gathering of information.  It is therefore, important for students to be able to use the skill of computation efficiently.  As such, it is evident that students need to have the ability to do arithmetic.  This is the key as students must be able to do basic mathematics to produce accurate information.

            Communication is another extremely important skill that is required by students that need mentioning.  In the Accounts Department, everyone will use accounting records; therefore, there is the need for an interactive communication system built between employees.  This would therefore create an atmosphere in which the objectives of the firm can be achieved to which the Sixth Form Students are being prepared to work.

            Freeman (op cit) postulated that, the processes of intellectual development are not confined to the simple acquisition of skills; each new skill adds to and changes what has already been tried out.  Perception is learnt from experience and it affects reasoning: good reasoning based on mistaken perceptions will produce faulty conclusions.  Good quality education is largely concerned with correcting misconception and by broadening a child’s view, in such a way that the individual can reach personal conclusions from what s/he has observed.

            Freeman (op cit) argued that analytical skills are sometimes called successive progressing which uses information in a time sequence.  Meaning that one thought must logically follow another.  In that, each process is linked in the chain of reasoning being dependent on the last.  This is demanded from Accounting Students.

            In regards, numeric skills Freeman (op cit) posited that, new ideas are reshaping the teaching of numeric skills.  The style of calculations that parents learnt as children has fallen into disuse because the focus has been redirected away from numbers and towards logical relationships and mathematical languages.  Instead of doing arithmetic in school, children are now likely to measure rooms, desk, consider, classify distinguish, differentiate and compare many aspects of what they have discovered for themselves.

            To support the above statement McNical’s (1979) view was that, in the performance of any skill, the skill the student is consciously or unconsciously, based his/her movements on acquired knowledge.  If the learner does not know the relevant basic knowledge in certain areas, his/her performance will lack some of the characteristics of the skill expected.  For example a worker who has to use tool(s) must be aware of the use of each piece of equipment so that he/she can choose the right one(s) for the Job; because if s/he uses the wrong tool(s) the results of the job could be an inferior product and “awkward” movement in trying to reach the prescribed goal.

            On the issue of study skills, Ann Irving (1985) argued that, the teaching of study skills has become an important issue in Secondary Education.  We would have noticed over the years that despite the methods and materials of the teaching/learning process, many pupils are still unable to improve their learning.

            Irving (op cit) argued further that, pupils fail to put into practice the full range of skills and habits they possess.  The emphasis on talk is made into the belief that pupils develop their ideas more quickly through talking that writing and that expression and organization of ideas in writing will best occur where there is some organization in the mind of the writer before writing begins.

            On the matter of revision and examination preparation skills, Irving (op cit) argued that, before the examinations were to begin, pupils should be given lessons on how to prepare for their examinations.  In particular, they should be taught how to write a revision plan.  Once the plan had been written and corrected by the teachers, in the ensuring weeks time was spent advising pupils how to write revision notes, how to make the most of one’s memory and the importance of testing recall above all else.

            Irving’s (op cit) view was that, the final week before the examination, the teachers should make the students aware of the problems that they are likely to encounter and how they might be overcome or at least reduced to proportions that are more manageable before the sitting of the examination.

 


KNOWLEDGE

 

Knowledge involves the recall of specifics and universals information, the recall of methods and processes, or the recall of a pattern, structure, or setting (Benjamin Bloom 1979).  That is, for measurement purposes, the recall situation involves little more than bringing to mind the appropriate material.  Although some alteration of the material may be required, this is a relatively minor part of the task.  The knowledge objectives emphasize most of the psychological processes of remembering.  Meaning, to use an analogy, if one thinks of the mind as a file cabinet, the problem in a knowledge test situation is that of finding the problem or task the appropriate signals, cues, and clues that will most effectively bring out the stored information.

            The recall of specific and assailable bits of information is crucial for students on an examination (Bloom 1979).   The emphasis here is on symbols with concrete referents.  This material, which is at a very low level of abstraction, may be thought of as the element from which more complex and abstract forms of knowledge are built. 

            Knowledge of terminologies is crucial aspects of understanding the requirement of the preparation for an examination.  Meaning that, referent to specific symbols must be used for interpretation of the examination papers.  Bloom (op cit) added that, knowledge of dates, events, persons, places et cetera are important for the examination.  These include very precise and specific information such as the specific date or exact magnitude of a phenomenon.

            On the issue of principles and generalization, Bloom (op cit) revealed that, knowledge of particular abstractions summarize phenomena that are critical in the preparation process for the examination.  These are abstractions which are of value in explaining, describing, predicting, or in determining the most appropriate and relevant action or direction to be taken.

            The greater the knowledge bases of the reader/learner or student, the better the comprehension of textual materials.  Meaning that, one way to account for this generalization is that knowledge can be viewed as an organized collection of information.  New information as might be gathered through reading can be assimilated more thoroughly when existing cognitive structures and information already exist (Robert Solso 1988).  Conversely, insufficient knowledge limits comprehension about the material as well as encodes the information being read.   

 

COMPETENCIES

           

According to Joan Freeman (1993), “motivation always comes from the individual, although it results may be for the benefit of the community.”  The tried and tested message to those who want to promote literacy in a community is that, if people are to participate, they must want it for themselves; they will neither learn nor maintain the skill if it does not fulfill what they feel they need.  She classified three major reasons why people might want to aim for literacy:

            “i.         literacy strengthens people’s social position, increasing ability to receive                                                 information, while enabling them to contribute their own ideas;

            ii.          literacy provides hope of economic improvement, whether in finding employment                       or in running one’s own business more effectively;

            iii.         literacy provides access to information about gaining individual satisfaction:                                 reading, moving about the country, writing one’s own name instead of a thumb                            print, mastering numeric, communication and analytical skills so as not to be                                 cheating, knowing one’s own rights, and teaching others.”

            Developmental Research findings are clear that cumulative social and economic influences strongly affect the individual’s competence and consequently his/her level of performance in the way it biases his/her expectations of life opportunities (Freeman 1993).

            Freeman (op cit) revealed that, Formal Education should not be seen as the only route for developing the highest level of competency.  If the skills and talents needed by society are limited to an elite, then, whatever way the elite is selected, there will inevitably be talented individuals whose potential contributions are not recognized and so are lost.  Providing for individuals to develop their exceptional talents not only benefit each of them, but also is more than repaid to the society which has helped them in the development of their skills.

            Another author Butler (1939) supported the views of Freeman when he posited that, the primary responsibility of instruction is to bring about the maximum degree of achievement in learning, ensuring maximum performance on the part of the teachers.  To achieve this, Butler (op cit) argued that, competent teachers are necessary to attain this, and the teachers need to be properly trained and motivated in order to offer the students with the relevant competence for their examination.

            The various studies forwarded have offered profound insights varied views, reasons and explanations for the existence of the low academic performance of candidates who have sat the Advanced Level accounting examination in Jamaica in respect to skills, knowledge and competence. The researcher, however, is convinced that social factors (i.e. class attendance, completion of assignment), psychological and environmental factors, and physical factors (diet, exercise, and health) are directly affecting the knowledge base, the skills level and competencies of students who will continue to write examinations in this society.  As such, we must analyze and not neglect the significance of those factors contribution on the low academic performances of Jamaican students.

            Are there any scientific research that shows the relationship between academic performance of students and improvements in class attendance and health?  Answer – According to Kristina K. Rudiger (M.P.H., M.Ed.),  in an article entitled School Health Programs and Academic Achievement , she wrote that “A study of 22,403 students participating in Iowa School-Based Youth Services Programs, with multiple services-including health services, documented students improved or maintained attendance and improved or maintained grade point average.  These results were demonstrated repeatedly over 10 years.”

            She revealed in other research that there is a positive relationship between class attendance, health and academic performance.  She wrote that:

.           California’s Healthy Start Support Services for Children. Schools and collaborative partners coordinated and integrated services-including health screening, counseling, dental, and vision care-across different child and family serving systems to make services more accessible at or near the school.  An evaluation based on data collected found students academic achievement increased significantly.  Test scores for schools in the lowest quartile improved substantially, reading scores for the lowest-performing elementary schools increased by 25 percent and math scores increased by 50 percent.  Middle and high school students, most in need, improved their grade point average by 50 percent, adding 0.8 and 1.2 to their GPA.

 

.           Florida’s Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) Pilot Schools.  Schools incorporated the eight CSHP components into their activities to enhance student health and promote the achievement of State Standards.  Following the implementation of CSHP, two middle schools reported their Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test math scores improved by an average of 11.5 percent and reading scores by an average of 15 percent.  School attendance also increased at each school.

 

.           Physical Fitness. Schools offering intensive physical fitness programs found positive effects on academic achievement even when time for physical activity is taken from the academics including increased concentration; improved mathematics, reading, and writing test scores; and reduced disruptive behaviour;

 

.           The California Department of Education Healthy Kids Program found the lowest performing schools had lower student physical activity levels, with little difference across schools in the top three quintiles.  This suggests lowest performing schools may benefit from quality physical fitness programs; and

 

.           A California Department of Education study found physically fit children perform better academically showing a distinct relationship between academic achievement and the physical fitness of California’s public school students;

 

.           Nutrition.  U.S. DHHS found that eating breakfast improved academic, behavioural, and emotional functioning;

 

.           Nutrition.  Appropriate diet studies found improved problem-solving skills, test scores, and school attendance rates.

 

.           Absenteeism among students is clearly associated with school failure.  Students missing more than 10 days of school in a 90-day semester had trouble remaining at their grade level.  School-based health services reduce absenteeism by providing on site services.”

 

On the other hand, Dalzell-Ward (1974:23), a medical practitioner, commented that, “The deprivation of energy foods will result in excessive fatigue which will in turn diminish social and work performance and interfere with well-being.”  Someone may argue that this position is biased as this represents a particular stance.  But another medical practitioner and research, Schneider (1958:27), some sixteen (16) years prior to Dalzell-Ward wrote on physical education that, “its contribution to health are direct as organic power is developed, as the body structure and function are influenced, and as the activity serves the child’s urge to play and bring pleasure and satisfaction as important safeguards to his mental and emotional activity.”  Meaning that foods directly impact on ones mental and physical well-being which is a significant contributor ingredient in academic performance as the latter phenomenon relies totally on mental and physical capability and ability to achieve successful results.

            Therefore, what are the likely results of malnutrition?  “Malnutrition adversely affects mental development, physical development, productivity, the span of working years – all of which significantly influence the economic potential of man,” Alan Berg (1973:9) said.  Meaning that, without foods one will not have the capacity to function effectively as a normal human being.  Which is reason why Alan Berg (1973:10) stated that, “malnutrition interferes with a child’s motivation, ability to concentrate and ability to learn, which ultimate affect the condition of the brain itself.”  Is nutrition a new phenomenon in the last forty years?  Answer – Berg (1973:13) offered the position from his research that, “The relationship of nutrition to productivity was well recognized a century ago by slave owners, to whom malnutrition meant depreciation of their capital.”  Hence, this researcher is proposing that health offers one explanation of low academic performance.  Continuing,

            Kristina K Rudiger (2004) in an article entitled “School Health Programs and Academic Achievement” concurred with the researcher that, “In fact, many of today’s problems with students are actually health-related.  Kids cannot learn if they are hungry, tired, hung over from alcohol, or worried about violence. We need to eliminate barriers that affect students’ readiness to learn.  A variety of physical and mental conditions impact students’ school attendance and their ability to pay attention in class anger, and restrain from self-destructive impulses.”

           

            Based on Rudger’s medical position, the researcher believes that dietary issues impact directly on the attention span, general achievement, short-term memory, social functioning and concentration that are needed in order that the pupils functioning productively and efficiently on examinations.  Being that the Advanced Level Accounting examination requires an analytical mindset; a crucial tool is a sound mind that is attained through physical exercise, diet and a healthy being.  Which are components for poor or good concentration?  Rudiger (2004) said that, “Students’ health and its impact on their ability to perform well academically are receiving attention.  Recent research examines how incorporating school health education and exercise improve academic performance.”   A research conducted by the University of Washington concurred with Rudiger that “health impairments can result in a range of academic challenges for a student.  Problems include missing class for unpredictable and prolonged time periods and difficulties attending classes full-time or on a daily basis.”  The University continued by stating that, “health problems may also interfere with the physical skills needed to complete laboratory, computer, or writing assignments.”  Meaning there is a relationship between academic performances and the impact of health, and the social factors on the individual who writes examinations. The Washington University posited that asthma, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, heart disease have had temporary to chronic impact on students’ academic performances.  “The secondary effects of illness and the side effects of medications can have a significant impact on memory, attention, strength, endurance, and energy levels,” the University of Washington said.  Is this, therefore, answering the question on the low performances of our Jamaican students on the Advanced Level accounting examination as shown by table 1 (pp.2). 

            The National College Health Assessment (NCHA, 2004) in an article entitled “Health Issues Impacting the Academic Performance of Cal Poly Pomona Students” revealed the following:        “Mental health issues such as stress, sleep difficulties, relationship difficulties, and depression have the most significant impact on academic performance;         Cold, flu, and sore throat, frequent reasons for visits to the Student Health Services are the second most common causes of poor academic performance among all college students; the use of alcohol causes a negative impact on academic performance.”

            Another research revealed that, “Although Iowa progresses in school improvement, there is an emerging crisis to improve students achievement because some students continue to perform poorly and come to school not ready or able to learn.  With all students being at risk and over one-half of all students having health conditions, research links healthy students and improved academic achievement.  This scientific research provides direction for school to incorporate school health programs to improve academic achievement.  In addition, health promoting communities and schools are addressing the needs of students in poor health and not learning well, students with poor health practices that drain educational resources, and student choices affecting their health.  The results are encouraging.”

 

 

                        The researcher, however, believes strongly that Advanced Level accounting students’ academic achievements cannot go unnoticed as indefinitely as the implications are profound for the society and so the matter must be addressed by focusing on eliminating barriers that affect those low performances.  If a widespread case exist that students are entering class without being ready for schoolwork then the society’s primary focus must be on providing mechanism that will adequately address those conditions that will allow the students to function effectively and productively while at school.  Among some of the barriers that must be tackled are physical, emotional, instructional materials, emotional, and social/health conditions that directly affect students’ ability to succeed on examinations.

            Haralambos (1996) wrote that, “Despite the differences between them cultural deprivation and cultural capital theories both emphasize the importance of cultural factors.  However, it is possible that material factors, such as family income, play a part in determining levels of attainment.  Lower social classes may lack the money to provide their children with the same educational opportunities as middle and upper class parents.  Greater resources may allow parents to provide children with toys that are more educational, a greater range of books, a superior diet, and more space in the home to do homework, greater opportunities for travel, private tuition and access to private fee-paying schools.  In all these ways more affluent parents can provide their children with advantages before they attend school and during their school career.”

           

 

            It should be noted that Haralambos’s position exhibits clearly that social class impacts on the future achievement and academic performance of the upper/middle class children within our society.  In that the lack of money by the working-class (or lower class) inhibits their ability to provide the instructional resources, the diet, the psychological advantage and the access of human resources to enhance productivity of their children on examinations.  Meaning, if the child/ren is/are not provided with the appropriate and adequate instructional resources that effectively and comprehensively covers a syllabus, the child is automatically placed at a disadvantage of high academic attainment.  In addition, with the proper diet, many of the working class children’s brain is properly nourished to enable them to enter the class home as high recipient of information to write the various examination at some future date.  No money spells low performance that indicates the disparity in achievement in educational achievement of the various classes in our society.

            Is there a disparity between the sexes as it relates to academic achievement?  “In 1987/88, 62 percent of females left schools in the United Kingdom with a least one GCSE grade A-C or equivalent whereas the figure for males was 54 percent.  On the basis of similar figures, females now also perform slightly better at A’ Level but not by some other measure,” O’Donnell (1997:110) said.  Professor Errol Miller from the Department of Arts and Education concurred with the general findings in United Kingdom, by showing in his book on the marginalization of men that, the females are outstripping their male counterparts in academic, occupation and other endeavours. The researcher would like the readers to understand that the previous argument is not sexist or feminist in nature but reflects the general reality of the present Jamaican experience (see Statistical Abstract on Jamaica as it relates to examination performance on the various disciplines at different level of the educational strata).

All the academic works previously cited and positions forwarded have offered a variety of views, reasons and explanations for the existence of the low academic achievement of people generally on competitive examinations. It is through this in formation that the researcher will guide his study in an attempt to discover if those views provide invaluable information on Advanced level accounting examination failure/success rate in the Jamaican context. As such, the low achievement of many Jamaicans on this examination is as a result of the physical factors, social factors or instructional resources.  The researcher will also be able to decipher any differences in his findings and the findings of those studies, in order to see whether or not the causes are different and therefore need to be researched more and addressed by the Jamaican society. 

 

 


3

METHODOLOGY

 

This research, An investigation into the effects of social and physical factors, and instructional resources on the academic performance of Advanced Level accounting candidates in Jamaica, is primarily seeking to establish causal relationships between social, physical factors, instructional resources and academic performance by way of the survey method; as such, the positivists’ paradigm is the most suitable and preferred methodology.  Further, this study will test a number of hypotheses (page 34) by carefully analyzing numbers in wanting to assess causality; hence, the positivist paradigm is the appropriate choice.  The positivists’ paradigm assumes objectivity, impersonality, causal laws, and rationality. This construct encapsulates scientific method, precise measurement, deductive and analytical division of social realities. From this standpoint, the objective of the researcher is to provide internal validity of the study, which, will rely totally on the scientific methods, precise measurement, value free sociology and impersonality.

There is a vortex in the study with regards to low academic performance of Advanced Level Accounting students (see Appendix 2 ) and as such necessitates new analysis and insight. In attempt to unearth the “truth” about this dilemma of students’ performance, the survey method will be used to collect data.  The data will be collected via a questionnaire (see Appendix I). Trained administrators within the schools will administer this instrument, which makes for divorcing the researcher from the researched.  This makes for reducing any bias that may arise with the researcher and the subject. 

In order to provide answers to the pressing social reality that has been plaguing the Jamaican A’ Level candidates, the deductive method will be employed within an analytical framework of statistics.

The study will design its approach similar to that of the natural science by using logical empiricism.  This will be done by precise measurement through statistics (chi-square and Spearman).  Stratified sampling (see page 41) will be the technique used to determine the sample frame of 500 researched.  By using hypotheses testing, value free sociology, logical empiricism,  cause-and-effect relationships, precise measurement through the use of statistics and survey and deductive logical with precise observation, this study could not have used the interpretivists paradigm.  As the latter seeks to understand, how people within their social setting construct meaning in their natural setting which is subjective rather than the position taken in this research – an objective stance.  Conversely, this study does not intend to transform peoples’ social reality by way of empowerment but is primarily concerned with unearthing a truth that is out there and as such, that was the reason for the non-selection of the Critical Social Scientist paradigm.

 

 

 


Hypotheses:

General hypothesis

 

A1.       Physical and social factors and instructional resources will directly influence the academic performance of students who will write the Advanced Level Accounting Examination;

A2.       Physical and social factors and instructional resources positively influence the academic performance of students who write the Advanced level accounting          examination and that     the relationship varies according to gender.

B1.       Pass successes in Mathematics, Principles of Accounts and English Language at the Ordinary/CXC General level will positively    influence success on the Advanced level accounting examination;

B2.       Pass successes in Mathematics, Principles of Accounts and English Language at the Ordinary/CXC General level will positively    influence success on the Advanced level accounting examination and that these relationships vary based on gender.

Specific hypotheses

 

1.1       The Academic performance of students at the Advanced Level is directly influenced       by physical factors;

1.2       The Academic performance of students at the Advanced Level is directly influenced by physical factors and that the relationship varies based on gender.

2.1       Social factors of the Advanced Level accounting students do positively influence their     academic performance;

2.2       Social factors of the Advanced Level accounting students do positively influence their     academic performance and that this relationship varies based on gender

3.1       The academic performance of students who will write the advanced level examination is             directly influenced by instructional resources;

3.2       The academic performance of students who will write the advanced level examination is             directly influenced by instructional resources and that this relationship varies based on         gender.

4.1       Pass success in Mathematics at the Ordinary/CXC General Proficiency level will            positively influence success on the Advanced level accounting examination;

4.2       Pass successes in Mathematics at the Ordinary/General Proficiency level will      positively influence success on the Advanced level accounting examination and that this      relationship varies based on gender.

5.1       Pass success in English Language at the Ordinary/CXC General Proficiency level will     positively influence success on the Advanced level accounting examination;

5.2       Pass successes in English Language at the Ordinary/General Proficiency level will           positively influence success on the Advanced level accounting examination and that this        relationship varies based on gender.

6.1       Pass success in Principles of Accounts at the Ordinary/CXC General Proficiency level will positively influence success on the Advanced level accounting examination;

6.2       Pass successes in Principles of Accounts at the Ordinary/General Proficiency level will   positively influence success on the Advanced level accounting examination and that this        relationship varies based on gender.

 

OPERATIONALIZATION

 

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

           

Performance is a used label for the observable manifestation of knowledge, skills, concepts, understanding and ideas.  It can also be termed as the application of a learning product after mastery.  Meaning, performance is the accomplishment of set tasks in course objectives in order to meet the specified requirements of an examination body (Tuchman, 1975).   Hence, examination results will be used to measure academic performance.

 

PHYSICAL FACTORS

            Exercise (physical fitness)

           

            Diet – Breakfast

 

            Illnesses – mental and physical

 

 

SOCIAL FACTORS

 

 

            Class attendance, subjective social class

 

            Self Concept

 

 

GENDER

 

           

            Males and Females

 

INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES

 

 

          Availability of Textbooks and/or past papers, problem papers and solutions


RECODED QUESTIONS

 

 

 

Q6.1    Are you affected by any of the following illnesses?

 

            ________ Migraine                                      ________ asthma

 

            ________ Arthritis                                       ________ heart disease

 

            ________ Psychosis                                     ________ drug addiction

 

            ________ Anxiety                                         ________ depression

 

            ________ Sickle cell                                    ________ hypertension

 

            ________ Diabetes                                       ________fit (epilepsy)

 

            ________ None                                            ________ numbness of the hand(s)

           

Other (specify): ____________________________________________________

 

 

Q6.1 will be recoded into a dichotomous variable:

 

 

Group One – Mental illnesses

 

            .           migraine

            .           anxiety

            .           drug addiction

            .           depression

 

 

Group Two – Physical illnesses

 

            .           numbness of the hands

            .           sickle cell

            .           diabetes

            .           heart disease

            .           hypertension

            .           arthritis

            .           asthma

-                     fit

 


PHYSICAL/MENTAL ILLNESSES

 

These variables were recoded into three groups

 

            1. None, 2. At least one and 3. At least two

 

Note:  The researcher isolated MIGRAINE in order to understand its influence or lack thereof on students’ academic performance.  This variable was recorded as a dichotomous one:  Group 1 - Yes, and Group 2 – No.

 

 

Q2.      What is your age at last birthday (specify):______________________________

 

Q2 was recoded into three groups:

 

Group One – 16 – 17 yrs.

Group Two – 18 - 19 yrs.

Group Three – 20 – 25 yrs

 

Q20.1  How often do you consume the following per week? tick your choices

 

Frequency

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Seven times

 

 

 

Six times

 

 

 

Five times

 

 

 

Four times

 

 

 

Three times

 

 

 

Two times

 

 

 

One time

 

 

 

Never

 

 

 

 

Q20.1 will be recoded, breakfast, into three groups:

 

            Group one – Frequently

                                       Seven times

                                       Six times

                                       Five times

            Group two – Moderately                              

                                       Four times

                                      Three times                                  

 

            Group three – Infrequently

                                     Two times

                                     One time

                                      never


ACADEMIC PEFORMANCE

A.     Interpreted based on a comparison between last term’s grades and this term’s grades;

B.     Interpreted based on Q8.2, recoded as       -                 Distinction   

        Credit             

         Pass                         

         Fail                  

MATERIAL RESOURCES (i.e. Instructional resources)

Q21 – Q30.2 will be recoded in three groups

                 1. Low availability, 2. Moderate and 3. High Availability

 

EXERCISE (i.e. physical exercise)

Q35 – Q40 will be recoded in three groups

                 1. Infrequently, 2. Moderately, and 3. Frequently

ATTENDANCE 2 (i.e. class attendance)

Q9 – Q19 will be recoded into four groups

                  1. Very poor, 2. Poor,   3. Good and 4. Excellent

PAST EXAMINATION SUCCESSES (CXC General/GCE)

(see Appendix I, Q8.1)

Recode into four groups:

1.      Fail

2.      Grade 1/A

3.      Grade 2/B

4.      Grade 3/C

 

Q5.1 was recoded as SUBJECTIVE SOCIAL CLASS and into three groups

 

1.      Lower class

2.      Middle class

3.      Upper class

 

Q31 – Q34.2, recoded as SELF CONCEPT

1.      Low

2.      Moderate

3.      High

 


Population

 

The population will constitute all Sixth form students of Traditional (Grammar) High Schools in Jamaica who will be writing the Advanced Level Accounting Examination in either May/June 2005 and-or May/June 2006.  In addition to the candidates of Traditional high schools within the discipline previously mentioned, the population will also include all private high schools’ candidates of the same subject.  The final number of the population will be had when the schools’ administrator reporting the total number of candidates and-or prospective candidates that are presenting preparing for the examination in May/June 2005 and-or May/June 2006.

 

Sampling:

Stratified sampling is the method by which the sample frame will be selected for the purpose

 

of this study.  These are the steps for arriving at the sampling frame:

 

           

i.               make a listing of all the traditional and the private high schools that offer the Sixth Form A’ level accounting programme to individuals in Jamaica;

ii.             based on (i) above, list all the schools in Jamaica based on the parishes they are within;

iii.            (a) from the general listing in (ii) above, make a listing of schools based on:

                                 1.         all girls;

                                                                                    2.         all boys;

                                             3.         co-educational;

                       iii (b)    based on (iii a) above, make a listing of all the students

iv.           based on (iii a 1 and 2) above, assign a numerical value to each student within each stratum, example 001, .., (i.e., all girls, all boys and co-ed)

v.             based on (iv) above, select 50 percent of males and 50 percent of females by the process of Lottery selection (i.e. numbers are placed in a transparent bottle and each number is randomly chosen base on an electronic system);

vi.           based on (iii a3) above, stratify this in two groups – (i) males and (2) females;

vii.          based on (vi) above, assign a numerical value to each student within each stratum, example 001, ..,

viii.        based on (vii) above, select 50 percent of males and 50 percent of females by the process of the Lottery selection mechanism;

ix.           the process of selection will be repeated until 500 participants are had;

x.             the processs of sampling will be complete when it has yielded 250 males and 250 females;

xi.           interview all chosen participants

 


SAMPLE DESIGN                                             Figure 1

    

 

16-17yr

 

 

18-19yr

 

20+

 

20+

 

18-19yr

 

 

 

16– 17 yr

250

 MALES

250 FEMALES

ADVANCED LEVEL ACCOUNTING STUDENTS

Five

(500)

HUNDRED STUDENTS

 

 

                        

                        

 

 

 

 

 


Questionnaire

 

 

The researcher chose to utilize this instrument as it is the most convenient and comprehensive tool in gathering pertinent data that are quantitative (see Appendix I). After this instrument has been constructed within the aforementioned parameters of the study, undergraduate students from the University of the West Indies (Mona campus) who have done Advanced Level Accounts will validate its objectives.   Ensuingly, the questions will be modified based on the suggestions made by these undergraduate students.  A pretest of the modified questionnaire will be given to a group of the students who are sixth-form students attending traditional high schools in Jamaica. This will be followed by another set of alterations that the researcher will present to his supervisor for approval.  The pilot tests will be done in order to ensure that the:

            i)          items are clearly stated to avoid  ambiguity;

            ii)         the variables are measured by the appropriate items

            iii)         the range of investigation was adequate

           

            Once the questionnaires have been approved, they will be administered to both private and public schools that offer the grammar programme – that is, Advanced level accounting. To eliminate researcher bias, the questionnaires will be distributed by the school’s administrator. Based on the instructions of the researcher, students will be informed by the administrator to complete the questionnaire anonymously. Additionally students will be informed that they are not obligated to complete the questionnaire and have the option to discontinue answering the questions at any point.  

 


VARIABLES:

Independent variables

            SOCIAL FACTOR – CLASS ATTENDANCE, SOCIAL CLASS, SELF CONCEPT.

PHYSICAL FACTORS – PHYSICAL EXERCISE, BREAKFAST, ILLNESSES.

            INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES – TEXTBOOKS, PAST PAPERS.

 

Dependent variable

            ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


DESCRIPTION OF DATA

 

            All the schools that offer the Sixth Form Advanced level accounting within Jamaica were selected for this study.  Five-hundred (500) individuals were chosen from the fourteen parishes of the island.  The sample was sub-divided according to gender, all boys, all girls and co-educational institutions. The population of students comprised of individuals of varying socioeconomic settings. 

            A two (2) stage stratified design was implemented by the researcher.  Step one, involved the selection of traditional high schools at different levels of the socioeconomic status.  The socioeconomic levels of some students were determined from the reputation of the high schools for consistently attracting students who can be categorized as belonging to upper class or middle-income families. It is believed that students of a particular background are more likely to attend certain schools as against others based on the researcher’s   past observation of the social class settings within the Jamaican context.  That is, there are some schools in the Jamaican experience that are chosen predominantly by the elite and-or by the upper/middle class, and some predominantly offered to the lower class. 

            The researcher sought an equal quota of males and females so that the desired sampling represents the views of population and not a particular gender. 

 

 

 

 


EXPLANATORY MODEL                                                     Figure 2

         Independent variable

 

 

ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE

PHYSICAL FACTORS -

COOKED MEALS

EXERCISE

ILLNESSES

SOCIAL FACTORS-

CLASS ATTENDANCE,

SOCIAL CLASS SELF CONCEPT

                                                                                                                          Dependent

 

 

 

INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

GENDER

       Independent variable

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                    Control variable


CONCEPTUALIZATION

 

 

TRADITIONAL HIGH SCHOOL (GRAMMAR SCHOOLS):

 

The Caribbean Examination Council (1987) defined Traditional High Schools as the name given to those schools that received children through the eleven plus, Common Entrance Examination.  And their courses of study are based on the British type grammar school of which emphasis is placed straight on academics and not on technical and-or vocational subjects (that is, motor skills training).

 

PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL:

These schools are not funded by the Jamaican government as opposed to traditional high schools. However, their syllabus as it relates to Advanced Level accounting is the same as that offered by grammar schools.

 

SYLLABUS   

A syllabus is an outline of the main points of a subject or a detailed course content that forms the curriculum for the subject.

 

EXAMINERS’ REPORT

               

A comprehensive document containing remarks on all the individuals who have sat an examination giving a detailed analysis of the candidates scripts with reference to general strengths and weaknesses as well as specific comment on each question as seen through the mind’s eyes of the examiners.

 

ADVANCED LEVEL

Post Caribbean Examination Councils’ General Proficiency and-or Ordinary Level.

 

SIXTH FORM STUDENTS

 

Pupils who have passed the Ordinary Level or the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examinations and are pursuing pre-University courses in a Traditional High School for another two (2) years.  The students however, would have had to attain a certain level of success (pre-1998 grades I/II, post-1998 grades I/II/III or A, B, C) at the CXC or Ordinary level examinations respectively.

 

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

 

 

Tuckman (1975) postulates that, “performance is used to label the observable manifestation of knowledge, skills, concepts, understanding and ideas.  Performance can also be termed as the application of a learning product after mastery.  It is the accomplishment of set tasks in a course objective in order to meet the requirements of examination bodies”. This method is therefore used by the researcher to measure success of students who would have sat or will sit the examination.

 

SKILLS

 

 

A skill is a fixed way of making many complex responses, usually at the sub-conscious level.  That is, the acquisition and application of principles, concepts, procedures and knowledge in that these will be utilized to problem solve situations by analyzing issues and by applying a base of logics in order to complete the task.  Therefore, the acquisition of skill is a learnt capacity to perform a given task or tasks accurately.  This is a skill is the ability to use content, professional, and pedagogical knowledge effectively and readily in diverse teaching settings in a manner that ensures that all students are learning. 

 

KNOWLEDGE

 

Knowledge is what one knows, by that the researcher means information or skills.  That is, knowledge is a body of facts and principles accumulated by humankind in the course of time. The Chambers’ Foundation English Dictionary states that, “knowledge is that which is know, information or skills.”

 

COMPETENCE

           

The acquisition and utilization of skills, knowledge, and experience garnered through either formal or informal education that will allow the individual to perform assigned tasks with a high degree of mastery.  Meaning, task that an individual is expected to perform successful and efficiently with a high degree of accuracy as s/he emerges from the learning process.  Which is the possession of a satisfactory level of relevant knowledge and acquisition of a range of relevant skills that include interpersonal and technical components at a certain point in the educational process?  Such knowledge and skills are necessary to perform the tasks that reflect the scope of professional practices.

 


Health

“A state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organization, WHO).

 

 

ANALYSIS PLAN

 

The Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 12.0 will used to analyze the data.  Cross Tabulations are used to ascertain the relationship between the dependent and the independent variables.  The control variable is included to determine its influence on the overall relationship between the dependent and the independent variables.  The method of analyses will be non-parametric chi-square test to determine if any relationship exists between the variables.  In addition, the chi-square, Spearman will also be another non-parametric statistic that will be implemented in order to establish relationships among some variables. Contingency coefficient and Phi will be used to determine any the strength of any relationship that may exist between variables.  The level of significance that will be used is alpha=0.05, at the 95 percent confidence level. 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

ANALYSIS & INTERPRETATION

 

 

Univariate Frequencies on instrument

Table 4    Frequency and Percent Distributions of Explanatory Model Variables

 

VARIABLE                                                COUNT AND PERCENT             

                                                             

                                                                                                  

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

    Distinction                                                                             44  (37.9%)

    Credit                                                                                     20  (17.2%)

    Past                                                                                        46  (31.7%)

    Fail                                                                                           6. (5.2%)

 

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

    Better                                                                                           49  (39.5%)                                                             

    Same                                                                                            36  (29.0%)

    Worse                                                                                          39  (31.5%)

 

GENDER

  Male                                                                                                58   (43%)

  Female                                                                                             77  (57%)

 

PHYSICAL EXERCISE (EXERCISE)

   Infrequent                                                                                  38  (29.2%)

   Moderate                                                                                    10  (7.7%)

   Frequent                                                                                     82  (63.1%)

 

MENTAL ILLNESS

     None                                                                                           92  (67.6%)

     At least one                                                                                39  (28.7%)

     At least two                                                                                  5  ( 3.7%)

 

 

SUBJECTIVE SOCIAL CLASS

      Lower class                                                                                18  (15.3%)

      Middle class                                                                               95  (80.5%)

      Upper class                                                                                   5  (4.2%)

 

 

PHYSICAL ILLNESS

    None                                                                                           93  (68.4%)

     At least one                                                                               36   (26.5%)

     At least two                                                                                 7  (5.1%)

 

MIGRAINE

       Yes                                                                                           31  (22.8%)

        No                                                                                           105  (77.2%)

 

CLASS ATTENDANCE

    Very poor                                                                                    9  (8.5%)

     Poor                                                                                          37  (34.9%)

     Good                                                                                         49  (46.2%)

      Excellent                                                                                  11  (10.4%)

 

 MATERIAL RESOURCES

      Low availability                                                                             10  (7.7%)

      Moderate availability                                                                     40  (30.8%)

      High availability                                                                            80  (61.5%)

 

BREAKFAST

    Frequently                                                                                          4  (3.0%)

    Moderately                                                                                     127  (95.5%)

    Infrequently                                                                                       2   (1.5%)

 

SELF CONCEPT

   Negative                                                                                      61  (46.6%)

   Positive                                                                                       70  (53.4%)

 

PAST SUCCESSES IN CXC/GCE COURSE:

 

     Principles of Accounts                                           

            Fail                                                                                   15  (11.2%)

            Grade 1/A                                                                         49  (36.6%)

            Grade 2/B                                                                         60  (44.8%)

            Grade 3/C                                                                        10   (7.5%)

 

     English Language                                            

            Fail                                                                                     8  (6.1%)

            Grade 1/A                                                                         43  (32.8%)

            Grade 2/B                                                                         50  (38.2%)

            Grade 3/C                                                                         30   (22.9%)

 

 

 

   

 

 Mathematics                                            

            Fail                                                                                   21  (16.2%)

            Grade 1/A                                                                         20  (15.4%)

            Grade 2/B                                                                         45  (34.6%)

            Grade 3/C                                                                         44   (33.8%)

 

 

      

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

      Poor                                                                                                      66  (48.5%)

      Moderate                                                                                              70  (51.5%)

      Good                                                                                                       -------

      Excellent                                                                                                 -------

 

AGE

    16 – 17 YRS                                                                                           77  (57.0%)

    18 – 19 YRS                                                                                           52  (38.5%)

    20 – 25 YRS                                                                                             6   (4.4%)

 

The sample consists of 136 private and public grammar schools’ students in Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica.  Of the 136 respondents, one individual did not respond to most of the questions asked including his/her age at last birth however, he/she did respond to the question on major illnesses.  Of the valid sample size (i.e. 136 interviewees), 59 were males and 77 females.  Some 31.6 per cent of the sample size was affected by at least one major mental illness for example migraine.  Of those affect by mental illnesses, some 22.8 per cent of them indicated that they were experiencing migraine problems.  None of the students of the valid sample size was eating properly according to definition of Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute on the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica.  Although this research was not concerned with the number of calories that a male or a female should consume daily, none of the respondents was having all the daily dietary requirements.  Approximately 48.5 per cent of the respondents indicated that they were eating poorly as was the standard used to measure dietary requirements.

Approximately 94.8 percent of the sample had an academic performance (based on the GCE grade system) above an E while 5.2 percent of the sample had failing scores.  Academic performance was further classified into four (4) groups as follows; 1. Distinction (i.e. grades A and B – scores from 70), 2.Credit (i.e. C), 3. Pass (i.e. D and E) and 4. Fail (i.e. scores below 40 per cent).  Further, the statistics (data) revealed that 40.0 percent of the respondents indicated that their academic performance (test scores - grades ) in Advanced Level Accounting was better this term in comparison to last term while 28.8 percent said their grades were the same in both terms in comparison to 31.2 percent who said their scores were  worse.   This 31.2 percent indicates a worrying fact that must be diagnosed with immediacy.  In that, a marginal number of  prospective candidates (i.e.39.5 %) were performing better in comparison to those who were performing worse (31.5%) (see table 4 above)

 

The information in table 4 showed that 3 percent of students were consuming breakfast on a regular basis while 1.5 percent of the same were having breakfast rarely in comparison to 95.5 percent of them who were having the same sometimes (i.e. moderately).  Approximately 57.0 percent of the sample was between the age cohorts of 16 to 17 years, while 38.5 percent were between 17 to 19 years in comparison to 4.4 percent above 20 years.  Of the sample of Advanced level accounting students, some 61.5 percent of them had a high availability of instructional resources; some 7.7 percent had little availability to material resources in comparison to 30.8 percent who had an averaged availability of instructional resources. 

 

On to the issue of self-concept, 46.6 percent of the sample of students had a low concept of self, 29.8 percent with a moderate concept and 23.7 percent with a high concept of themselves.  This brings me to another issue, 15.3 of the sample of students said they were from the lower class, 80.5 percent of them were from the middle class and 4.2 percent from the upper class.

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND SUBJECTIVE SOCIAL CLASS

Table 5 (N=99)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE      

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

Lower

Middle

Upper

0.790

Distinction

5

30

1

 

Credit

1

17

0

 

Pass

7

30

2

 

Fail

1

4

0

 

P>0.05

            The results indicate that there is no relationship between academic performance and subjective social class (χ 2 (2) = 0.790, p>0.05). 

 

            Based on Spearman’s correlation, at the 2 tailed level, the P= 0.883 which indicates that there is no correlation between academic performance and subjective social class.

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN COMPARATE ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND SUBJECTIVE SOCIAL CLASS

Table 6 (N=108)

COMPARATIVE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE      

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

Lower

Middle

Upper

0.809

Better

5

36

1

 

Same

6

24

2

 

Worse

5

27

2

 

P>0.05

            The results indicate that there is no relationship between past and present academic performance over the last Christmas term and Easter term, and subjective social class (χ 2(2) = 0.809, p>0.05). 

            From Spearman’s correlation, at the two-tailed level, P= 0.999 that means there is no correlation between the two variables in table 6.

 

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE

Table 7 (N= 110)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE   

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

 

Infrequently

Moderately

Frequently

0.233     

Distinction

13

1

28

 

Credit

9

1

10

 

Pass

11

5

27

 

Fail

0

1

4

 

P>0.05

The results indicate that there is a relationship between academic and physical exercise (χ 2(2) = 0.233, p>0.05). 

 

From Spearman’s correlation, at the two-tailed level, P=0.787 which indicates that there is no correlation between academic performance and physical exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

Table 8 (i) (N=113)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE     

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

 

χ 2

 

Low

Availability

Moderate

Availability

High

Availability

 

0.0000

Distinction

1 (2.3 )

9 (20.5)

34 (77.3)

 

Credit

0 (0.0)

4 (20)

16 (80)

 

Pass

2 (4.5)

21 (47.7)

21 (47.7)

 

Fail

2 (40)

0 (0.0)

3 (60)

 

P<0.05

 

 

The results indicate that there is a relationship between material resources (i.e. instructional materials) and academic performance (χ 2(2) = 0.0000, p<0.05).  The results indicated that there is a significant relationship between the two variables previously mentioned.  Of the students who had distinctions, approximately 2.3 percent of them had low number instructional resources while 77.3 percent of that had a high number of materials to work with.  Of those in the credit grouping, approximately 80.0 percent of them had a high availability of resource materials in comparison with 20 per cent having a moderate number of available instructional materials.  Approximately 60 percent of those who failed had a high number of available instructional materials to work with in comparison to 40 percent with few available resource materials at their disposal.  As it relates to the coefficient of determination, instructional resources explain approximately 20 percent of the proportion of variation in academic performance.  The strength of the relationship is moderate (cc = .442).

Table 8 (ii) presents the results of the Chi-Square analysis examining the relationship between the academic performance and instructional resources, controlling for gender.

 

Table 8 (ii) Relationship between academic performance and materials among students who will be writing the A’ Level accounting examination

 

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

 

Academic Performance

Low

Availability

Moderate

Availability

High

Availability

χ 2

Distinction

Male   -  0   

-         (0.0%)

Female – 1

              - (3.8%)

Male    -  2

             -  (11.1%)

 Female – 7

             - (26.9%)

16

-  (88.9%)

Female – 18

            - (69.2)

0.000

 

0.060

Credit

Male   -  0   

-         (0.0%)

Female – 0

              - (0.0%)

Male    -  0

             -  (0.0%)

 Female – 4

             - (28.6%)

6

-  (100%)

Female – 10

 

            - (71.4%)

0.000

 

0.060

Pass

Male   -  2   

-         (11.1%)

Female – 0

           - (0.0%)

Male    -  12

          - (66.7%)

 Female – 9

          (34.6%)

4

-  (22.2%)

Female – 17

         - 65.4%)

0.000

 

0.060

Fail

Male   -  1   

-         (50.0%)

Female – 1

              - (33.3%)

Male    - 0

          (0.0%)

 Female – 0

             - (0.0%)

1

-  (50.0%)

Female – 2

            - (66.7%)

0.000

 

0.060

Pvalue < 0.05

From table 8 (ii) above, the results indicate that there was a statistical significant relationship between academic performance and availability of resource materials of males and not for females.   Meaning the relationship between instructional resources and academic performance was only explained by the male gender.  In that, 88.9 percent of males who had distinction in their test scores had a high availability of resource materials for use while only 11.1 percent of them had moderate number of resource materials.  Of those who had credit on their tests over the last six months, 100 percent of them had a high availability of instructional materials at their disposal.  Of those who had obtained a pass, 22.2 percent of them had a high availability of resource materials, with 66.7 percent of them had moderate number of instructional materials in comparison to 11.1 percent with a low availability of materials. The data revealed that 50 percent of those who failed had a high availability of instructional materials with 50 percent of them had a low availability of materials.  The coefficient of determination, that explains the proportion of variation of the academic performance among males, was 38.56 percent.  The strength of the relationship was strong (cc = 0.62). 

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND CLASS ATTENDANCE

Table 9 (N= 106)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

Very Poor

Poor

Good

Excellent

0.697

Distinction

2

9

17

6

 

Credit

0

7

9

1

 

Pass

3

12

17

3

 

Fail

1

1

3

0

 

P>0.05

 

The results indicate that there is no relationship between academic performance and class attendance (χ 2(2) = 0.697, p>0.05). 

 

Using Spearman’s correlation, at the two-tailed level, the P of 0.188 indicates that there is no correlation between the two variables in table 9.

 

However, there is a correlation between comparative academic performance (i.e. students’ performance this term - Easter in comparison to last term – Christmas) and class attendance (P=0.047).  Hence,

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND BREAKFAST

Table   10 (i) (N=114)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE   

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

Frequently

Moderate

None

0.045

Distinction

0 (0.0)

43 (100)

0 (0.0)

 

Credit

3 (15)

17 (85)

0 (0.0)

 

Pass

1 (2.2)

42 (93.3)

2 (4.4)

 

Fail

0 (0.0)

6 (100)

0 (0.0)

 

P>0.05

 

 

Based on table 10 (ii) above, the results indicate that there is a relationship between academic performance and the eating of breakfast (χ 2(2) = 0.045, p<0.05).  The results indicated that there is a significant relationship between the two variables previously mentioned.  Of the students who had attained distinctions on the Advanced level accounting test over the last six months, 100 percent of them were having breakfast on a moderate basis.  Of those whose academic performance was a credit over the same period, approximately 15 percent of them were eating breakfast on a regular basis in comparison to 85 percent who had the same on a moderate basis. Of those whose academic performance was a pass over the same period, approximately 2.2 percent of them were eating breakfast on a regular basis in comparison to 93.3 percent who had the same on a moderate basis and 4.4 percent of them had no breakfast whatsoever. Of those who were failing, 100 percent of them were eating breakfast on a moderate basis.  In regards to the coefficient of determination, 10.18 percent of the proportion of variation in academic performance was explained by consuming breakfast in the mornings.  The strength of the relationship is weak (cc = .319).

 

Table 10 (ii) presents the results of the Chi-Square analysis examining the relationship between the academic performances and eating breakfast, controlling for gender.

 

Table 10 (ii) Relationship between academic performances and eating breakfasts among A’ Level accounting students, controlling for gender

 

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

Performance

Frequently

Moderate

None

Pvalue

Distinction

Male   -   0  

-         (0.0%)

Female -  0

                (0.0%)

Male    -  17

             -  (100%)

Female - 26

 (100%) 

Male    -  0

             -  (0.0%)

    Female -  0

                 (0.0%) 

0.247

 

0.372

Credit

Male   -    1

-         (16.7%)

Female -  2

                (14.3%)

Male   -  5   

-         (83.3%)

Female -  12

                (85.7%)

Male   -   0  

-         (0.0%)

Female -  0

                (0.0%)

0.247

 

0.372

Pass

Male   -  0

-         (0.0%)

Female -  1

                (4.0%)

Male   -     19

-         (95.0%)

Female -  23

                (92.0%)

Male   -    1

-         (5.0%)

Female -  1

                (4.0%)

0.247

 

0.372

Fail

Male   -    0

-         (0.0%)

Female -  0

                (0.0%)

Male    -  2

             -  (100%)

    Female -  4

                   (100.0%) 

Male   -  0

             (0.0%)

Female -  0

                (0.0%)

0.247

 

0.372

Palue  > 0.05

 

The results indicate that there is no relationship between academic performance and eating breakfast when controlled for gender (χ 2(2) = 0.247 and 0.372, p>0.05.  That is, gender does not explain the relationship between eating breakfast and academic performance.

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND MIGRAINE

Table   11 (N=116)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE   

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

No

Yes

0.868

Distinction

34

10

 

Credit

14

6

 

Pass

36

10

 

Fail

5

1

 

P>0.05

 

Based on table 11 above, the results indicate that there is no relationship between academic performance and migraine (χ 2(2) = 0.898, p>0.05). 

 

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND MENTAL ILLNESSES

Table    12 (N=116)

 ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE    

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

None

At least one

At least two

0.100

Distinction

32

8

4

 

Credit

12

8

0

 

Pass

30

16

0

 

Fail

5

1

0

 

P>0.05

 

Based on table 12 above, the results indicate that there is no relationship between academic performance and experiencing mental illnesses (χ 2(2) = 0.100, p>0.05). 

By using Spearman’s correlation, at the two-tailed level, the P(value)= 0.967 that indicates no correlation between mental illnesses and academic performance.

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND PHYSICAL ILLNESSES

Table 14 (N=116)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE     

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

None

At least one

At least two

0.977

Distinction

31

10

3

 

Credit

14

5

1

 

Pass

30

13

3

 

Fail

5

1

0

 

P>0.05

Based on table 14 above, the results indicate that there is no relationship between academic performance and physical illnesses (χ 2(2) = 0.977, p>0.05). 

By using Spearman’s correlation, at the two-tailed level, the P (value) =0.912 that indicates no correlation between physical illnesses and academic performance.

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE AND

Table 15 (N=116)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE     

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

None

At least

0.817

Distinction

31

13

 

Credit

14

6

 

Pass

30

16

 

Fail

5

1

 

P>0.05

Based on table 15 above, the results indicate that there is a relationship between academic performance and physical illnesses (χ 2(2) = 0.817, p>0.05). 

 

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE and ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Table 16 (N= 112)

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE    

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

χ 2

 

FAIL

GRADE 1/A

GRADE 2/B

GRADE 3/C

0.539

Distinction

4 (9.1)

13 (29.5)

18 (40.9)

9 (20.5)

 

Credit

2 (10.5)

8 (42.1)

5 (26.3)

4 (21.1)

 

Pass

2 (4.7)

10 (23.3)

20 (41.5)

11 (25.6)

 

Fail

0 (0.)

4 (66.7)

1 (16.7.)

1 (16.7)

 

P>0.05

 

Based on table 16, the results indicate that there is no relationship between past performance in English Language at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) or the Ordinary Level and academic performance at the Advanced level (in accounting)  (χ 2(2) = 0.539 p>0.05). 

 

By using Spearman’s correlation, at the two-tailed level, the P (value) =0.581 indicates no correlation between past success in English Language at the Ordinary Level or the General Proficiency level (i.e. CXC) and academic performance.

 

 


BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE and MATHEMATICS

Table 17

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE    

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

 

χ 2

 

 

FAIL

GRADE 1/A

GRADE 2/B

GRADE 3/C

 

0.560

Distinction

6

10

17

10

 

Credit

5

3

4

7

 

Pass

7

5

14

7

 

Fail

1

0

3

2

 

P>0.05

Based on table 17, the results indicate that there is no relationship between past performance in Mathematics and today’s academic performance in Advanced level accounting (χ 2(2) = 0.560 p>0.05).  By using Spearman’s correlation, at the two-tailed level, the P (value) = 0.196 represents no correlation between past success in Mathematics at the Ordinary Level or the General Proficiency level at CXC and academic performance.

BIVARIATE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE and PRINCIPLES OF ACCOUNTS

 Table 18 (i) (N= 114)

 ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE    

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

Number and

Percent

 

χ 2

 

 

FAIL

GRADE 1/A

GRADE 2/B

GRADE 3/C

0.036

Distinction

3 (7)

25 (58.1)

13 (30.2)

2 (4.7)

 

Credit

2 (10)</