1.1 Background to the Study
Autotronics is the blend of Automobile and Electronics. The advanced development of vehicles in the last few years was based mainly on electrical and electronic components and modules. There is no end in sight to this development. All main functional areas are strongly influenced by the field of electronics or even made possible by it: e.g. anti-lock brake systems, low emission and reduced fuel consumption through electronic motor management systems, anti-theft and electronic diagnosis systems. Analysts estimate that more than 80 percent of all automotive innovation now stems from electronics.
Autotronics is referred to as modern automotive technology in the field of automobile engineering. Automobile trade is one of the vocational courses offered in Science and Technical Colleges in Nigeria. A Science and technical college is post primary vocational and technical institution established to offer science, vocational and technical programmes. It is established to equip students with technical skills to earn a living. Technical education according to National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004) is that aspect of education that leads to the acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge. Akpan (2003) said that technical college is equivalent to senior secondary but designed to prepare individuals to acquire practical skills, basic scientific knowledge and attitude required as craft men and technicians at sub-professional level. A science and technical college in Nigeria is established to prepare individual to acquire practical skills and basic scientific knowledge. It is charged with the production of skilled personnel in the area of mechanical technology, metal work, electrical technology, wood work and building technology for the needs of society. In view of Osuala (1999),the term either technical or vocational education has no single universally accepted definition but what is common in the various definitions is its goals and objectives that remain the same. Technical education has been defined as that phase of education which seeks to help the people, students and the populace acquire specific mechanical or manipulative skills required in industrial arts or applied science. Vocational and technical education is an education for work (Uwaifor, 2009).
In the same vein, (UNESCO, 2007), defined vocational and technical education as a comprehensive term referring to those aspect of educational process involving, in addition to general education the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes and understanding of knowledge relating to educational life. The National Policy on Education (2004) stated that technical and vocational education shall give training and impact necessary skills to individual who shall be self-reliant economically.
Autotronicsis designed to produce competent auto-electrical craftsmen for the technological and industrial development of Automobile in Nigeria.Significantly,autotronics has many applications in motor vehicles technology. The mechanics of autotronics entails the assortment that posed the complexity of autotronics working operations and consequently a challenge to mechanics and auto-electricians, towards troubleshooting finding faults and diagnosing automotive electronic problems. This is as a result of industrial revolution in the automobile industry with sophistication in car designs. The rapid changes and increased complexity in the automotive industry present new challenges and put new demands on the education system. Generally, there has been a growing awareness of the necessity to change and improve the preparation of students for productive functioning in the continually changing and highly demanding environment. This shift for a change has allowed for new insight on how students accumulate knowledge as they relied on the teacher as passive listener, while the teachers act as a director and a transmitter of knowledge. A teacher in the opinion of Hornby (2015) is a person who gives instruction to a learner, i.e, a person who communicates knowledge, skills and attitudes to someone in a school. In the context of this study, a teacher of Autotronics Technology is one who gives instructions, communicates knowledge, skills and attitudes in Auto-mechanics technology to students. The computer knowledge required by Science and technical college students as a servicing strategy for automobile is of great importance for the development of the automotive industry and the nation at large.
The modern automated cars are highly computerized and require the knowledge of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to handle the highly sensitive computerized diagnosing devices/equipment for troubleshooting, and analysis. With the advent of ICT equipment, there has been an explosion in the advances of computer-related technologies in teaching and learning in the classrooms and laboratories. The computer is an electronic device which is designed to accept an ordered sequence of instruction given to it in an appropriate language and to carry out these instructions with great speed and accuracy. Ozoagu (2007) postulate that, recent advances in communication technologies and their use in science and technology education provides an opportunity for educators to take a critical look at how these tools are being integrated into the classroom and laboratory.
There is urgent need to assess the academic training and students’ knowledge in autotronics servicing strategies of auto-mechanics students of science and technical colleges. Assessment as opined by Nitko (1996), is a process of obtaining information that is used for making decisions about trainees, curricula, and programmes. According to Capper (1996), assessment is a process of investigating an individual, a group or a programme performance with reference to set objectives and expected outcome. For Adedokun (2009), assessment is a process of determining whether or not an individual has gained from an instruction (i.e. in a teaching and learning process). Assessment is the collection, synthesis, interpretation and use of information to aid the teacher in taking decision before, during, and after instruction. Assessment is central in overall quality of teaching and learning which is seen by Alogne (2004) as a lesser form of evaluation.
Most significantly, close attention must be paid to the assessment on the use of tools in ways conducive with cognitive processes of how students effectively learn and acquire knowledge and skills in auto-mechanics technology.Technology is the complex integrated organization of men and machines, ideas, procedures and management. It includes processes, systems, and management and control mechanisms both human and non-human. Technology could be seen as the systematic application of scientific or other organized knowledge to practical tasks. It is a complete integrated process for analyzing problems, controlling and evaluating the solution to those problems.
Auto-mechanic technology is one of the courses at science and technical colleges that offers the students acquired knowledge and skills for gainful employment in various aspects of auto-mechanic technology which includes: auto-mechanic technicians, auto-body, mechanics, spare parts dealers, wheel balancing/alignment, auto-electricians or in a relatively new rapid expanding area of automobile. The more sophisticated an automobile is, the more difficult it is to repair or service especially those imported into developing countries like Nigeria.
The success of integrating the knowledge of autotronics servicing strategies into the students of auto-mechanics in science and technical colleges depends largely on the skills, knowledge and competence of teachers. Although situational assessments tend to emphasize application of learning, and applications are built on a disciplinary foundation.
Assessments are meant to inform teaching, improve learning, and assist students in achieving the highest possible standards. Assessment provides needed links among learning outcomes, content, instructional resources, and teaching and learning activities. Classroom Assessment Techniques are formative evaluation methods that help teachers assess how much students understand the course content and also provide information about the effectiveness of classroom teaching methods (Haugen, 1999).Classroom assessment is a major component of the classroom interaction process. Stiggins and Conklin (1992) opined that teachers spend from a third to a half of their professional time in assessment activities such as designing assessment tasks, grading, and communicating assessment results to their students.
The success of assessment of content learning will depend on the expertise demonstrated in the design of the applied assessment. An assessment of output of a Science and technical college graduate who have undergone auto-mechanics without a sound knowledge of autotronics constitutes a waste. Brimor and Paul (2001) cited in Nkasiobi and Ejimaji (2010) defined waste in science education as the degree to which actual educational output fails to correspond with the stated educational goals within a given period of time. Inadequate resource allocation which in turn, leads to failure in the attainment of a nation’s educational goals and objectives may be classified as waste in education. Therefore, the concept of waste in technical education refers to those constraints which make it impossible for the nation’s educational goals to be achieved in relation to the resources invested. Waste in education affects all levels of educational institutions such as pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. According to Olaitan (2002), waste is the degree to which human and material resources developed and made available are grossly underutilized or neglected. This means that the output of an educational programme will be incongruent with the nation’s educational goals.
According to Onifade (2005), most graduates are not properly prepared for work, especially for the industries. He maintained that, there is growing concern among industrialists that products of technical institutions do not possess adequate work skills necessary for employment in industries. However, it is expected that the knowledge acquired in schools and laboratories will prepare the students and equip them with the necessary competences that will enable them secure and maintain relevant jobs on graduation, but this is hardly being achieved. In view of this, it is obvious that, industrial growth and development will stall and continue to be delayed, if students are not fully equipped with the required knowledge. This however, certainly creates alarm and craves for assessment of the students’ knowledge of autotronics servicing strategies in technical colleges.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In whatever way an educational policy appears to be, and at whatever level, its success is a function of an assessment of students’ knowledge in theory and practice. Technical education programmes generally, require appropriate assessment towards facilitating maximum attainment of the set objectives. For Nigeria to attain automobile technological excellence, it requires an assessment of students’ knowledge of autotronics servicing strategies (ASKASS) in science and technical colleges. This means that their interest and performances in the area of autotronics must be assessed for greater achievement in relation to resources available. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2003) reported that the provision of basic resources as well as the effective utilization are the important issues in science education programmes. The reason is based on the fact that resources for setting up a standard service station for automobile servicing are costly and needed for its successful implementation.
Technical education particularly at the post-primary level recently received significant recognition by the Federal Government. The degree of its commitment in practical terms however is still unclear. Also, a deeper view seems to reveal a low students’ interest in technical education, a deplorable state of science and technical colleges and a low quality products of these colleges, which sends dangerous signals for the system.
It is these unclear circumstances of technical education at the post-primary level that have motivated this study; an assessment of students’ knowledge of autotronics servicing strategies in technical colleges in Benue State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of this study is todetermine an Assessment of Students’ Knowledge of Autotronics Servicing Strategy (ASKASS), in Science and technical colleges in Benue state to ascertain the extent of state of the art in their use of testing and diagnostic equipment for the modern car.
Specifically, the study will:
- Identify the activities performed by students that will influence their knowledge of autotronics servicing strategies.
- Identify the facilities/equipment used in the colleges that will enhance the students’ knowledge ofautotronics servicing strategies.
- Assess the facilities/equipment used in the colleges that will enhance the competences of students’ knowledge of autotronics servicing strategies.
- Assess the extent of skills in autotronics servicing strategies.
- Assess the activities required of automobile technology students in operating modern diagnostic tools and equipment
1.4 Research Questions
According to Creswell and Miller (2000), research questions are referred to as statements used by researchers to focus on a particular objective to provide answers to an investigation. In order to achieve the objective of the study, the following research questions are formulated to guide the study:
- What are the activities performed by students that will influence their knowledge of autotronics servicing strategies.
- How does acquisition of students’ knowledge of autotronics skills enhance servicing strategies in automobile?
- What are the facilities/equipment used in laboratories/workshops for training that will influence students’ knowledge of autotronics servicing strategies in automated cars?
- To what extentis the efficacy of skills in autotronics servicing strategies?
- What are the activities required of automobile technology students in operating modern diagnostic tools and equipment?
The following null hypotheses which will be tested at .05 level of significance will guide this study:
Ho1: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of the auto-mechanics students on the nature of activities perform by the students that will influence Assessment of Students’ Knowledge of Autotronics Servicing Strategy.
Ho2: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of the auto-mechanics students on skills acquisition in autotronics by students to enhance Assessment of Students’ Knowledge of Autotronics Servicing Strategy.
Ho3: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of auto-mechanics students on facilities/equipment used in the school Laboratory/workshop to influence Assessment of Students’ Knowledge of Autotronics Servicing Strategy.
Ho4: There is no significant difference in the mean……………