Saturday, August 30, 2014

Factors Militating Against Students Academic Performance in Samtse Higher Secondary School

An overview of my next study. It's a small scale study. I welcome comments la.

Research Title
Factors Militating Against Students Academic Performance in Samtse Higher Secondary School

Background:
Recently the academic performance of students of Samtse Higher Secondary School has come under the spotlight for a number of reasons. It has been found that students’ academic performance in both home-exams and board-exams has gone down drastically. The Bhutan Council for Assessment and Examinations’ (BCSEA) pupil performance report, 2012 has ranked the school in the bottom ten. Also teachers in the school speculate that the students’ academic performance has declined. This situation signifies the importance of identifying the factors militating against students’ academic achievement in the school.

Objectives
To explore the factors militating against students’ academic performance in Samtse Higher Secondary School

Research Questions:
What are the factors militating against students’ academic performance in Samtse Higher Secondary School.
Subquestions
(i) Do demographic variables hinder academic performance of students of Samtse Higher Secondary School?
(ii) Is there a significant difference between the learning and study strategy of high achievers and low achievers?
(iii) Is there a significant difference in the locus of control (LOC) of high achiever students and low achiever students?
(iv) What according to teachers are the factors attributing to the decreasing academic performance in the school?

Variables
Independent variable:  1. Demographic variables
                                  2. Learning and study strategy
                                   3. Locus of control     
Dependent Variable: Academic performance


Literature Review
The literature review shall present 
1.The theoretical framework 
2. Causes of poor academic achievement

Research methodology
The study will involve all students and teachers of Samtse Higher Secondary School. Four sets of questionnaires developed based on literature review will be used. Three questionnaires will be administered to the students and one to the teachers. 
Questionnaire 1: To explore the relationships between the demographic variables and students’ academic achievement.
Questionnaire 2: To secure data on the learning and study skills of students, LASSI (Learning And Study Strategy Inventoryl) questionnaire will be administered to all students.
Questionnaire 3: The LOC (Locus of Control) questionnaire will be administered to students to determine if there is a significant difference between the LOC of low academic achievers and high achievers.  
Questionnaire 4: Teachers will be interviewed using semi-structured questionnaire.

The data obtained will be analyzed by using SPSS

Friday, August 15, 2014

Crossing The Swollen Sukreti River

There are over hundred students in our school who live in rented houses all by themselves. The school calls them self-catering students. These students are mostly from far flung places in Samtse. They were placed to Samtse HSS after completing their lower secondary education from their village school.

Coming to Samtse has not been easy for them. Most of these students do not have any relative or family in Samtse to stay with. They have to find their own accommodation. They rent single rooms and make their living with the little money their parents send every month.

One popular place where we find most self-catering students is Sukreti. The place is located on the slope of the west hill overlooking the school. By foot it takes about fifteen minutes to reach the place. What stands between the school and Sukreti is a wide gully where Sukreti river flows. In winter it dries up to become a stretch of dry sandy land but in summer the monsoon replenishes it and becomes one formidable river to cross.

The incessant rain over the past three days has swollen the river. The roaring sound of the river is getting louder by the day. Today 28 self-catering students from Sukreti couldn't make to school on time. They were stranded on the other side of the river. But they somehow crossed the river and made to school only in the third period. When I saw them they were all drenched in water. When I asked them about how they could cross the river, they said that they sought help from the elderly passersby. They said that the passersby carried them on their backs across the river. Some said that they carried each other on their backs. While some had to go a long way upstream looking for a shallow section of the river. Some of them lost their footwear in the river. One of them got her lunch box washed away. Some of them got their books drenched. Most of them looked terrified and were worried as to weather they would be able to make their way back home in the evening.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Jigme, Tashi And A Sick Dog

The following story is based on a true incident as narrated by Jigme and Tashi.

1st August, morning SUPW, Samtse HSS, 2014. Jigme Wangchuk and Tashi Gyeltshen both of XF were returning to their work area after dumping paper rubbishes in the pit near boys' toilet. Normally Jigme and Tashi are two stone-hearted boys. But that morning their hearts melted when they stumbled upon a dog behind the chemistry lab that was at the brink of dying. What was killing it was a maggot-infected sore on its neck. Other friends had walked past it obliviously or intentionally.  

Jigme and Tashi went close to examine the dog. They noticed that the dog was in dire condition and was barely able to breathe. The wound on its neck looked serious with tissues and blood vessels all exposed. They declared it urgent and decided to take the dog to the nearby veterinary hospital. They hurriedly ran to get permission from their class teacher. After getting an affirmative response from their class teacher, they quickly looked for anything that could be used for carrying the dog. Tashi spotted a sack below the basketball court and quickly fetched it. As they lifted the dog they found that the dog was too unconscious to react to anything. Tashi held the sack open and Jigme lifted the dog by its legs and gingerly placed it in the sack. They set off holding the sack on either ends. As they passed the school gate they saw teachers' cars in the parking lot but they didn’t dare ask any teacher because they had the hunch that no teacher would like to have a nasty dog in their clean cars. So, they decided to go on foot. 

Few minutes down the road they came across two school drop-out friends walking on the other side of the road.

'Tashi, Jigme! What's in the sack?' they asked curiously.

‘A dog’ replied Jigme.

‘A dog!!!? Where are you taking it? Is it dead? Have you killed it?’ 

‘No he is sick’

The two boys came over crossing the road and peeked in the sack. 'Khai it's a stray menna? It’s infected. Let it free’

Tashi and Jigme knew that the boys were beginning to jeer at them so they closed the sack and continued walking. They could hear the two boys still laughing at them from a distance.

En route they checked on the dog every three minutes to make sure that it was breathing. After fifteen minutes, they were at the veterinary hospital. The door of the building was wide open. They walked in but there was nobody. They heard a faint voice from upstairs. ‘Tashi could you go check upstairs?’ suggested Jigme. Tashi promptly climbed the stairs and found an officer busy on the phone. Tashi waited until the officer hung up. 

‘Sir, we have brought a sick dog’ said Tashi.

‘A sick dog!!!?’ the officer sounded surprised as though it was uncommon to have a sick dog in a veterinary hospital.  

‘Show it to the vet downstairs.’

‘There’s no one downstairs, sir’

‘You have to wait. They’ll be back in few minutes’

Tashi didn’t say a word and submissively said ‘Las la’ and walked downstairs.

When he reached downstairs Jigme had taken out the dog on the floor and laid it under fan. They waited helplessly and worriedly for the vet to arrive. They didn’t bother about missing their classes because they felt that they had a more important thing to do at hand. After 20 minutes a car pulled over in the parking lot and a lady stepped out.

‘Hmmm. She must be the vet’ whispered Jigme at Tashi’s ear.

As the lady approached near she grimaced on seeing the dog. Tashi informed ‘Madam we have brought a sick dog’

The lady gave a fleeting glance at the dog as she walked towards her office and said “Ok. Wait. I’ll wash my hands’

Jigme and Tashi stood relieved as they saw the lady donning her lab coat and gloves.

‘Take it in’ the lady instructed.

They lifted the dog, took it in the examination room and placed it on the examination table. The cold steel table gave the dog a sharp stimulus that it woke the dog conscious. It slowly opened its eyes and closed again like heavy curtains.  

The vet handed Jigme and Tashi a pair of plastic gloves each. 'Put them on. I need one of you to hold the dog by its legs and one of you to hold its head' the vet instructed with a muffled voice through her mouth mask.

The treatments began. The vet pulled out many live maggots from the gaping wound. Every time the vet cleansed the wound the dog writhed in pain but it didn’t have any energy to make any sound. Jigme and Tashi held the dog strong and made sure it did not move out of the table. After fifteen minutes the vet gave an injection.

'Yaaa. We are done.' the vet declared. ‘Put it back in the sack’

Jigme and Tashi carefully put the dog in the sack.  The vet wrote a medical prescription and handed a spray. ‘Here, apply it on the wound three times a day’ she instructed.

With the treatments done, Jigme and Tashi’s heart became light. They envisaged the dog’s health improving day by day and hoped that it would one day be able to stand on its feet, join the canine pollution and lead a normal life.

They took the dog back to the school. When they reached the school it was already third period. They decided to keep the dog under the staircase of class eleven building. The dog was still unconscious. Jigme went to get a bottle of water. They slowly lifted the dog’s muzzle, opened its mouth and poured some water. The dog gulped down some of it. 

‘I think it’s hungry’ Tashi said.

‘I have my packed lunch in the class, but we’ll have to wait until lunch break’ Jigme said

Just then the bell rang for the fourth period. They made a comfortable bed with the sack for the dog and left for class. In the classroom they were all but thinking about the dog. They couldn’t keep their concentration with the lesson. Every now and then they looked at the clock to strike 12:45.

No sooner did the bell for lunch break ring than they went to check the dog. Jigme took his lunch box along. He opened it, dug a handful of rice and placed it near the dog’s nose. But the dog had no appetite and didn’t even sniff.  Its eyes were still closed. Jigme and Tashi sacrificed their lunch break to be with the dog. They could do nothing but stop other students who thronged around in eagerness from touching it.

They wished they did not have to attend the remaining two periods. But when the bell rang they had to once more leave the dog and go to class. After what seemed like two long periods, the bell finally rang. Other students went home while they quickly went out to check on the dog. This time around they found the dog awake lifting its neck and had eaten the rice that was kept near it. It heartened both Jigme and Tashi. They knew that the dog was beginning to regain its vitality. They gave some more rice and water. The dog ate them all. Jigme and Tashi had sea of hope that the dog would make to a normal life. 

When their watch struck 5:32 pm, they were reminded of the school rule that no student should be out of home after 6:00 pm. They decided to go home lest they landed in any trouble. Before they left, they gave a final look at the wound and sprayed the medicine over it. They walked home happy and content. 

The next morning Jigme and Tashi met at the school gate. They dropped their bags in the class and went to check the dog. They saw many students crowded around the dog. Jigme and Tashi pushed their way through. What they saw took them by surprise. The dog was motionless, cold and wasn’t breathing. They had lost one more ‘men’s best friend’.   
     
Heartbroken, Jigme and Tashi dug a hole below the football ground and buried the dog. During the morning pray Jigme and Tashi prayed for the dog’s soul to rest in peace.

 The dog was motionless, cold and wasn't breathing
Jigme Wangchuk
Tashi Gyeltshen

Friday, August 8, 2014

Girls Continue To Outperform Boys

Girls domination
Last year I made a very casual post about how girls outnumbered boys in the toppers list in my school in the annual exam. I thought it would just be a temporary trend and that some day boys would outnumber girls. But the number of girls topper is ever increasing. This year's mid term examination toppers list had 42 girl toppers and only 21 boy toppers. The number of girls is greater by twofold. This indicates the prevalence of academic gender gap in my school, something that the school should consider.

Researches carried out in other countries show that there are several factors affecting academic gender gap.
  • Motivation
  • Study skills
  • Time management
  • Attitude
  • Self esteem
  • School contentedness
  • Cultural factors
  • Parental education
  • Socioeconomic status of parents
  • And many more
But what could have caused the academic gap between boys and girls in my school?