Influence of Teacher Qualification on Secondary School Students Performance


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1.1     Background to the Study

Qualification is a special skill or type of experience or knowledge that makes someone suitable to do a particular job or activity (Musau and Migosi, 2015). Therefore, teachers’ qualification is a particular education level a teacher possesses to make the teacher suitable to teach. Qualification of the teacher is one of the critical factors that drive students’ academic performance therefore, there is need for the qualification of teachers to be studied as it may influence the academic performance of students in Biology being a preparatory subject for science students and a foundational subject for students (Hakielimu, 2011).

Eryilmaz and Laslan (2016) observed that one of the most important factors in the teaching process is a qualification of the teacher. The perspective of Ibrahim, (2016) was that teachers’ qualifications can go a long way to bring about students’ higher academic achievement. Teachers’ profession relates to competence in instruction and management of students and materials in the classroom (Rice, 2013).

Teachers’ qualifications, therefore, might not only be the certificate someone is holding as erroneously conceived by some people. Teachers’ qualifications are more than just holding a certificate of any institution. Kola and Sunday (2015) identified seven indicators of teachers’ qualification which are: teachers’ formal education; teachers’ education in the subject matter of teaching (in-field preparation); teacher education in pedagogical studies; duration of the preparation period; certification and licensing status; years of experience and preparation in professional development activities.

However, by qualification, certification is also recognized as a crucial aspect of teachers’ qualification. Certification is a measure of teacher qualifications that combines both aspects of knowledge about the subject matter with teaching and learning processes (Darling-Hammond, 2014). Certified teachers are usually those who have graduated from accredited teacher education programs (Kola and Sunday 2015). These categories of teachers are also required to complete an induction program or pass a national teacher examination test to obtain a license (Kola and Sunday (2015)

In the Nigerian context, a certified teacher must be licensed by the Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria (Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria, 2014) apart from graduating from an accredited institution. The major problem facing Nigerian now is the rate at which private teacher training institutions are springing up. Many of these institutions bribed their ways to get accredited when they have not met the required standard. Darling-Hammond, (2014) further argued that teachers’ education and certification are related to teacher’s effectiveness in the teaching/learning process. The author added that several aspects of teachers’ qualifications like subject matter knowledge, preparation experience, and teaching experience had been found to have some relationship with students’ achievement.

Some believed that certified as a teacher does not guarantee achievement gain for students (Kane, Rockoff and Staiger, 2016). While Darling-Hammond, Berry and Thoreson, (2015) agreed that been certified as a teacher influences academic gain. In agreement with Darling-Hammond, Berry and Thoreson, (2015) also added that students who are taught by certified teachers outscored those with another kind of teachers in the educational system in Nigeria.

Correspondingly, the National Policy on Education (2014) prescribes that the NCE Certificate shall be the minimum qualification for all teachers in primary schools. In secondary schools, the B. Sc. (Ed.) qualification is the required qualification for teachers while Master’s degree and the Philosophy in education are the requirements for tertiary level of education. In this study focus is on NCE and B. Sc. (ed.) teachers’ qualification. To receive the NCE certificate, a person has to pass at least five Credits in one of the eight certificates available, including the West African School Certificate, General Certificate Examination, etc. Additionally, you need to have at least a credit in the subject you intend to teach at the school. If you are preparing for your NCE degree, you have more than sixty colleges of education in Nigeria to choose from.

In the past, to teach in primary school a person needed a Teacher Certificate Grade II (TCGDII) from four years of secondary school at a Grade II Teacher-training college. These were phased out after 1998, when the Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE) became the required diploma for all primary and junior secondary school teachers. The government created the National Teachers Institute (NTI) in 1978 to conduct programs that would upgrade teacher qualifications to the NCE level, with most of this training carried out by distance learning. Between 1993 and 1996, the NTI graduated 34,486 in their NCE distance learning programs. In 2000, it trained 20,000 teachers. A Bachelor of Education program with NTI received approval by the government at the end of 2000. NTI also conducts workshops and conferences on curriculum development and in other areas of teacher training (Musau and Migosi, 2015).

According to Fred (2016), a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) is a graduate professional degree which prepares students for work as a teacher in schools, though in Nigeria additional work like fields and researches must be done in order for the student to be fully qualified to teach. Also, the Bachelor of Education degree is awarded at Universities and Colleges of Education across the nation as a first degree. The Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) can be done as combined honours with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) or Bachelor of Science (B.Sc). It can also be done as a single honours degree with specializations in Nursery and Primary Education, Curriculum Development, Educational Administration and Policy Studies, among others. Students usually undergo intensive teaching practices at the 2nd and 3rd years of study. Upon graduation, they are registered by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and can be employed as teachers afterwards. Postgraduate education usually takes the form of a Master’s Degree in Education (M.Ed.), Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), and Gradate Diploma in Education (GDE) (Fred, 2016).

In the same way, a Bachelor of Science Education is a degree awarded to students who complete the four to five-year course of study in the field of science (major and minor in Basic science, chemistry, physics, and math) with major Educational courses. It is the combination of degrees in science and education course (sometimes referred to double degree programs B.Sc + B.Ed. = B.Sc.Ed.). Even though B.Sc and B.Ed. are notionally two degrees, they must be taken together. There are very few universities that offer this course because it requires collaboration between the Faculty/School of Science and that of Education, to ensure that the teacher not only can work in an education institution but also in an industrial area related to science.

Nevertheless, teachers’ qualifications could, could also mean all the skills a teacher required to teach effectively. Such skills include formal education, experience, subject matter knowledge, pedagogy studies, duration of training, certificate/licensing and professional development (Kola and Sunday (2015) Someone might have a teaching certificate at hand but without adequate knowledge of subject matter, this individual has no teaching qualifications yet. Similarly, Darling-Hammond, Berry and Thoreson, 2015) asserted that someone without proper knowledge of pedagogy or someone who spent few years in training without completing the required years does not possess teacher qualifications. Rice (2013) is of the view that professional development and experience also count for teachers’ qualifications.

Several of the pedagogical studies of teachers’ preparation programs reinforce the view that the pedagogical aspect of teachers’ preparation is important because of the effects it has on teaching practice and for their ultimate impact on students’ achievement (Wilson, Floden, and Ferrini-Mundy, 2015). Shamim, Rashid, and Rashid (2013) found out that pedagogical studies enable teachers to harmonize the minds and emotions of their students in class and result into higher academic achievement.

Hollins, (2014) asserted that conventional pre-service teacher preparation programs have been under criticism for being too often characterized by fragmentation and weak pedagogy. Results showed that beginning teachers with extensive preparation in pedagogy and supervised teaching were more likely to be teaching in the field of their subject matter expertise (Boeand Shin 2017). Gore, Griffiths and Ladwig, 2014) underscored the importance of pedagogical knowledge. They suggest that productive pedagogy knowledge of early stage of teacher education should come to be integrated fully into students’ knowledge base for learning.

In another development, professional development is also seen as part of qualification of the teacher education. These are activities that develop the teachers’ individual skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher. It is a conscious and systematic steps to ensure teachers upgrading and continuous self-improvement (Oluremi, 2013). Professional development is critical to the retention and improvement of any teacher in the classroom. Professional development is an aspect of teachers’ qualifications that is paramount for an effective classroom teacher. Oluremi(2013) further asserted that professional development enhances and improve teachers teaching skills. This author posited that there was the need to foster teacher’s continuous professional development to cope effectively to improve the quality of education.

Teachers’ continuous professional development is highly relevant both to improving educational performance and effectiveness, and for enhancing teachers’ commitment, identity and job satisfaction (Kola and Sunday (2015) Wilson, Floden, and Ferrini-Mundy, 2015). Shamim, Rashid,and Rashid (2013)Hollins, (2014)Boe and Shin 2017). Gore, Griffiths and Ladwig, 2014)Oluremi, 2013).Gavora, 2013). Agharuwhe, (2013) cited that professional development is related positively to students’ achievement. Professional development helps practicing teachers to upgrade their content knowledge and teaching skills to adjust to the introduction of new curricula, new research finding on teaching and learning (Agharuwhe, 2013).

Having explained the indicators of teacher’s qualification, it is now clear that teachers’ qualification is not just only the certificate and that qualification of the teacher is essential to a teaching profession. Those mentioned above must possess a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) or Technical Teachers Certificate (TTC) (Akindutire and Ekundayo, 2012). Evolving from the above literature is to conceptualize teacher qualification for a better understanding. However, the difficulty of the various arguments on a teacher qualification hinge on the inability to identify “teacher personal” quality as one of the teacher qualifications relevant to the positive students’ learning outcome in science subjects (Biology inclusive).

Ekwe (2015) posited that the teachers occupy the central position in the teaching and learning process and learning cannot be forceful and as such the teachers must be ready to learn before they can teach. However, due to the important position occupied by teachers in the teaching learning process, their qualifications become necessary to be investigated.

Bamin, Kazi and Hasan (2013) observed that in addition to personal characteristics, teachers need to acquire and obtain educational training as it is critical for ensuring ones access to social, economic and civic life in the 21st century. In recent time, teachers with educational qualification on Basic science are lacking in primary and secondary schools, these lead to the inadequate teaching of the subject as some other teachers in related fields are employed to teach while some are volunteers. The teaching of basic science demands a great task to prepare the students to meet the demands of studying for examination.

Teachers are responsible for students’ academic performance; hence what really counts in determining the quality of a teacher is the quality of what goes on in the classroom. They should be guided and equipped by sound knowledge or relevant principles so as to cope with classroom situation.

Teachers with multiphase background, training and qualification have over the years, dominated the teaching profession in Nigeria. With the emergence of new job opportunities, the teaching profession began to lose the best of its brain. Consequently, those who could not get better job stay on; new entrants use it as a stepping stone, while others who were not trained to teach but have no other job joined the teaching profession (Arisekola, 2017).Teacher effectiveness hinges on mastery of the subject, ability to impart the subject matter to the learners and to exhibit the indices of educated person so as to achieve educational objectives. The educational objective focuses more on high students’ academic performance, in order for the students to be better individuals and contribute to the development of the nation as a whole (Abdullahi, 2016).

The shabby treatments to teachers have culminated in the drift of some of the few trained teachers to better paid jobs. Teaching job should not be a dumping ground for the frustrated job seekers from other fields of specialization. The situations whereby all sorts of people with diverse qualifications are appointed as teachers have dampened effective teaching. (Okunola, 2015).

More specifically, the use of qualified teaching staff is a sine qua non in improving student’s academic performance. Ali (2017) observes that there was statistically significant relationship between teacher qualification and students’ academic achievement. Gravestock and Gregor-Greenleaf (2018) states that the explanations for good or poor student’s academic performance have been quite exhaustive yet controversy still exists among scholars as to what contribute singly or jointly to students’ poor performance. The teacher qualification found to be dominant in cross-country studies are related to; prerequisite, experience, attitude and personality.


1.2     Statement of the Problem

Teachers’ primary role of transmission of knowledge and skills is never in dispute. Therefore a teacher would need to demonstrate efficiency in this primary role. Indeed teachers’ academic background, training and professional competence is at stake here. This might be one of the reasons for the poor performance of students in the subject. Thus, the questions which teachers should ask themselves include: Do I have the academic and professional competencies to enable me teach the content meaningfully? Do I have the mastery and skills to carry out the evaluation based on the evaluation procedures? This study therefore aims at investigating the Influence of teacher’s qualification on secondary school student’s performance.

Influence of Teacher Qualification on Secondary School Students Performance

1.3     Purpose of the Study

          The main purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of teacher’s qualification on secondary school students’ academic performance in Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. compare the means performance score of mathematics students taught by NCE and B. Sc. (Ed.) teachers.
  2. compare the means performance score of mathematics students based on school type.
  3. compare the means performance score of mathematics students based on teacher’s gender.


1.4     Research Questions 

          The following questions are stated to guide the study:

  1. What difference exists in the means performance score of mathematics students taught by NCE and B. Sc. (Ed.) teachers?
  2. What difference exists in the means performance score of mathematics students based on school type?
  3. What difference exists in the means performance score of mathematics students based on teacher’s gender.

1.5     Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated in line with the research questions to guide the study:

  1. There is no significant difference in the means performance score of mathematics students taught by NCE and B. Sc. (Ed.) teachers
  2. There is no significant difference in the means performance score of mathematics students based on school type.
  3. There is no significant difference in the means performance score of mathematics students based on teacher’s gender.

Influence of Teacher Qualification on Secondary School Students Performance

1.6     Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be of great significance to students, parents and guardians, teachers, government, educational planners, religious and non-governmental organization and future researchers in the following ways:

To students, the findings of the study will enable them to know the effect of their teachers’ qualification on their academic performance thereby devising means of personal learning after school without depending solely on the teachers’ lesson.

To the parents and guardians, the findings of this study will enable them to have the knowledge of the effect of qualification of the teachers on their children academic performance so as to support the government in providing in-service training of teachers in secondary schools.

To the teachers, the study will help them to develop interest for self development through in-service programme such as workshop, symposium and conferences for self development which will motivate them to teach the students effectively using the newly acquired skills and knowledge in the teaching/ learning process.

To the government, the study will help them to understand the various ways which qualifications of the teachers influence the academic performance of students in basic science and the need for provision of funds for development of in-service training of teachers.

The study will help educational planners to review the curriculum of teachers’ training institutions and also to maintain the pre-requisites for the recruitment of teachers into secondary schools.

Through this study, religious organization and non- governmental organizations will to know the effect of teachers’ qualification on students’ performance and thus devise ways of supplementing for funds for in-service training of teachers in the educational sector.

This study will also contribute to the body of knowledge in general by providing direction to future researchers who may wish to further their investigation on similar topic.

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