Effect of academic counselling on the performance of Second Year Purchasing and Supply Students of Kumasi Polytechnic

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Since Ghanaian polytechnics were upgraded to the status of tertiary institutions in 1993, students from wide-ranging educational backgrounds have been entering the polytechnics to pursue Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes. The reading and writing experience of the first year students who are all put in the same class, varies extremely. Hence study skills have become increasingly important in the ‘new’ polytechnics. A good number of the Polytechnic teachers themselves need support to acquire some specific pedagogic techniques, to facilitate students’ learning process. In this research, a study is made of the needs for academic counselling of students as a means of enhancing their study skills. Questionnaires were administered to academic staff and students to collect views on students’ learning difficulties. The evidence gathered was utilized in designing a model for academic counselling services. The model includes a programme of workshops on study skills as well as consultations with course teachers to negotiate and reflect on some pedagogical issues raised by students. A group of students with academic difficulties responded to an open invitation for academic counselling intervention, and were used as an experimental group to benefit from the counselling services. The intervention was evaluated by (a) comparing the pre-intervention and post-intervention examination results (GPA 1 and GPA 2) of the group; (b) comparing the post-intervention examination results of the experimental group and a quasi-control group of students who had academic difficulties but declined the offer of counselling. (c) Test of significance - a statistical analysis to determine whether the difference between the entry behaviour and the exit behaviour of the experimental group of students was so significant as to be attributed to the intervention and not to chance. The results highlight the value of professional counselling service as a promising strategy for improving the study skills of students in the ‘new’ polytechnic.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Technical Education, 2001