The Causes of Poor Performance of Students in Shorthand

A Survey of the Causes of Poor Performance of Students in Shorthand in Department of Secretarial Studies, I.M.T, Enugu.

Many attempts have been made to identify the problems encountered by shorthand students, and also to pinpoint those factors that facilitate or hinder learning in general and the study of shorthand in particular.  Student sees the course as a difficult subject.

This chapter will however, attempt to identify the salient causes of students mass failure in shorthand from the individual opinions and reasons advanced by previous writers on subject.


According to clerk (1965) simple statements of the importance of certain things to the study of shorthand are not enough to enable the students to learn shorthand, demonstrations are important students complete dependence on classroom  work, without seeking other means of strengthening their techniques, undermines their ability to function on their own.  Part of the blame for students poor performance was put on the parents, who concerned themselves only with overall scores at the end of the semester, without monitoring their, children performance on a continuous basis.

He (clerk) found also that many students are insufficiently provided with necessities by their parents or guardians, and that this lack of necessities tends to divert them from concentrating on the studies.

Mac (1971) Concluded that lack of knowledge and inability to preserved were contribute to the poor performance of students in skill courses.  Students performance poor performance as stemming from lack of motivation, low intelligence quotients lack of persistence and manual dexterity.  He regarded motivation as the key factor and is supported in that view by Mccounel, who stated that learning of any sort will proceed best if motivated.

Lowenfield and W. Lawbert (1965) however, stressed that excellent performance of students is greatly influenced by the lecturers ability to provide an atmosphere conducive to inventive exploration and production.  Other aspects of the lectures / students relationship were found to be very relevant.

(Ogan 1979) in his survey of students performance discovered that a lecturers warm attitude to his/her students generated a surprising amount of self of-initiated work by the students.  Additionally, Revin (1951) found that students of warm/kind lecturers produced more work than students of lecturer who were indifferent or worse on the other hand.

Anih (1988) expressed the view that a student performance depended on the students evaluation of himself and his motives.  In other works a positive mental attitude is essential to success in learning and practicing shorthand.

“We are what we think, we are

The man who thinks of himself as a failure will ordinarily fail regardless of how hard he tries to succeed”.


Rope (1980) in his research conducted for 40 lecturers in secretarial studies Department shows that students failure in shorthand is due to their lack of constant practice.

Georgy (1978) was of the opinion that lack of motivation of students by their lecturers, lack of mutual understanding between lecturers and students coupled with student disinterest in the course contribute very immensely to their failure in shorthand.

Pitman (1978) was of the view that shorthand is a skill course and needs devotion of interest and constant practice to achieve a targeted speed level, say 120 words a minute.  Speed is confirmed by Macmillian which asserts that pitman could write 300 words a minute due to his devotion of interest and constant practice of the course shorthand that he was able to attain such speed rate.

Ogbodo (1976) and Ojukwu (1983) were of the Opinion that students failure in shorthand is due to poor educational foundation of the students by their parents from their early years of primary and secondary school ages.  They were also of the view that students failure in shorthand stems from lack of objectivity, total interest and proper educational foundation which must be on a sound footings.


According to Nwana (1982) environment is one of the factors that is known to influence mental development.  He said that some experiments with animals have shown that the amount of stimulation which an animal receives from its environment affects its mental functioning.

Those who have a variety as well as an abundance of stimulation are more prone to cognitive development than those under less stimulating conditions.  To buttress this point, Agusiono (1984) stated among other things that vocational education will be effective in proportion as the training environment is a replica of the working environment; and that effective vocational training can only be give where the training jobs are carried out in the same way with the same operations, the same tools and the same machines as in the occupation itself.

Ekwegh eriri (1978) says that there is a close relationships between the school environment and the academic performance of student; the teaching being the important part of the environment with school library and teaching aids following.

In his own contribution, Arnold (1981) emphasized that a classroom that provides a truly educational environment is a place where children will learn unconsciously, they will find interesting things like picture about current affairs, working models of things they are learning about, displayed; shelves with exhibits of interest for nature study, toys and books which they can use.  Discussing this issue in detail, he maintained that the environment would also involve the way in which these models were organized controlled and utilized by mankind in the content of time, to facilitate optimum learning and ultimate highest possible scholastic achievement.

Ani (1989) saw the reasons of students failure in shorthand to include their negative attitude, low ambition, poor achievement the deteriorated quality of teaching shorthand in schools and the ridiculous notion that shorthand is a difficult subject thereby making those male learning it to get frustrated, and disgusted and end up performing very badly in the course.

He warned that such unpleasant notions should be discarded if future learning of shorthand will not be endangered.


  1. Environment:

Many studies have been conduced to determine the role of the environment on the academic performance of students.  Environment here refers to all the elements both tangible and intangible, that are found in the school surroundings as well as within the school which promote teaching and learning.  Writing on this topic, Micheal (1979) pointed out that learing is improving when a rich environment exists, which implies adequate facilities which he outlines as Audio-visual material, laboratories, Textbooks, vehicles and libraries etc.

Hans (1980) pointed out that for the satisfactory performance of the students,and successful achievement of the curriculm content, all retevant educational materials should be made available to the students.

Ugwu (1978) state that from industry we learn that comfort affects achievement . therefore, poor performance in school is associated with attendance in a stressed school environment according to him. School environment include situational area, teaching aids, comfortable classrooms, textbooks libraries and audio-visual materials used in the school to enhance learning.

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