Register Range in the West African School Certificate English Language Examination (1974-1983).
The English Language in the Nigerian educational system functions as a School subject as well as a medium of instruction especially from the fourth year (in some States). Since it is the predominant medium of receiving lectures, finding out facts through reading and communicating knowledge required, through writing, in higher education, it is then necessary that the new entrants to higher education should have attained a reasonable level of proficiency in the use of the English language. With this assumption a pilot study was carried out to find out the writing competence of the freshmen of Adeyemi College of Education. The study showed a very low level of lexical acquisition and use in spite of their entry qualifications in the English language. This discovery led to the major investigation of finding out the content validity of the WAEC, WASC/GCE English Language examination which they all had passed before their admission. The content validity which was in relation to Lexis had to be investigated through register, a valid means of researching into Lexis. The findings showed a very low correlation between syllabus specifications and examination questions on register, thus supporting the fact that there was lack of content validity and power of discrimination in this aspect of the English language examination. The investigation was concluded with recommendations on how to improve the whole of the WASC English language programme and examination.