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Action Research on Enhancing Academic Excellence in A study Program

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In this action research primary data have been used to study the academic performance of students currently enrolled in first year Physics department. Investigations revealed that a substantial number of students in Jimma University are enrolled in a course or study programme in which they have little or no interest. Questionnaires were used to ascertain preliminary claims “that lack of interest in a course of study is a fundamental factor responsible for poor academic performance”. Data collated and analysed shows that amongst the students currently enrolled in first year Physics department, only 34% selected the Faculty of Education (in which Physics department belongs) after the “grade 12” National Examination; only 27% indicated that their current department is the best choice for them; 31% chose physics as first choice during application for admission; only 17% shall be willing to choose Physics again if they are all given fresh opportunities to make fresh selection. The overall degree of excellence of the class investigated is at a level of “average performance”; and just about half (50.6%) of the class, indicated high interest in their present course of study. A concise intervention plan to enhance the academic performance of students have been developed, taking into account specific problems to be addressed; basically in four major areas, namely: lack of interest, poor problem solving skills, poor understanding of the concept of physics, and lack of skill in practical work respectively. Appropriate recommendations on steps to be taken by stake holders of educational service providers have also been included. The major limiting factor to this project is time constraints, and problems of logistics beyond our control, which have disabled the implementation of the intervention action plan. Ethiopian Journal of Education and Sciences Vol. 3 (2) 2008: pp. 71-80

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