Background of the study

Nigeria, like other countries of the world, acknowledges that education is a vital tool for achieving national development. Education is the aggregate of processes through which human beings develop their abilities, special skills, attributes, and other behaviour patterns that are of value to the society in which they live (Fafunwa, 1996). The World Bank (2001) tends to agree with Fafunwa in one of its definitions of education as the development of knowledge, skill, ability or character by teaching, training, studying or experience. Education is not compartmentalized; its desire is total development of man. Education is not limited to knowledge acquisition. That is why Ezeokoli (1999) noted that teaching and learning should get a learner to become truly educated by cultivating the three ‘h’ namely head, heart, hand. In this context head, heart and hand signifies cognitive behaviour, affective behaviour and psychomotor behaviour respectively. Akande (2002) asserted that the purpose of teaching is to educate someone, which entails over-all development in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domain. Development in these three domains will aid students to have quality education.     

Quality education can be explained as the extent to which education accomplishes the various roles ascribed to it in the National Policy of Education. Such roles include usefulness of education for employment, relevance to the developmental needs of the recipients as individuals and the society in which the individuals live and operate as citizens. With the introduction of the Policy on Education in Nigeria (FRN, 2004), the national educational goals which were derived from the philosophy of education include:

(a)        the inculcation of national consciousness and national unity;

(b)        the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the                    individual and the Nigerian society;

(c)        the training of the mind in the understanding of the world around; and

(d)       the acquisition of appropriate skills and the development of mental, physical and social abilities and competencies as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of the society. 

The national education goals listed above cannot be achieved if the students are not taught and assessed. Teachers need to assess the students to ascertain if they have learned.            

One of the functions of a school is the certification of the individual learner under its embrace (Idowu & Esere, 2009). To effectively carry out this role, assessment of one kind or the other is a prerequisite. Assessment is a means whereby the teacher obtains information about knowledge gains, behavioural changes and other aspects of the development of learners (Oguneye, 2002).  It involves the deliberate effort of the teacher to measure the effect of the instructional process, as well as the overall effect of school learning on the behaviour of students. Assessment covers all aspects of school experience both within and outside the classroom. A synthesis of these definitions as reported by Ukwuije (2007) shows that educational assessment is a process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes, beliefs, practices or generally what behaviour a learner does or does not have, acquire or develop before, during, and at the end of instruction, or a course of study.  It covers the cognitive, psychomotor as well as the affective aspects of learning.

Assessment of students’ personal quality or affective behaviour ought to be continuous. The National Steering Committee on Continuous Assessment in Nigeria Schools led by Professor Yoloye regards continuous assessment as a method of ascertaining what a child gains from schooling in terms of knowledge, industry and character development, taking into account all the child’s performances in tests, assignments, projects and other educational activities during a given period of term, year, or during the entire period of an educational level (Ipaye, 1996). It is also a method of using the recorded performances of each pupil to help him or her improve on achievement through guidance. According to Onunkwo (2002),  continuous assessment is the method of evaluation in which students’ achievements in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains from the moment they start schooling until the end of it are determined using scores obtained from various instruments and techniques such as tests, rating scales, checklists, observation, projects, interview, projective technique, peer appraisal, self report etc. Therefore all the domains should be assessed regularly.

            Okoro (2006) defined affective domain as the learners’ social development and inculcation of new attitudes, values and interest. It contains learning skills that are predominantly related to emotional process. The learning process in the affective domain include being open to experience, engaging in life, cultivating values, managing oneself, and developing oneself. There are five major subdivision in the domain namely; receiving, responding, valuing, organization and characterization (Anakweze, 2010). Assessment in the affective behaviour of students is used for diagnostic purposes, in determining the personality of individual, choice of career, record purposes and for selection (Habor-Peters, 1999). Based on the words of Popham (2011), affective assessment entails measuring students’ attitudes, interests, or values. It is sometimes referred to as personality or dispositional assessment. It is conducted in an effort to discover students’ usual or typical inclinations. In contrast to cognitive assessment, affective assessment does not measure the content that the learners know or the skills they are able to perform rather it measures students’ disposition. Unachukwu and Onunkwo (2000) noted that Nigerian teachers predominantly evaluate learner’s cognitive activities at the detriment of affective behaviours.  What is often forgotten is the fact that the cognitive and affective domains go hand-in-hand; they do not function independently but should complement one another. Although increasing what students know and are able to do is primary, their content-related attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions – the affective domain are   equally significant. Bowles, Gintis, & Osborne( 2001) found out that cognitive skills needed in the labour market accounts for only 20% while 80% of the skills are of  non cognitive skill which includes affective and psychomotor skills. These authors above referred to the affective behaviours of students as students’ personal qualities.

Also Ipaye (1996),  Iyewarun (1996), & Okon (2000) noted that Nigerian schools’ assessment especially at the secondary level   is concentrated on cognitive achievement to the detriment of affective and psychomotor development of learners That is why students with pass marks in their subjects receive a certificate at the end of the course no matter how “bad” their manners are or how unskilled they may be. In other words, behaviour, attitude, interest, aptitude and other affective   traits do not count towards obtaining a certificate. The importance of developing the affective behaviour of students has been emphasized in many important official educational documents (Nwagu, 1992).  Teachers are required to adopt a more practical and utilitarian orientation that would awaken and sustain the interest of the students in the various school subjects and programmes and other related situations in the wider world outside the classroom. Teacher’s  assessment  are expected to facilitate the development in individuals of favourable attitudes towards issues of patriotism, unity, social integration, civic obligations,  socio-political ideals and personal qualities .

Personal qualities are personal characteristics of an individual. They are what make one different from other people. It is a dynamic or active set of characteristics possessed by a person. They make up the personality and make you the person you are. Ukwuije (1993) stated that the personal quality of a student is the unique pattern of behaviour of an individual which is made up of interests, attitudes, temperaments, thought, feelings, values, moral and interpersonal relationships. Also, Jeffrey (1997) noted that the specific personal qualities are sense of responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self management, and integrity/honesty. The personal qualities that are in line with the affective behaviour in the students’ report card are organizational ability, perseverance, sense of responsibility, honesty, and spirit of cooperation.

 Sense of responsibility is a characteristic which every college student should possess in order to be successful. Students who are responsible know what their tasks are and are always a step ahead.  Organizational ability is defined as the skills, strategies and qualities needed in order to be able to organize time, deadlines and productivity (Fattig, 2010). Spirit of cooperation is a person’s desire to affiliate with others, which implies people’s interest and need to interact with others and establish social relationships (Bruch, Heiberg, Hunt & Meintosh, 1999).  According to American university (2013), academic integrity essentially means “intellectual honesty”; honesty in the use of information, in formulating arguments, and in other activities related to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. It is a core principle that underpins how one lives and learns in a community of learning.

The personal qualities explained above are in line with the affective behaviour enlisted in the report card of secondary school student in Anambra State. The report cards indicate the following affective/social behaviours: punctuality, attendance to class, attentiveness, initiative, perseverance, carrying out of assignment, organizational ability, neatness, politeness, honesty, Self control, sense of co-operation, obedience, sense of responsibility, public speaking. The affective domain covers such social and personality characteristics as values, attitudes, interest, adjustment, habits, perception, social relations and beliefs (Idowu and Esere, 2009).         

             It is known that some workers are expelled because of behavioural problems rather than their inability to perform job tasks (Daggetts & Marrazo, 1983). The rate of expulsion shows that the domain of affective behaviours of student who will work in seccular world in future are deemphasized. Training for character and moral development in school deserve adequate attention. A good and responsible citizen is the pride of the society and the cynosure of all eyes. The preliterate society valued above all things uprightness, honesty, sincerity, truth and justice (Nkokelonye, 2005). But today attention is not given to students’ progress in affective domain. Social insecurity, terror, and instability are symbolic of the extent of moral decadence in modern society. Bribery and corruption, covetousness, compromise, looting of government money, among others constitute the greatest cosmic and environmental limitations to the attainment of happiness, development of our economy and poor personal qualities of citizens could one of the causes of these menace.

Teachers are at the center of the assessment of students’ behaviour (Liljequist & Renk, 2007). Based on the premise that teachers are very important adults in students’ lives, their ratings are used for identification purposes, classification, diagnosis, guidance and remedial purposes, etc.

 Gender influences teachers’ way of assessing students (Achenbach, 1991).  As postulated by Wijk and Francis (2010) gender is a socially constructed definition of women and men. It is not the same as sex (biological characteristics of women and men). Gender is determined by the conception of tasks, functions and roles attributed to women and men in the society. These functions and roles seem to influence the way teachers assess their students.  Hopf andHatzichristou (1999) found that female educators were more sensitive than their male counterparts in assessing their students. This could be attributed to the fact that female teachers may be more expressive when interacting with students. Regarding behavioral assessment, Ritter (1989) documented that male teachers were less accurate in identifying students’ behavioral problems than female teachers, who showed more sensitivity in distinguishing behavioural problem.

Gender is not the only factor influencing teachers’ assessment of students’ personal qualities. According to Starr & Simone (2008), location of the schools also influences the assessment. Reasons for the variations in assessment are geographic location, resources, availability of technology, and quality of teachers. The National Education Association noted that the low performing youth are in public rural schools (Monk, 2007). Lock (2008) further highlights that due to limited exposure to rural teaching in pre-service teacher trainings, teachers had unrealistic expectations and were unprepared of living and working in rural areas.

Inspite of the provision in the National policy of education, the students’ personal qualities are still poor. What could be the cause? Does it imply that the teachers do not  assess their student personal qualities? Do they use the correct techniques to assess them? Or does it mean that the results of the students’ personal qualities are not used for the right purposes. It is in an effort to provide answers to these and more issues that the present study is carried out.