Impact of digital divide on students performance in computerised UTME in Nigeria

Abdulkareem, Zainab and Lennon, Marilyn (2023) Impact of digital divide on students performance in computerised UTME in Nigeria. Information Development. pp. 1-16. ISSN 0266-6669 (

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In Nigeria, the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), a large-scale university admission examination, was fully computerised in 2015. However, knowledge gap and digital divide are prevalent in developing countries, which may impact students’ performance in computer-based tests (CBT). To this end, this study investigates ICT-related individual differences (computer familiarity/experience, CBT anxiety and CBT attitude) among secondary school students taking UTME and its effects on their performance on the test in Osun state, Nigeria, considering their locations (rural/urban) and school types (public/private). The study adopted a quantitative survey for data collection from final-year secondary school students who registered and took 2021 UTME. The study’s findings revealed significant variations in the access and use of computers among students taking UTME. It was found that all students from private schools had prior computer experience, whereas 11% of students from public schools had not used a computer before. Within the group of students without prior computer experience, 63% were from rural public schools. Furthermore, computer familiarity positively correlates with students’ performance in UTME. For instance, students who have taken CBT at least six times before UTME have significantly better performance than those who have not taken CBT at all. However, CBT attitude and anxiety before and after the examination were moderate and had no significant relationship with test performance. We conclude that affordable and easily accessible ICT facilities and CBT practice centres should be provided to students, especially those in disadvantaged areas, to ensure the fairness of UTME to all candidates.