FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL
Background of the Study
The mastery of a subject is determined by the performance of the students in such a subject at a prescribed examination. Any interactive activity between a teacher and the students is expected to produce learning outcomes in the learners. When such an activity failed to produce a change in behaviour (learning) in the learners, then, there is a problem.
According to Ango (2000), students’ poor performance in English Language globally is basically due to lack of involving the students in the teaching learning activities right from the beginning of any new concept to be taught, lack of qualified teachers as well as experiences in teaching and unavailability and/or insufficiency of materials in the laboratories. The impact of the teachers in the performance of the students is germane. The teachers are the facilitators who are to impact into the students the concepts expected to be learnt.
This laudable objective would not be realized when the students are taught by incompetent teachers. Such teachers would not be able to properly and adequately disseminate the concepts to the students. English Language, being one of the pivotal subjects in technology, its effective teaching must be handled with all seriousness. The competence of the English Language teachers in this regards would be of immeasurable value. One thing is to be well grounded in the conceptual understanding of a subject; another thing is to be well acquitted with the best method to pass the concepts across to the learners for proper comprehension.
But there are various factors affecting teaching and learning of English Language in secondary schools which affect students’ academic performance in English Language.
Fakuade, (2003), students’ academic gain and learning performance is affected by numerous factors including; gender, age, teaching faculty, students schooling, father/guardian social economic status, residential area of students, medium of instructions in schools, tuition trend, daily study hour and accommodation. Many researchers conducted detailed studies about the factors contributing to students’ performance at different study levels. Graetz (2005) suggested “A student educational success contingent heavily on social status of student’s parents/ guardians in the society.
Considine and Zappala (2002) noticed the same that parent’s income or social status positively affects the student test score in examination. Durden and Ellis quoted Staffolani and Bratti, (2002) observed that “the measurement of students previous educational outcomes are the most important indicators of students future achievement.
Lot of studies have been conducted in the area of students achievement and these studies identify and analyze the number of factors that affect the academic performance of the student at school, college and even at university level. Their finding identify students’ effort, previous schooling, parent’s educational background, family income, self-motivation of students, age of student, learning preferences and entry qualification of students as important factors that have effect on student’s academic performance in different setting. The utility of these studies lies in the need to undertake corrective measures that improve the academic performance of graduate students.
It is generally assumed that the students who showed better or higher performance in the starting classes of their studies also performed better in future academic years at degree level. Parent’s socio-economic condition, which includes parents’ academic and professional qualification, revenue and occupational affiliation, is also associated with academic gain of students. The results of many studies confirmed that academic achievement of students is contingent upon parent’s socio-economic condition. So the students belonging to higher social economic backgrounds will perform better than other students associated with low social economic backgrounds. “Social and economical status of student is generally determined by combining parents’ qualification, occupation and income standard” (Jeynes, 2002). Among many research studies conducted on academic achievement, it is not very surprising to observe that socio-economic status is one of the main elements studied while predicting academic performance.
Graetz (2005) conducted a study on socio-economic status of the parents of students and concluded that the socio-economic background has a great impact on student’s academic performance, main source of educational imbalance among students and student’s academic success contingent very strongly on parent’s socio economic standard. Considine and Zappala (2002) also having the same views as Graetz (2005), in their study on the influence of social and economic disadvantage in the academic performance of school students noticed, where the parents or guardians have social, educational and economic advantage definitely strengthen the higher level success in future. It is also noted that these parents make available sufficient psychological and emotional shore up to their children by providing good educational and learning environment that produce confidence and the improvement of skills needed for success.
The view point of Considine and Zappala is more strengthened by this statement of Eamon, According to Eamon (2005) “Those students that usually come out from low socio-economic status or area show low performance in studies and obtained low scores as compared to the other students or their counter parts”.
The educational environment of the school one attends sets the parameters of students’ learning outcomes. Considine and Zappala (2002) quoted Sparkles (1999) showed that schools environment and teachers expectations from their students also have strong influence on students’ performance.
Most of the teachers working in poor schools or schools having run short of basic facilities often have low performance expectations from their students and when students know that their teachers have low performance expectations from them, hence it leads to poor performance by the students. Kwesiga (2002) approved that performance of the students is also influenced by the school in which they studied but he also said that number of facilities a school offers usually determine the quality of the school, which in turn affect the performance and accomplishment of its students. Sentamu (2003) argue that schools influence educational process in content organization, teacher and teaching learning and in the end evaluation of the all. The type of schools in which students study can greatly influence the educational performance and academic achievement of the students. Miller and Birch (2007) summarized the views of many researcher and educationist in their study on the influence of high school attended on university performance.
Intelligence, cognitive styles and personality are individual characteristics that play important role in teaching and learning (Tella, 2007). Other variables such as motivational orientation, self-esteem and learning approaches are important factors that influence academic achievements. Motivation has gained more popularity amongst educational psychologists in leading other variables that could be manipulated to improve academic gains. Lack of interest by students in English Language affects their listening to the teacher. Hence, this study intends to investigate the factors affecting students’ academic performance in English Language in Senior Secondary School in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Statement of the Problem
This study is set out to identify the factors affecting students’ academic performance in English Language in Senior Secondary School. The teaching and learning of English Language have standards to be followed by the art teachers if effective learning is to be achieved. Despite the fact that English Language has invested a lot on art education, there are some persistent problems in our Secondary Schools. Students’ low success level in English Language as a subject has been a worry for a long time in many countries including Nigeria.
Despite stringent measures and strategies employed by the Nigerian English Language to ensure that educational standards are maintained at least at primary and secondary level, students, whom after passing through all these vigorous teaching and learning strategies, still performs far below expectations. In an attempt to put sound education on ground worldwide, many factors have been incriminated as being responsible for falling standard of education where it is perceived and established.
The survey was designed to examine certain critical aspects of teaching and learning of English Language in secondary schools. This was considered in the areas of teachers, support facilities and equipment, textbook , community resources and incentives available for English Language teachers.
Adelad, (2003), reported a large number of art teachers are untrained and that there is alarming turn-out of teachers at individual schools for a “better job”. Adesenuga (2001) also observed that if art subject is to be taught well, it should be taught professionally, hence the need for sufficient materials for effective teaching of English Language within and outside the classroom.. Based on the foregoing, this study intends to investigate the factors affecting students’ academic performance in English Language in senior Secondary School in Ikere Local English Government Area of Ekiti State.
Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this research work is to find out the factors affecting students’ academic performance in English Language in Senior Secondary School in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. Specifically, this study is to:
- find out the level of academic performance of students’ in English Language in Senior Secondary School.
- ascertain the influence of availability of textbooks, teaching methods, class size, students’ attitudes, and student-teacher interaction on academic performance of English Language students.
- investigate the difference between the influences of the identified factors on academic performance of English Language students.
The following research questions will be raised to guide this study:
- What is the level of academic performance of students in English Language in Senior Secondary School?
- Is there any significant influence of availability of textbooks, teaching methods, class size, students’ attitudes, and student-teacher interaction on academic performance of English Language students?
- Is there any significant difference between the influences of the identified factors on academic performance of English Language students?
The following research hypotheses will be formulated from the research questions and tested at 0.05 level of significance.
- The academic performance of students in English Language in Senior Secondary School is not significantly high.
- There is no significant influence of availability of textbooks, teaching methods, class size, students’ attitudes, and student-teacher interaction on academic performance of English Language students.
- There is no significant difference between the influences of the factors on academic performance of English Language students.
Significance of the Study
It is expected that this study will prepare necessary information for educational work, parent, and school administrators to consider how solving various factors that are affecting teaching and learning English Language can help student to accomplish their academic goals. However they can examine the choice of introducing necessary learning materials to their school which may lead to improvement of student in educational outcomes in school.
However, the study will be related because the findings will encourage the school administrators, parents, students and society to observe that there is quality result in good learning environment. The finding of the study will also help the school administrators and curriculum planners to create methods that would reduce negative effect of various factors affecting effective learning of English Language.
The study will also be important to students, themselves to know the ways out of different factors militating against learning of English Language in schools. This study will serve as an eye opener to the students in knowing the negative effects / consequences of various factors affecting English Language in secondary schools. This research work will serve as information to the teachers on existing forms of problems faced by students as well as ways of controlling them.
Some teachers are no longer dedicated to their school timetable. Some deliver half-baked lessons. They leave their notes for students to copy. This is because of challenges they are facing in teaching and learning of English Language in classroom. The teachers, the authorities will benefit immensely from this study, as it will help keep them informed on the adverse effects of various factors affecting the teaching and learning of English Language in secondary schools. Our government would not be left out in the list of the beneficiaries of this study.
The research work will help the government to see reasons why they should rise to solve various problems of teaching and learning of English Language in secondary schools. As a result government could employ trained and qualified teachers into our secondary schools and provide necessary learning resources in schools.
This study will in no small measure assist parents and the society at large in knowing problems their children and wards are facing in school and thus, see ways of assisting them to learn and concentrate more on their studies. Most parents and guardians do not provide the basic materials needed by their wards. Many students in our secondary schools do not have textbooks, writing materials etc. It is a well-known fact that lack of needed necessary educational materials, make learning difficult.
In order to ensure effective investigation of the variables involved in the study, primary and secondary sources of data collection were used. Primary are the first-hand data that a researcher collects himself/herself e.g questionnaire. The primary source of data for the work include a set of questionnaire while the secondary source of data for the study include; textbooks, journals, articles, workshops, conferences, seminar papers, newspapers, magazines, internet materials, official documents among others.
Scope of the Study
This study is delimited to Senior Secondary Schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti state. It also covers schools that are offering English Language as a school subject. The study is also delimited to public secondary schools in the Local Government. Students of English Language are also the delimitation of the study.
Limitation of the Study
Factors affecting the researcher’s comprehensiveness and totality in carrying out this study include; scarcity of relevant materials on the issue due to its continuous evolving nature and most of the respondents failed to respond to some important questions. The above challenges would be overcome through persistence and the need to excel in the course of carrying out this study.
Definition of Terms
The researcher wishes to give operation meaning of the following words as they are being used in the research work.
Academic status: The first term examination scores of a student at the end of each academic session usually produced at the end of the second term.
Achievement: According to Black and William (2008) achievement is past oriented. It is based on a specific body of knowledge and it reveals areas of weakness, which can result in remedial action. Achievement can also reveal competence and such results can be used to predict future performance.
Academic Achievement – Knowledge attained or skills developed in school subjects by test scores.
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