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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume III, Issue III, March 2019 | ISSN 2454–6186

Understanding the Causes of Students’ weak Performance in Geography at the WASSCE and the Implications for School Practices; A Case of Two Senior High Schools in a Rural District of Ghana

Moses Ackah Anlimachie
School of Education, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract—The study investigates the causes of students’poor performance in Geography at the West Africa SeniorSchool Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Ghana. To inform policy and practice on how policymakers, educators, teachers, students and communities/parents could better collaborate to improve teaching and learning, and students’ learning outcomes in Senior High Schools in Ghana. The study argues that linking the classroom to students’lifeworlds through practical and fieldwork activities make learningattractive, practical and permanent to students. This is fundamental to improve students’achievements while maximizing relevant educational outcomes for national and community sustainability.

Keywords — Ghana, Senior High Schools, Students’ learning outcomes, the West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations


The West African Examination Council (WAEC), examines Senior High School (SHSs)candidates’ competencies in at least seven (7) disciplines across different programmes at the end of the 3-year SHS education . To serve as the basis for admissions into tertiary and other post-secondary training programmes in Ghana. The SHSs curriculum includes the general programme (Arts and Science) where Geography as a discipline has been clustered. Geography candidates are examined in two main papers at the WASSCE. Paper B1 which is made up of Human & Regional Geography and paper B2 which encompasses Physical & Practical Geography. The annual WASSCE results show that students’ performance in Geography as compare withother elective subjects such as Economics and Government is very low. The poor students’ performance in Geography at the WASSCE has been highlighted in the annual WAEC Chief Examiners’ reports seem to be recurring. Research literature has linked the poor performance to the problem of the seemly disconnect between theory and practice in the teaching and learning of the discipline (Amoako, 2006; Dakpoe, 2006). Thus the teaching and learning of Geography in Senior High Schools in Ghana is not properly linked to students’ lifeworlds or fund of knowledge (Amoako, 2006; Dakpoe, 2006). This gap may have links to the nature and the level of practical or fieldwork experiences that students are exposed to. The level of practical fieldwork activityis also dependent on the supply of resources including a well-stocked geography room/lab, availability of field survey instruments, and other instructional materials. These links are crucial to teaching and learning, and students’ learning outcomes. As well as, in eliminating a long-held misconception among some Ghanaian students that Geography is some abstract discipline, hence difficult and too broad to comprehend.