Physics practical is arguably the most technical practical for science students and many students would consider into formulating result which can never help them. The short article is aimed at itemizing reasons why candidates fail 2010 physics WAEC practical and at the same time, outline the way forward for the prospective candidates.
Candidates did not show acceptable level of knowledge in:
- setting-up of the experiment
- collecting the required data
- evaluation of the collected data to the required number of significant figures/decimal places
- determination of the period of oscillation
- Plotting graphs that involves small values
- time management
- using protractor
- drawing of large-right-angled triangle/line of best fit
- adhering to instructions (not attaching their traces as required to do so)
- also not starting graph from origin
- computational skill
- sighting correctly image pins using no-parallax method
- choosing appropriate scales for graph
The suggested remedies were as follows:
- Re-accreditations of schools by W AEC (based on laboratories/equipment)
- Teachers should endeavour to supply/fill correctly the report form as the required value for appraising the candidates on accuracy is based on the teachers report/values.
- Teachers should not wait for instructions to schools from WAEC to be distributed before their practical classes for the student should commence.
- School authorities should encourage teachers to create more time for extension classes.
- Adequate coverage of syllabus should be paramount to teachers and candidates.
- Genuine efforts must be made by teachers to relate theoretical knowledge to practical work.
- Schools should make Chief Examiners’ Reports available for teachers to study
- Candidates should step-up their reading habits
- WAEC in collaboration with states ministries of education should organize workshops for teachers
- More qualified teachers should be recruited
- Schools should improve their laboratories facilities
- Teachers should attend coordination meetings as it will serve as a seminar
- Students should be exposed early enough to practical work
The following concepts and activities recorded improved level of candidates understanding:
- recording data in composite table
- correctly indicated the units of measured and calculated values
- correctly determined of slope of graphs
- selecting good and reasonable scales for graphs
- correctly distinguished between the axes
- stating precautions in acceptable language
- distinguishing between period and frequency of oscillation
- evaluation of I = y/d, k = I/s and q = 2ws
- stating correctly the conditions for total internal reflection